Table of contents

Overview of the best WordPress plugins

The 15 best WordPress plugins for SEO and security

WordPress plugins are a good way to edit the website according to individual needs. With WordPress plugins you have a lot of freedom, but you can quickly lose the overview in the crowd.

To help you find the right plugins for you, we have compiled the best WordPress plugins. Here you will find general plugins for design, but also WordPress SEO plugins and WordPress DSGVO plugins for your legal security.

This overview is a general list and should give you some orientation. Which plugins are ultimately right for you depends on your wishes, target groups and also on your reach goals that you want to achieve with your website.

General information about WordPress plugins

Plugins have advantages and disadvantages. Which ones outweigh the others for you depends on your goals. Plugins allow you to customise your site beyond the basic functions. WordPress plugins usually specialise in their own functions or topics, such as SEO marketing. Such WordPress SEO plugins support you in the search engine optimisation of the content, so that your website is found faster on Google.

With WordPress plugins, you choose the functions you need. If all plugins were automatically included in the basic function, your website would be too slow and too cluttered. Therefore, we always advise our customers to limit the choice of plugins to what is necessary in order not to negatively affect the pagespeed of their own website.

In the meantime, you will find around 60,000 plugins in the WordPress directory - and there you will only find those that are WordPress plugins. You can search specifically for plugins, so you can limit your selection directly to the plugins you need.

Another advantage of WordPress plugins is that you can optimise your site even without programming knowledge. The plugins do the programming work for you, so you don't have to know how to edit the theme codes or design the page yourself with CSS. This saves you time that you can better invest in your content. In the directory you will find a wide selection of plugins for every theme, so you will definitely find what you are looking for. To make it even easier for you to choose the right plugin, you can look at the ratings from the WordPress community and the number of plugin users.

WordPress plugins and security

For all their advantages, WordPress plugins also offer a certain potential danger. You should be aware of this before you start working with the plugins.

This is because not all WordPress plugins are written by professional programmers. This can lead to the plugins suddenly no longer working, for example due to a lack of updates by the programmer, or containing malicious code.

Depending on the plugin, this increases the risk of being hacked. If the plugins contain security vulnerabilities, they provide an attack surface for your website. Faulty codes or even targeted malicious codes can be used by cyber criminals to steal your data, copy it or make your site unusable. For example, if the DGUV plugin of WordPress is faulty, this can lead to legal consequences.

Our 4 WordPress plugins tips for a secure website that you can implement immediately:

  • Less is more. Do without unnecessary plug-ins. Alternatively, you can programme functions yourself or reduce them to the bare minimum. For a good SEO ranking, you do not always need an SEO plugin in WordPress, but can also optimise the site manually.
  • Only download plug-ins from reputable sources. Unfortunately, the plugins in the directory are not checked, but you can see from the ratings whether they are reputable.
  • Update your plugins regularly so that they are always up to date.
  • Do not test your plug-ins on the live website. Create staging pages (i.e. a clone of your website on a subdomain) where you can test the plugins at your leisure. Only install them on the official site once they have passed the test. See our tips for a good software test.¬†

How WordPress Plugins Influence Pagespeed

An important point is the pagespeed of your website. WordPress plugins can slow down the loading time of your WordPress website, which has a negative impact on your Google ranking and therefore your findability.

Since most plug-ins access a database, they may cause many accesses. These accesses cost loading time and slow down your page.

Since the loading time is an important factor in the ranking, this can cost you one or more places - and thus perhaps page 5 instead of page 1 - in Google.

For this reason, you should test how the plugin affects your performance before using it.

If you do not want to do without certain WordPress plugins, you can prevent unnecessary database accesses by deactivating the functions that you do not need for your site.

It is best to delete plug-ins that you no longer need. Simply deactivating them will still cost you loading time, storage space and security.

