With over a decade of development and innovation, WordPress has some of the most useful and diverse best free WordPress plugins available out of any content management system (CMS) available. Because over 28% of all websites on the internet are hosted using WordPress, app developers are always hard at work trying to help add special functionalities to make your website even more powerful and easy to use.
What is a WordPress plugin?
A WordPress plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to your website. When you install a WordPress plugin, you can extend your website’s functionalities even further and add new features. Not every website needs the same tool set, so being able to pick and choose which tools your site needs helps your performance and user experience tremendously.
If your site’s CMS is WordPress.org, I have great news. You can choose from thousands of the best free WordPress plugins to add functionality to your website. Unfortunately, these cannot be used on WordPress.com sites, only self-hosted ones. No worries. It is exceptionally easy to export the content from your WordPress.com site to your new WordPress.org site.
Best Free WordPress Plugins Available:
Best Free WordPress Plugins For Mobile Optimization
Launched by Google in 2015, AMP is a project to help serve up mobile sites faster and more efficiently, netting you a better user experience and ranking potential on search engines. Not every website is right for AMP, though. If your theme isn’t AMP-friendly, it can create a lot of broken links and errors, which can actually hurt the ranking of your site. They have released several features to help AMP be more compatible with non-AMP themes, but some debugging will be required. If you’re not all that tech savvy, it’s best to skip this one. However, if your theme works with AMP, you’re golden.
- WP Touch
If your WordPress theme isn’t reflexive, AMP-enabled, or mobile-friendly, there’s a plugin for that. Meet WP Touch, which will instantly create a mobile-friendly version of your site to help you pass Google’s Mobile Speed Tests and create an elegant user experience for your mobile users. The WP Customizer and Admin panel allow you to make some adjustments to the way your mobile pages display, giving you some design control.
Best Free WordPress Plugins For Spam Management
Is your website getting tons of spam comments? Askimet is a free spam control plugin that helps you keep the hordes of spammers at bay. The only downside is that Askimet requires you to create an account and API key with them in order to work.
- Antispam Bee
Antispam Bee is a great alternative. Lightweight and more privacy-oriented, Antispam Bee lets you block spam and trackbacks, too.
Best Free WordPress Plugins For Site Migrations
Move, migrate, or clone a website over to another with no downtime. Duplicator lets you bundle up your entire WordPress site for easy migration or distribution later.
- WP Importer
If you’re moving over from another WordPress.com or WordPress.org site, this is a great way to import content, pages, posts, categories, tags, and authors over to your new site.
Best Free WordPress Plugins For Page Building
Don’t care for Guttenberg’s built-in page editor? No problem. Elementor is one of the most popular live page builder plugins around, with tons of support from other plugins, too. With drag and drop action, building a page has never been easier. It makes any other page builder seem slow by comparison.
Another very user-friendly option, Brizy also offers drag and drop page building. Customize your sidebar or page body with this gorgeous plugin. The user interface is clean and intuitive, making it simple to just pick up and start using.
Best Free WordPress Plugins For Adding Buttons
- Max Button
Do you need to add Call To Action buttons, or really, any kind of button you could fathom to your website? Max Button has you covered with tons of button customizations, templates, and short codes.
- WP Call Button
If your website is a local business or requires leads to call you, this will put a bar on your website to help convert mobile users to call you and make an appointment.
Best Free WordPress Plugins For Code Editing
- Code Snippets
Instead of adding .pHp files directly to your theme’s functions.php file, Code Snippets amends it so you only have to make changes in one place without worrying about breaking your theme. Code Snippets provides a GUI interface that allows you to run the scripts right from your site. Even if you switch themes, these Code Snippets will remain independently so you don’t have to make another set of revisions.
- Insert Headers and Footers
- Advanced Custom Fields
Do you need more control of the custom fields on your posts, users, taxonomy terms, media, comments, or wherever else? This is the plugin for you. You can add fields to virtually anything in any WP edit screen.
Best Free WordPress Plugins For Comment Management
- Disqus Conditional Load
- Disable Comments
Not into comments on your blog? Worried about Cross-platform XSS hacking? We get you. With this simple plugin, you can disable comments globally on your site without ever having to think about moderating ever again.
Best Free WordPress Plugin for Fonts
- Easy Google Fonts
Easy Google fonts is the best free WordPress plugin to add Google fonts selections to your website. If your theme is extremely restrictive with the types of fonts you can use, don’t worry about messing with the theme templates. Just download this plugin and you’re set.
Best Free WordPress Plugin for Content Scheduling
- Editorial Calendar
The Editorial Calendar plugin makes it exceptionally easy to see (on a calendar) when your posts have been published and when they’re scheduled out for. You can drag and drop your posts to move or schedule them for whenever you want and keep to your content strategy schedule.
