My love of WordPress began a few years ago and one of the things that makes it stand out is the community and the seemingly endless number of plugins that enhance the core functionality. When working on projects I will often go in search of a plugin if I have an immediate need that requires a quick solution. Chances are there’s a plugin that can help me. I have installed, tested, embraced and sometimes abandoned too many to count but there are some that I always install in a new project. When compiling my top 5 I discovered that each of them are what I would call behind the scenes plugins, those that keep the cogs turning.
1. Akismet – Let’s face it spam is annoying and prolific on our blogs. Enter Akismet the spam buster. It’s gone from being a free plugin to a paid but it is so very good at capturing spam. I used to use Mollom, which is equally as effective but unfortunately Mollom didn’t put as much energy into their WordPress plugin as they did into their enterprise systems. So if spam is a thorn in your side you can’t go past Akismet.
2. All in one SEO pack – if you don’t use a theme that takes care of SEO for you, for example a Genesis theme, then you really need to consider adding an SEO plugin. I have been using this one for years and it’s so easy to use and effective. You can add SEO information to individual posts, pages and your entire blog or site.
3. Login Lockdown – as someone who has had their blog hacked this has been an added level of security for my blog and sites I develop. It monitors failed login attempts by IP addresses and locks out attempts from that address or range for 1 hour if more than 3 failed attempts happen within 5 minutes. Nothing is perfect but it can safeguard your blog against brute force password discovery.
4. Captcha – This little plugin is my second safe guard against spam. Everyone knows captcha as that series of letters and/or numbers that are designed to prove you are not a machine. These types of captchas have their issues when it comes to accessibility and a lot of people find them frustrating. This plugin simply asks the user to solve a super simple maths equation like 3 + 9 = ? . I have installed this on my comments and even my login screen. It can beat robots and still be usable.
5. WP-DBManager – This has been my lifesaver for backing up, restoring and generally keeping my database in working order. You can schedule backups to happen at regular intervals and it will even email you a copy of your backup.
What are your favourite plugins?