Based on our many years of experience, we have tested many WordPress plugins and found them to be good, helpful and safe. You can find our recommendations for the best WordPress plugins categorised by topic in the following overview!

WordPress SEO Plugins

SEO plugins support you in the search engine optimisation of your site. SEO plugins are suitable for SEO beginners as well as for SEO professionals. They show you your SEO score, readability and other important properties while writing. With the plugins, you can optimise your texts while writing and know for sure that your page meets the SEO criteria.

1. yoast SEO

SEO WordPress Plugin Yoast

This plugin has been on the market for a long time and is still one of the most popular WordPress SEO plugins for search engine optimization. Yoast SEO is available in free and paid version. The Yoast SEO Premium plugin costs 99,00 ‚ā¨ per year. Already in the free version, the WordPress plugin Yoast offers you various extras:

  • Enhances XML sitemaps, making it easier for Google to understand your page structure.
  • Meta tags and titles including templates for good branding.
  • Canonical URLs and meta tags
  • Good pagespeed, as Yoast manages your data more effectively.

A good tool is the SEO analysis. It analyses your content based on your keywords. It counts your keywords in the headlines and also alerts you to overuse of keywords.

The readability analysis is very helpful to make your content reader-friendly. Google is very strict about readability, so Yoast helps you to write fluent text with the right choice of words. Yoast supports you in many languages such as German, English, Polish, Arabic, Indonesian or Russian.

With the Google preview, you can see how your page will appear on Google.

There are some good ad ons for your search engine optimisation.

  • Yoast Local SEO offers search engine optimisation services in your area.
  • Yoast Video SEO optimises your ranking for videos.
  • Yoast News SEO is suitable for news websites.
  • WooCommerce SEO is suitable for online shops if you want to improve your ranking.

Yoast SEO is suitable for many themes and plugins. Especially if you

  • the WordPress block editor, formerly Gutenberg,
  • the official AMP plugin,
  • the Google plugin Web Stories
  • or the web builder Elementor

you benefit from Yoast SEO.

Despite all the functions and possible ad ons, in our opinion Yoast is no longer the best SEO WordPress plugin on the market. Among others, the next - equally free - WordPress SEO plugin offers a much wider range of SEO features that will efficiently and sustainably support you in increasing the visibility of your website.

2 Rank Math SEO

Rank Math WordPress SEO Plugin

Rank Math (the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market, by the way, in our opinion) uses artificial intelligence for search engine optimization. This plugin is mainly intended to help users with useful tips to make the content SEO friendly.

With these features, Rank Math SEO promises to help you with your site:

  • Dynamic suggestions and keywords
  • Smart links and related keywords
  • Rank Math SEO convinces with its easy-to-understand setup wizard. It configures itself and helps you set it up with step-by-step instructions.
  • Rank Math SEO helps you to create Google Schema markup. For this purpose, it contains FAQ Schema.
  • With the Google Analytics Integration you will find a one-click solution to install the Analytics script.
  • The default settings save you the time of setting up the plugin yourself.
  • With 30 SEO tests you can check the SEO settings of your site.
  • You will also find many other settings, tools and tricks.

What you need:

  • WordPress version 5.6 or higher.

3 The SEO Framework

SEO WordPress Plugin The SEO Framework

The SEO Framework is, as the name says, a framework and not a plugin. It integrates with the editor and gives you editable fields when editing. It is preconfigured, but you can customize it according to your needs.

You can find tips for your page via the colour-coded guidelines. If you move the mouse over the guidelines, they give you tips for the titles, for example. Another point is that it improves the Google ranking and automatically adjusts the titles to the Google guidelines.

For placement on social networks, it automatically supports the Open Graph, Facebook and Twitter Cards protocols. This way, it highlights your posts so they can even be shared on Pinterest, Discord and WhatsApp.