Best Free WordPress Plugin for Photo Galleries
- Envira Gallery Lite
Envira allows you to create beautiful galleries with a drag and drop interface, making it easier than ever to organize your media just the way you want. Perfection. You can also add gallery blocks into any post. It’s integrated with Social Media and Woocommerce so you can sell your images and show them off in style.
- Smart Slider 3
Create sliders and banners for your website like never before with Smart Slider 3. You can enhance your slider with layers and buttons and customize which pages it shows up on. Did we mention they’re mobile-optimized, too?
- Enable Media Replacement
Seamlessly replace a photo you are deleting by adding another in its place without breaking your links. Edit your title and details right in your media settings without having to go to the file page.
Best Free WordPress Plugin for Events
- The Events Calendar
Do you feature events or appearances on your website? We have the perfect plugin for you. With The Events Calendar, feature your events in a professional-quality table and link right to the venues or events pages. It’s endlessly customizable and user-friendly. Plug and play.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For GDPR Compliance
- GDPR Cookie Consent Notice
Is your site GDPR compliant? With a single 2 for 1 plug-in, display and customize your Cookies Policy disclaimer and allow users to opt out and change their browser’s cookie settings before moving forward on your website. Boom. You’re now GDPR compliant.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For Table of Contents
- LuckyWP Table of Contents
Are you using a Table of Contents plugin on your website? Optimize your posts for SEO and page navigation with the LuckyWP Table of Contents plugin. With the click of a button, you can add a beautiful table of contents into any page and have it sync to your header tags to chauffeur your users to the sections that interest them the most.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For Directories
GeoDirectory is the most customizable and diverse directory plugin, allowing you to scale up to millions of listings around the world, to local, searchable directories and withstand the traffic that comes with it without breaking.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For Analytics
- Monster Insights Lite
Do you use Google Analytics? Get your analytics delivered straight to your dashboard so that you can look over your website traffic, page views, conversions, and goals without ever having to login to the Google Analytics page. Unlike other analytics plugins, Monster Insights allows you to enable and see all advanced stats and goals.
Best Free WordPress Plugins For Image Optimization
- Short Pixel
Short Pixel is THE BEST and most efficient lossy image optimizer available, with optimization of up to 90% possible. On average, I receive around 60% optimization personally, but some images have certainly seen 90% optimization, too. Short Pixel caps the number of images optimized at 100 a month. You can optimize more if you opt for a monthly plan or a one-time fee of $9.99 for 10,000 images if your usage requires more than your free allotment.
Smush is one of the most popular Image Optimization plugins available to date. The free version only lets you compress 50 images at a time, saving bulk compression for its Pro service, but with a little work upfront, it’s easy to maintain and compress as you go. Image compression is an essential part of optimizing your website for speed and usability.
Optimole is an alternative to Smush, making it even easier to clean up your bloated images and pages with lots of images on them using a cloud-based system. With a one-click setup and minimal footprint, Optimole is fast and effective.
- WP Rocket Lazy Load
Lazy Load allows your page images to buffer after the main text and page load first. It will only load images as the user scrolls down, saving your server load.
- Print Friendly
Do you need your PDFs and emails to be shown in a format that makes it easy to print right off the page? Say no more. Download the Print, PDF, Email plugin and give the people what they want.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For Pop-ups
One of the best free WordPress Plugins available, Sumo lets you set up page sharing, customizable pop-ups, welcome email messages, and tons of integrations to your newsletter provider so you can build your lists or run promotions. If you have a store or newsletter, it’s an amazing tool for list growth.
Much like Sumo, Icegram also allows you to build out customizable pop-ups, welcome emails, smart bars, and more to help you build your email lists right from the get-go.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For Shortcodes
- Shortcodes Ultimate
With 50+ shortcodes and compatible with any theme, utilize the responsive and stellar design of Shortcodes Ultimate and get the functionality on your site you feel got left out. From sliders, spoilers, pullquotes, columns, and more, go forth and publish beautifully formatted content.
Do you need to insert a table into a page? With Tablepress, embed beautiful tables into pages, posts, or widgets and keep your formatting just the way you want it.
- Shared Counts
Show your audience how often your posts have been shared with the shared counts plugin. Sometimes, traffic and popularly speak for themselves.
- Simple Author Box
Display your author box on posts in a gorgeous box, Gravatar photo, and customizable website and social media profiles so you can get found on other platforms. It also offers AMP-support for your AMP-enabled content.
