WPMU DEV Plugins for Free – Our Commitment to WordPress.org

We’ve always provided free versions of our most popular pro plugins on WordPress.org, but recently we’ve been stepping that up. So even if you’re not a member, you should check them out and let us know what you think :)

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth re-iterating. Basically the more you help the community and the better the quality and functionality of your freely available GPL plugins, the more the community, WordPress as a whole and, well, everyone wins.

So we’ve put up a dedicated page covering our core offerings that I link to above (or you can go to the plugins section of our WordPress.org page) and I figured it was about time that we gave you a quick guide as to what they do, how they differ from the pro versions (very little!) and talk about a couple of upcoming free offerings… so don’t turn that page, this ‘aint no simple listicle ;)

And one last thing, just so I don’t have to put ‘free’ in every heading, all of the below are exactly that, freeeeeeee. Enjoy!

WordPress Performance Optimization (Smush and Hummingbird)

So let’s start with the obvious one, our award winning image compression plugin Smush.

Smush free on WordPress.org is trusted on +1 million active installs.

She’s particularly special as adopting her was when we discovered that something done *just right* could be a huge hit. It turns out that when you take care of 99.9% of all users, 0.1% are more than happy to come over and try out a membership. Smush is particularly notable for having the 3rd most 5-star ratings of any plugin on WordPress.org!

Smush Pro Free comparison graphic
The free version of Smush is perfect for hobbyists and individual site owners.

However, the new kid on the block that’s been making all the waves recently is definitely our site speed optimizing, caching, minifying and generally speed-up-everything stellar plugin that is Hummingbird.

Hummingbird featured image
Hummingbird brings your pagespeed closer to the perfect 100.

Now I know you’re not supposed to have favorite children, but sadly here I have to make an exception. I absolutely love Hummingbird. This isn’t just because she’s amazingly useful, but because her growing pains were pretty severe. Turns out compressing files, minification and trying to cover every single base in making your site extremely fast is, erm, quite hard. Who’d have thought it lol?

But right now the experience of setting up and using Hummingbird is really, well, exceptional. I reckon it’s the best UX work we’ve done and the outcomes aren’t bad either. And it’s free! (I know I said I wouldn’t say that again, but hey, it’s pretty cool). And this is born out by the fact that she’s the fastest growing of our new offerings. Honestly, give her a try if you haven’t already.

Hummingbird comparison of free versus pro features
Hummingbird Pro is all about automation and optimization for users with a lot of sites.

Our Yoast SEO Premium Alternative, SmartCrawl

This was something we thought about long and hard, and figured we’d give it a crack.

Basically our thinking is that Yoast & All In One SEO have pared back their functionality in the way that Facebook has pulled back your page views (unless you pay for premium, or get a boost) and we think that sucks.

SEO Audit - SmartCrawl SEO Plugin
SmartCrawl is queen of content optimization.

SmartCrawl is designed from the bottom up to provide you with most, if not all, of the premium features that you’re used to paying for. Plus a good helping of that gorgeous and easy-to-use UX that I mentioned above. That’s why we think it’s the best free WordPress SEO plugin out there (dammit I said that word again). So why not take her for a spin.

SmartCrawl SEO Free versus Pro comparison
SmartCrawl SEO adds streamlined content optimization to any site.

A Premium WordPress Security Plugin For Free? Meet Defender.

OK, I’ve given up not saying free now, sorry. But do bear with me because you’re not going to want to miss this one – especially if you either don’t have a security plugin :scream: or are paying for one that doesn’t stack up to this chap.

Defender featured image for WordPress.org
Secure and monitor your sites with the keen watchful eye of Defender.

We set out to make Defender as easy to use as possible – but also to provide as much critical security functionality as possible without giving everything away, lol. In fact, I’d go as far as stating specifically, there is no other security plugin with the same level of functionality available on wordpress.org.

And that’s a challenge, find one that has more features and will keep your site more secure (without you paying) and I’ll personally give you a free annual membership here at WPMU DEV. Game on :)

And here’s why…

Defender Free Versus Pro Security comparison graphic
If you are managing a bunch of sites use the Hub to monitor security in one place.