Other functions are:

  • Meta Title and Meta Description. With these fields you edit the texts that are displayed on Google.
  • Social title and social description. With this field you determine what is displayed in the link previews in the social networks.
  • Social image: This is the URL that is displayed in the link preview on social networks.
  • Canonical URL. You need this for duplicate content, as it displays the original URL.
  • Robots meta settings. With these settings, your page will be found by search engines. You can also set whether users follow the links on the page and whether a copy is created and stored in the search engine cache.

What you need:

  • WordPress version 5.5 or higher
  • ¬†PHP version 7.2.0 or higher

4. redirection

WordPress Plugin Redirection for redirects

With Redirection you take care of your URL redirections. With this WordPress plugin you can easily manage your redirections and you don't need to know anything about Apache or Nginx.

For a good search engine ranking, there should be as few 404 errors as possible. You can find out what these are and how to prevent them here.

Redirection takes care of good redirection when you restructure your page. It redirects your URL to the new one.

In addition, the WordPress plugin offers further extras:

  • Mass forwarding of any number of links. This is useful if you want to forward multiple URLs at the same time.
  • Exceptions for URLs if you no longer want to forward them
  • Tracking of 404 errors for your overview
  • If you change the URL, the redirections are created directly.

5. XML Sitemaps

XML Sitemaps make it easier for website crawlers to recognize and retrieve the page structure. TheXML Sitemapsplugin is designed to create XML sitemaps for your website. It automatically notifies search engines like Bing and Google when you edit your site. This way the search engines are always kept up to date about the latest content of your website.

What you need:

  • WordPress version 3.3 or higher

Note that this function is a standard feature of WordPress SEO plugins. But if you are a beginner, this plugin is a good way to get started!

Pagespeed/Performance Plugins

The so-called pagespeed or loading speed is important for the search engine ranking. In addition, you lose website visitors due to slow loading times of your website. Users do not wait long for the page before they leave it again.

For a good search engine ranking and high usability, your website should load quickly. Images, superfluous source codes or unnecessary settings slow down your page. This problem is especially familiar to webshop operators who have to load many images onto their site. One trick, for example, is lazy loading.

In addition to your own website settings, the right WordPress plugins will help you achieve good pagespeed. Because the wrong WordPress plugins tend to worsen your loading times instead of improving them. As pagespeed experts, we have tested various caching and performance plugins that make your website load even faster. These are our absolute heartfelt recommendations:

1. WP Rocket

WP Rocket Caching Plugin

WP Rocket is probably the best known and most popular caching plugin. This WordPress plugin is completely in German and brings various functions:

  • It minimises CSS and Java and delays the execution of JavaScript
  • As it adds missing width and height information for images, it improves the layout and CLS
  • It cleans databases
  • It generates critical CSS

You want to convince yourself of the features? Then register now here for the free hosting from WPspace and contact our support via Live Chat.

2. perfmatters

WordPress performance plugin perfmatters

This WordPress plugin ensures that CSS and Javascript are not listed on the whole website. With some plugins the problem arises that CSS and Javascript load on the whole website. With Permatters these codes are only switched on locally or specifically for a certain URL.

Other functions are:

  • It disables the emoji script
  • It disables the embed function
  • It disables XML-RPC
  • It removes the jQuery Migrate

For optimal support, you can combine it with other optimisation and caching plugins.

3. LiteSpeed Cache

Litespeed WordPress plugin for caching and performance

The WordPress plugin LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress offers you an exclusive cache on server level. It is compatible with popular plugins like WooCommerce, bbPress or Yoast SEO. It is all-in solution for websites that need to load quickly and easily.