- AddToAny Share Buttons
Like Sumo, AddToAny Share Buttons adds a bar of share icons to encourage your readers to share your content and build backlinks. However, AddToAny shines because it lets you add and customize any share settings you’d like. If your theme doesn’t include a widget (or includes a subpar widget) for social sharing, this is a must have. Get found.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For Affiliate Links
- Thirsty Affiliates
Thirsty Affiliates helps you document your affiliate links, cloak them, and mark them as sponsored and nofollow automatically to keep your page from getting penalized by Google’s search algorithms. Simply add your Affiliate links, categorize them, and whenever you need to, tag them in your content and Thirsty Affiliates will take care of the rest.
- Shortlinks by Pretty Links
An alternative to Thirsty Affiliates, Shortlinks creates short pretty links to replace and cloak your long, kind of ugly affiliate link so that it doesn’t intimidate your users. It also lets you add tracking to see how users interact with your affiliate links.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For Backups
- Updraft Plus
Number one in its class, Updraft Plus is the best free WordPress plugin for creating backups in the market. As long as you have a place to send your downloads or download them regularly, Updraft Plus makes it able to restore your site after a fatal error, migration, or version control. Neat.
Best Free WordPress Plugins For Security
Hands down one of the best Firewall and Security plugins WordPress has to offer. Keep your website, your data, and your client’s data secure with the Wordfence plugin. With a number of useful tools, Wordfence offers protection against brute force attacks, SQL injections, and also allows you to activate two-factor authentication on your site’s login.
Have you been hacked? Sucuri is a great plugin for scanning which of your files may have been corrupted by a hacking attempt so you can troubleshoot, fix the file and permissions, and keep them out.
- Really Simple SSL
If, and only if, you have a SSL certificate installed on your website, this is a great plugin for making sure all pages on your website are forced to serve the HTTPS page versions of your site. If you can control this option from your web host instead, that is a better option, but if not, this works well.
- Google Authenticator Login
Two-factor authentication makes it much harder to break into your site. With the Google Authentication Login, you can send yourself a code by email or text every time you login to make sure you aren’t being hacked. This plugin is unnecessary if you choose to install Wordfence.
Best Free WordPress Plugin Email
- MC4WP Mail Chimp
Do you use Mail Chimp to run your newsletter or email lists? Then MC4WP is essential for you. This plugin allows you to build forms or link contact forms right to your newsletter signup and turbocharge your mailing lists.
- WP Mail SMTP
Can’t get your Contact Forms to validate or send? Many contact forms built on WordPress have issues being sent reliably. WP Mail SMTP fixes your email deliverability by reconfiguring WordPress to use a proper SMTP provider when sending emails.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For Shop Integration
If you plan to host a store on your website and you don’t have your own Dev team to manage building a store or payment authentications (let’s face it, who does?), WooCommerce is for you. WooCommerce is hands down the best free WordPress plugin for integrating a shop onto your website. Take Paypal payments seamlessly, and enjoy WooCommerce’s well supported features that let you import tons of products and even set sales by date.
TrustPulse uses FOMO (fear of missing out) to help you make sales. It shows a live stream of real sales happening on your website, or even the On-Fire setting that shows how many users are taking action on your site. This helps naturally nurture people’s natural curiosity about what they may be missing out on, netting you more engagement or even sales.
Best Free WordPress Plugins For Contact Forms
- WP Forms Lite
Meet one of the easiest-to-use drag and drop Content Forms available for free. WP Forms Lite is one of the most popular and user-friendly contact forms available. It’s mobile responsive, user friendly, and quick to set up. With a few clicks, get started and let your users get in touch.
- Contact Form 7
An oldie, but a goodie, Contact Form 7 is a a more tech-forward solution to contact forms. While it might be harder to use if you aren’t very tech savvy, it is infinitely customizable and it’s easy to drop in tracking script or edit your emails if you know HTML. It’s built on AJAX and supports CAPTCHA and Askimet to help keep your spam submissions down, too.
- Ninja Forms
Another no-coding forms alternative for you. Ninja Forms also has a drag and drop user interface that lets you build single rows, columns, or even multipage forms. You can also customize attatchments, letting users send .pdfs, .docs, Excel files, or even Google Sheets files.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For Database Optimization
- WP Optimize
is hands down an essential plugin every WordPress user should have installed on their websites. WP Optimize does it all, from cleaning your database tables, to compressing images while you upload them, to caching. If for nothing else, do it to keep your site’s database clean and keep your site running quickly and efficiently.
