WordPress has a great core, but its extensibility through an active developer community really showcases the power of open source innovation. For the sake of performance, I try to minimize plugin use, but here is my list of “essential” plugins:
All three of these plugins are directly from Automattic, the parent company of WordPress. Akismet identifies and blocks comment and trackback spam. Jetpack provides several useful features like hovercards, email subscriptions, contact forms, etc. MP6 gives the WordPress backend a modernized facelift.
As one of the most popular web commenting/discussion platforms, Disqus has grown across 3+ million websites engaging over half a billion users each month. For me, it serves as a great way to provide users a way to comment, upvote, rate, and share discussions across other social media platforms.
An oldie but a goodie – Exec-PHP permits the execution of PHP code directly embedded in posts/pages via the WYSIWYG writer.
Absolutely essential for anyone who seeks great search engine optimization (SEO). It automates all the content-based tag and social meta data generation and facilitates the creation of sitemaps (very important for indexing across search engines).
A WordPress extension for Cloudflare, a popular website accelerator offering protection against spam and other attacks. The sole purpose of even needing this plugin is to ensure that my web analytics software (Piwik) records the originating IP addresses of users rather than the reverse proxy addresses coming from Cloudflare’s servers.
There’s really no nice way to say this – WordPress’ native search function is horrendously bad. We get spoiled by “useful” search results from Google, so we expect the same quality of results from any search box, regardless of its underlying algorithm. Relevanssi restores the usefulness of WordPress search and provides users with a better presentation of their query results.
A simple polls plugin which allows admins to store all poll-related information in the local database rather than remotely. Very customizable with a little CSS knowledge!