WordPress offers fully customized solutions for your website design and development. There are thousands of options to help make your site your own. With over 50,0000 plugins to offer it can definitely become confusing trying to find the best ones. Plugins offer you control over your website and additional functionality that you wouldn’t be able to achieve with just your website alone. The right WordPress plug-ins can take your site beyond the basic features and provide an engaging, innovative browsing experience. Although there are a plethora of plugin options, they all aren’t always top quality. It’s important to be able to know what plugins are properly coded by a reputable plugin development team, and if they are maintained properly on a regular basis.
Having built plenty more than a handful of WordPress websites, we’ve utilized quite a few plugins over the years. Over the course of installing, testing, and customizing plugins — to handle an array of functionality requirements — we’ve landed on a few solid go-to plugins that we implement on almost every website we create. We come back to these plugins because of their unmatched reliability, clean code-base, active updates, and the added functionality they offer to the WordPress install.
We’re not the only ones to use these plugins. In fact, other web development companies and individuals make use of these as well. Their popularity has increased over the years. As a result, these plugins simply continue to improve over time.
FreshySites has compiled a list of our top 12 plugins that we use on our own website builds. We’ve tested all of these plugins and stand behind them as great solutions for your website design.
The 12 best WordPress plugins for 2023
Known as being the most trusted WordPress form builder, Gravity Forms is an innovative and customizable way to build contact forms, lead intake forms, take payment and more. Gravity Forms has many integration possibilities, such as PayPal, MailChimp, and Zapier. Additional functionality options include conditional logic so you can show or hide fields based on a user’s selection, and fully customize your forms to your organization’s needs. This form builder is ADA accessible, and is constantly being updated so that users get the best experience possible. Gravity Forms is the best tool for form building on your WordPress website and has a full community of 3rd party add-ons as well, so you can truly find just about any extension that you need for your business.
Arguably the best form builder for WordPress, Gravity Forms comes with an array of input field types and conditional logic — for an if this, then that ability. All submission entries are stored in the database and multiple types of notifications can be sent when a form is filled out. It’s both simple and very robust at the same time.
While it’s considered a premium plugin (not free), it’s well worth its price. The Elite License comes with some seriously useful add-ons too, such as accepting payments from the form. Adding additional functionality to Gravity Forms is often a breeze.
The Events Calendar is the #1 calendar plugin for WordPress. This is a very popular plugin with more than 800,000 installs. According to The Events Calendar website, companies such as The YMCA, Warner Bros., and Harvard University use this plugin, so we know it stands up to being professional and user friendly. We have integrated this plugin into our website builds to help our clients promote and share events such as Wine Fests, Concerts, religious events, fairs, and more!
WooCommerce will provide you with everything that you need to set up shop online. With secure payment integrations, customizable shop options, shipping, and more, WooCommerce is a great choice to start selling online. WooCommerce also has many integration options such as PayPal, Square, and Stripe for payment, and TaxJar for taxes. WooCommerce will help you create your shop with minimal headaches and will enable you to sell your products from anywhere. As an open-source e-commerce platform, with a plethora of add-ons, and backed by Automattic (the team behind WordPress.com), it’s a no-brainer solution when selling products on your WordPress website.
There are many SEO plugins and options to choose from, we feel that All in One SEO is the best choice to help get your site SEO optimized, running smoothly, and improve website search rankings. All in One SEO is known for being easy to use and powerful to improve results. For a robust system that keeps it simple, check out All in One SEO. While some of the recent changes in their update releases aren’t always met with enthusiasm, it’s still the strongest offering to implement the latest SEO best practices into your website with a single plugin. The plugin has a great track record, and is being developed with the future in mind.
Advanced Custom Fields allows WordPress developers to edit content easily. With this plugin, developers can have more control over WordPress editing and custom field data. This simple and intuitive plugin will allow you to create a field group, define location rules, and more. When implementing any sort of customization on top of your typical WordPress website, Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) is a must — for ease of creating additional data to be able to then use on posts, pages, custom post types, and more. The ACF plugin makes it easy to add, edit, and display your custom field data values where you need to have it.
Adding a lot of content to your WordPress website can become time consuming, Admin Columns can help streamline this process to help make adding items like media images, blog posts, and users simple. With a drag and drop functionality there is no need for complicated code to create fully customizable WordPress tables. It’s a fantastic plugin to help view post data in the backend admin area of your WordPress site — to be able to filter posts, update posts, and view custom fields that WordPress typically doesn’t show within the post table list.
Do you need a solution for WordPress backups? BlogVault is a reliable backup solution that is trusted and used by more than 400,000 sites. BlogVault is a complete solution for your website management and includes features such as incremental backups, site restoration, migration functionality, and WooCommerce backups. BlogVault will help you automate site management so you can be at ease knowing that your site is always protected.
Sometimes you need a Membership solution on your website. Ultimate Member is the answer to help add member functionality to your site such as user profiles, member directories, user login, and editing. This easy to use membership plugin will help take the confusion out of adding members to your site. With additional functionality available — such a WooCommerce integration — Ultimate Member will be the only membership plugin that you need.
Progress Map is a tool that will allow you to display location-based listings (via posts, pages, or custom post types). The listings will be able to be added to Google Maps, and a map-connected carousel that will help your clients and customers easily find where you are located. Progress Map includes a powerful admin panel so that admins can easily manage and make updates as needed. As an innovative plugin, Progress Maps will help your business stand out.
ServMask has developed one of the most complete WordPress migration tools, All-in-One WP Migration. This tool will allow you to create an exceptionally fast export to save your WordPress site in a single download. While you can quickly export your site, you can also import your large site file to a new server flawlessly. All-In-One WP Migration also can provide you with a backup of your site, every time you export your site a backup copy is available as well.
There is no more need for complicated calculations. Calculating shipping has become very easy with the WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro plugin. Well, it allows calculating shipping based on weight, total cost, item quantity, country, state or zip/postcode, etc. With this plugin, you are not limited only to one shipping method, yet you can include as many shipping methods as you want.
Furthermore, you are free to hide specific shipping methods or change shipping method labels depending on what the customer has added to the cart. The logged-in user rules feature is the most important feature of this plugin due to its impact on your business. Using this feature you can provide only your logged-in customers with special rates and show them that you are aware of their loyalty, and as a result, make them come back to your store.
The importance of an SSL certificate is immeasurable for anyone who owns a website. Configuring and obtaining a certificate is no longer complicated and does not take much time, and you only need one thing — the WP Force SSL plugin.
This plugin has all the tools and options needed to configure an SSL certificate, so you no longer need to install multiple plugins to get it. Once you have an SSL certificate, this plugin monitors its status using the real-time SSL monitor functionality. The WP Force SSL plugin is equipped with a content scanner that scans all the pages of your website and provides you with a report so that you can get rid of all the mixed content errors. It is important to note the possibility of controlling everything through a centralized dashboard. Also, you get premium support directly from the developers of this plugin in case you are stuck.
This is our comprehensive list of our top 12 favorite and most reliable WordPress plugins. We hope this list will help you when trying to find plugins for your WordPress site. Whether you are looking for site security, membership functionality, or want to sell products online this list provides you with the best options for WordPress plugins. The WordPress plugins mentioned above may be considered our favorites, but we also have many more that we love. It all depends on the task at hand. In rare cases, when we can’t find a reliable solution to functionality requirement, we’ll craft our own.