Best Free WordPress Plugins For RSS
- WP RSS Aggregator
The original plugin for importing, merging, and aggregating RSS feeds from anywhere on the internet. If your website requires you to publish fresh content constantly, the WP RSS Aggregator lets you pull unlimited RSS feeds. Be careful, though, make sure your site isn’t docked for duplicate content.
- Feedzy RSS Aggregator
A competitor of WP RSS Aggregator, Feedzy offers a lot of the same functionality and touts the ability to import, merge, and aggregate unlimited RSS feeds. It also lets you organize your feeds and import images with your RSS feed, making it visually more interesting and pretty.
- Category Specific RSS Feed Subscription
And now for something completely different: Category Specific RSS Feed Subscription allows you to post your RSS feeds by category, letting users choose which types of content they want to subscribe to. If you write lots of different types of content on your website, this gives your subscribers more control, which is an incentive to follow you instead of another website with a lumped RSS feed.
Best Free WordPress Plugin For Caching
- W3 Total Cache
Enhance your site speed by using a caching plugin that can serve up saved, or “cached” versions of your site. This also saves your server load because fewer calls are being made directly to the server. Minify your HTML, CSS, and jQuery codes for optimal performance. A must if your site receives significant traffic or usage.
- WP Fastest Cache
- SG Optimizer
If you have Siteground as your web host, try the SG Optimizer plugin. This plugin is one of the reasons Siteground can deliver the fastest hosting around. Activate Dynamic Caching and Memcaching, and even force all pages on your site to HTTPS (do this only if you have an active SSL certificate installed on your website). It also lets you sync which version of pHp your website is running on with the touch of a button and no debugging whatsoever. Because it’s built to communicate directly with your server, this is a superior alternative for you. (It won’t work with any other web host, so don’t try it if you aren’t hosted with Siteground.)
Best Free WordPress Plugins For SEO
For nearly the last decade, Yoast has been the best free WordPress plugin for SEO and on-page optimization. It creates an XML sitemap, page and post meta titles, meta descriptions, and helps you optimize your content for ranking. The free version has some of the necessary features cut out, like redirection, schema markups, and local SEO. That said, it’s very stable and well-maintained and will help you get set up with your SEO in just a few quick steps.(We have plugins listed below for some of those missing functionalities if you’re a Yoast loyalist.)
- Rank Math
New to the scene, Rank Math’s sole goal is to unseat Yoast as the most effective and comprehensive SEO plugin in existence. They’re already doing a a great job. They’ve gone ahead and included XML sitemaps, meta tags, Schema mark ups, geotags for local SEO, Google Maps, a broken link checker/404 error logs, redirection, and they are set to release more features imminently. Did we mention they also help with on-page optimization tips, and they let you optimize for 5 different keywords? The only downside to Rank Math is their newness, with some bugs still being worked out, but their Dev team seems to be pretty responsive.
- Schema All-in-One Rich Schema Snippets
If you’re using the free version of Yoast, you can simply download this free plugin to add Schema markups and rich snippets to all of your posts instead of upgrading to the pro-version. You’re welcome.
- Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin is unnecessary if you’re already using Yoast or Rank Math, but it creates XML sitemaps for your site, ready for bots to crawl them and get your content discovered.
- Broken Link Checker
Again, this is another feature left out by the free version of Yoast. Fixing broken links is imperative to site ranking, so make sure you use the below redirection plugin to fix any broken links.
Maybe you deleted a page or changed a permalink after you hit “Publish.” No big deal. The Redirection plugin will let you fix those broken links in no time.Using the free version of Yoast? This is one of their missing features. Make sure you download this plugin so you can fix those broken links or even set up landing pages.
Want more? Check out our review of the 5 best SEO plugins for WordPress
Remember, the more plugins you have activated on your site, the slower it functions and the more calls it has to make to your server, so choose your plugins carefully. Install the most important and vital plugins based on functionality first, and then add the others after seeing how your website is running. Make sure your plugins don’t share the same functionality or they may not play well with others. If you are replacing one for another, make sure you deactivate the old one before you activate your new one for best results.
How to Install a WordPress Plugin:
Now that you’ve downloaded a few of the best free WordPress plugins available, let’s teach you how to install them.
- Login to your WordPress Website’s Dashboard.
- On the lefthand navigation menu, scroll down to the Plugins option and click.
- In the upper-lefthand corner is a button that reads “Add New Plugin”. Click.
- You can either upload a .zip file of a plugin you downloaded (make sure it’s from a trusted source), or search for all plugins listed by WordPress.
- Hit install.
- Go to your Plugin menu and activate your plugin.
- Your new plugin should be operational. It may require some setup or registration to work as intended, but the plugin settings can give you more information about what it needs to work.
- Congrats! You have a brand new plugin live on your site.