8 Flexible WordPress Recent Post Plugins

Out of the box, WordPress comes equipped with a recent posts widget for displaying your latest content in the sidebar and other widgetized areas of your website. However, the settings and controls on the default recent posts widget are pretty minimal. With only the ability to give the widget a title, set the number of posts to display, and the option of displaying the post date, there is isn’t much flexibility on offer.

However, installing your own recent posts plugin can give you a lot more control over how your recent posts are featured in the sidebar and other widgetized areas of your WordPress theme.

By upgrading the core recent posts widget you can display featured images, include custom post types, filter posts by category, or list other posts by the same author. If you are using Multisite, you can even display recent posts from other sites in your network.

If any of that sounds appealing, then one of the following WordPress recent posts plugins should allow you to display your latest content in a range of different ways, helping you drive more visitors to the other posts on your website.

  • Flexible Posts Widget

    The free Flexible Posts Widget plugin is a popular choice with over 79,000 downloads and a positive 4.7 out of 5 star rating.

    After installing the plugin on your website, a new widget is added to the available options, allowing you to continue using the default recent posts widget alongside this upgraded version.

    By using the new Flexible Posts Widget, it’s now possible to include more content types, and display additional information about that content in the widget areas on your website.

    This includes filtering posts by a combination of type, such as regular posts, custom post types, and pages; filtering them by single or multiple categories, tags, and custom taxonomies; and entering the individual post IDs.

    Through the display options, you now have the ability to order the posts by a range of attributes, including title, comment count, or published date. Finally you can choose whether to display the post thumbnails in the widget or not, and if so, which size to use.

    To avoid displaying the same set of latest posts on your blog’s homepage as those that are displayed in the sidebar, you can offset the posts shown in the widget by a number of your choice.

    This is a really well-featured plugin, and the only lacking options are the ability to display a post excerpt, or add a custom link to the post. So if you need those features, you will have to look elsewhere. However, you can create custom templates for the widget that modify its output if you have the developer skills to do so.

    Interested in Flexible Posts Widget?

  • Better Recent Posts Widgets Pro

    Better Recent Post Widget Pro is an affordable premium plugin from well-regarded WordPress developer Pippin Williamson, the creator of Easy Digital Downloads.

    When using this widget on your website, you can now choose to display additional information about your posts in the sidebar. This includes displaying the post author, publication date, comment count, and the post excerpt.

    With Better Recent Posts Widget Pro you can also choose the number of posts to display, as well as offsetting them to skip the latest posts that are also shown on your homepage. Thumbnails, using a custom display size, can be displayed for each post, and you can also filter the content by post type, category, and tag.

    For a small price Better Recent Posts Widget Pro can dramatically increase the ways you can display your content in the sidebar and other widget areas of your website.

    Interested in Better Recent Posts Widgets Pro?

  • Recent Posts Widget Extended

    This popular free plugin with over 170,000 downloads and a 4.8 out of 5 star adds another recent posts widget to your site with a more powerful set of controls for displaying content in your sidebar and other widget areas. The list of recent posts can also be displayed in your posts and pages using the included shortcode.

    The new controls that are added to the recent posts widget with this plugin allow you to choose which taxonomies to source the posts from; whether to show post thumbnails, and if so which size; which post types to include; whether to show a post excerpt or not, and if so of what length; and also whether to display a date or the relative age of the post.

    Other features of the Recent Posts Widget Extended plugin that are not often seen elsewhere include the ability to turn the widget title into a link and add HTML or text before and after the list of recent posts. There is also a field on the widget for adding custom CSS to alter its appearance.

    The settings and controls of this widget make it a very flexible choice that should allow you to build the exact recent posts list you need for your WordPress website.

    Interested in Recent Posts Widget Extended?

  • Genesis Featured Widget Amplified

    If you are using the popular Genesis Framework from StudioPress, then this free plugin allows you to upgrade the standard featured posts widget that comes with this theme framework.

    The added features of the Genesis Featured Widget Amplified plugin and the widget it adds to your site allows you to display content from custom post types, custom taxonomies, and flexible options for displaying the post content or excerpt. You can also display the post author’s gravatar on the sidebar or homepage widget areas when using this plugin.

    Like the Genesis Framework itself, this widget includes multiple hooks and filters for developers who want to extend its functionality further.

    Interested in Genesis Featured Widget Amplified?

  • Recent Global Posts Widget

    If you are running a WordPress Multisite or BuddyPress network then our Recent Global Posts Widget plugin will let you display the latest posts from the sites in your network in the sidebar and other widget areas of your blog.

    Through the widget settings you can decide which blogs to display the most recent posts from. This is in addition to also being able to choose whether to display the post title, content, or both in the list. Other controls allow you to determine the title and content lengths, whether to show avatars or not, and which post types to use as the content source.

    If you want to promote the latest content from your network in one place, then Recent Global Posts Widget is one option that allows you to do so with ease.

    Interested in Recent Global Posts Widget?

  • Advanced Random Posts Widget

    Advanced Random Posts Widget

    Advanced Random Posts Widget is another free plugin for displaying posts in the sidebar, as well as other areas of your website using the included shortcode. However, instead of showing the latest posts, it has the ability to list random posts instead.

    With this plugin you do get some control over which posts are randomly selected to be included in the list. These settings allow you to customize the widget content in much the same way as you can with the Recent Posts Widget Extended plugin covered earlier. This includes support for custom post types, custom taxonomies, displaying thumbnails, and including post excerpts.

    Now with this plugin installed on your site, each time a visitor arrives, or loads a new page on your website, they will see a random list of posts in the sidebar, helping them to discover more of your content.

    Interested in Advanced Random Posts Widget?

  • Author Recent Posts

    If you are managing a multi-author blog and want to make it easier for your visitors to find other content from the author of the post they are currently reading, the free Author Recent Posts widget can help you out.

    The widget is only displayed when a post is being viewed in single mode, and by using the included shortcode, the author’s name be displayed in the widget title. The widget controls give you a few options for setting the appearance of the post list. This includes the number of posts to show, whether to show the post thumbnail and the post date. You can also set an alternate image to be used as a fall back image to be displayed for posts without a thumbnail.

    Interested in Author Recent Posts?


If you are looking for a better way to display links to recent content on your website, one of the above plugins should meet your needs.

For anyone making the most of the features of WordPress, then the ability to filter content by post type or custom taxonomy will give you more control over which posts are displayed in your widgetized areas. The extra settings in most of these plugins, such as those controls covering how the posts are displayed, will also give you greater control over how that content looks.

If you have any questions or suggestions about displaying recent posts in the widget areas of a WordPress website, please leave a comment below.