The Ultimate Opt-In / Pop-Up Marketing Plugin Is A Charming Fella

Now for the coolest cat on the WordPress plugin block. He’s got the looks, the style and the features that make OptIn Monster, Sumo and every other premium and paid plugin look like a gawky teen.

Hustle Roadmap Featured image
Hustle makes marketing and conversion optimization easy with pop-ups, slide-ins, opt-ins and social sharing tools.

And what’s more, he’s the only one of this bunch of five to have morphed from a simple pop-up plugin to your complete marketing suite for WordPress.

Essentially if you are looking to capture email addresses, offer free downloads to get leads or promote your services in any way he’s going to do it for you. From pop-ups to slide-ins to slide-ups and in-copy content Hustle allows you to not only set a vast array of different (beautiful) stylings, but also targets visitors based on all sorts of different conditions. You’ll actually be amazed you don’t have to pay for him.

Hustle free and pro comparison graphic
Hustle includes all the styling, templates, animations, and display conditions in both the Pro and Free versions.

Finally! The Form, Quiz, Survey, Poll Builder WordPress Has Been Waiting For

Last, but definitely not least, a plugin we haven’t even had a chance to officially introduce you  to (but we will, don’t worry about that). For the first time ever, we’ve released our premium plugin completely free on WordPress.org… you read that right! No difference between Free and Premium features. No limitations. Forminator is the all new form, quiz, survey, poll builder you can’t live without…and you don’t have to live without it because we are giving him away.

Forminator featured image
Say hello to Forminator the form, poll, quiz and survey builder!!!

Forms are the Holy Grail for WordPress sites and now there is an option that won’t cost you your life savings. Fominator’s drag and drop builder is by far the easiest tool for setting up forms in WordPress (I’m not bias…promise). Quickly add a simple contact form or complex registration forms.

We didn’t stop there. Forminator includes polls with real-time chart and graph results, no wrong answer quizzes (think Buzzfeed) and knowledge tests.

But perhaps the real surprise is the included developer API. Because Forminator is now open to millions of users on WordPress.org any developer can build and sell integrations or custom apps.

Forminator Pro verses Free feature list
Forminator is our first ever free-premium release…no feature limitations!

I could go on and on about the included Gutenberg block, GDPR-friendly settings, and included spam protection, but that’s another post for another day… and trust me… I will.

“Why Would I Ever Want A Membership?”

I can see the pitchforks and torches in the distance and I can hear the questions, “why pay if everything is free?” I’m confident that the real value of your membership is found in automation and the time-saving money-making-machine in the Hub. If you’re managing more than one site our super servers, white label reporting, safe upgrades, uptime monitoring and not to mention 24/7 support for all things WordPress can’t be passed by.

Our free offerings are totally fine for Hobbyists and single site owners, but freelancers, development agencies and basically anyone making money with WordPress get incredible value. Don’t take my word for it – try all the pro features for the next 30-days on me. :)

We’re Not Done… Coming Soon… Migration

Last year we asked our members (and visitors) what they’d like us to make for them to the same standard as our other offerings and, well, we listened.

I’m really excited about this one but I’m gonna make this simple. We’re building an API driven, superbly simple but exceptionally powerful migration plugin. Let’s call him Shipper :) and he’s going to rock your development world.

So, there you go. It’s taken a long time to figure this out but it’s by far the best way to go about your WordPress business and the best way to operate as an open source company. We hope you enjoy them, whether or not you ever fancy taking a free trial here at WPMU DEV.

And naturally we’re not stopping there. If you think the plugins I’ve featured here are lacking in any specific way, have any particular requests for them or just wanna let us know what’s on your mind, hit us up in the comments now.

Plus, if you’ve got a burning desire for any other really good WordPress.org plugin that you think WPMU DEV could roll out for you in 2019, let us know that too.

Over to you :)

James Farmer
If you have any new features or plugins you would like to see added, tell us about it in the comments!