The LiteSpeed Cache offers the following features, among others:

  • Lazy loading of images and iFrames
  • It minifies inline and external CSS/JS
  • It minifies CSS, JavaScript and HTML
  • It supports browser cache
  • HTTP/2 Push for CSS/JS
  • It delays JavaScript and loads CSS asynchronously

What you need:

  • WordPress Version: 4.0 or higher
  • Compatible up to 5.9.3

4. smush - Lazy Load Images, Optimize & Compress Images

WordPress plugin Smush

Smush promises to reduce the size of your images without any loss of quality. Since especially large images have a strong negative impact on the pagespeed of your website, this image optimization can improve your loading time by a lot. In addition, Smush offers many other features, such as lazy loading. Lazy loading means that images only load when you have scrolled down to them. This way you avoid loading images that you don't need. Many users do not scroll to the bottom of the page, but stay at the top of the page.

This plugin therefore saves loading time and is compatible with almost all browsers.

What you need:

  • WordPress version 4.0 or higher.
  • Required PHP version: 5.6 or higher

Alternatively, you can also use a caching plugin like WP Rocket, because lazy loading is part of the functional package. And you have already learned: fewer WordPress plugins is more!

Security plugins

Security does not only refer to hacker attacks. Internet security also includes data security. Many Internet criminals steal data in order to use it for themselves or to sell it. Security plugins therefore not only protect your website from attacks, they also secure data, create backups and warn of potential dangers.

1. jetpack

WordPress security plugin Jetpack

Jetpack is one of the most popular security WordPress plugins. It offers all-around protection for your WordPress website. Among other things, Jetpack creates backups, detects downtime and offers anti-spam functions.

  • With its back-up tool, you can quickly back up your data with one click and protect yourself from data loss.
  • If you migrate your site to a host, it migrates all theme files to the new database, creates database backups and clones websites.
  • It performs scans for malware and checks pages, data and accesses for malware.
  • It blocks spam comments and spam form responses.

What you need:

  • WordPress version 5.9 or higher
  • PHP version 5.6 or higher

2. iThemes Security

iThemes Security WordPress Plugin

With iThemes Security you can protect your WordPress site from attacks. With this WordPress plugin you can choose between the free and paid version. Already in the free version you benefit from some security features.

  • iThemes Security protects against brute force attacks. The login area in particular is a major security vulnerability on websites.
  • It uses the Google reCAPTCHA integration
  • It provides strong password security
  • It checks your WordPress version and updates for malicious files.

What you need:

  • WordPress version 5.8 or higher
  • PHP version 7.0 or higher

3. borlabs cookie

WordPress Plugin Borlabs Cookie

Especially data protection is an important issue in website creation and that's why you need a privacy compliant cookie banner like the one from Borlabs Cookie. Using the WordPress plugin you can display this necessary cookie banner on your website. The configuration is not only easy, but also very user-friendly.

  • Opt-in solution: Borlabs Cookie offers a solution for all types of cookies such as Google Analytics, Facebook Pixels and others.
  • Content management: The plugin collects all relevant data in a legally secure way
  • Cookie form: Provides you with a form for user consent
  • Two-click solution: It blocks media such as YouTube, Google Maps and similar until the user has given consent. ¬†
  • Scan: It checks your page for services and included external URLs.

4. antispam bee

Security WordPress Plugin Antispam Bee

This WordPress plugin blocks comment spam, but does not send any data to third parties.

  • You can only allow comments in a specific language
  • It can validate the IP address of the commentators
  • You can save known spam commenters in a database.
  • Set span indicators to delete corresponding postings.

What you need for Antispam Bee:

  • WordPress version 4.5 or higher
  • PHP version: 5.2 or higher

5. security ninja

Security Plugin for WordPress WP Security Ninja

The plugin Security Plugin includes over 50 security tests and checks your site for security leaks, potential attacks and suspicious users.

  • It warns you about security vulnerabilities.
  • Checks whether themes need to be updated
  • Offers preventive measures
  • Prevents hacking
  • Offers many tests that find security vulnerabilities:
    • Brute force attacks
    • 0-Day Exploits Tests
    • Tests of Apache and PHP
    • WP option tests
    • Database tests

What you need:

  • WordPress version 4.7 or higher
  • PHP version 5.6 or higher

Conclusion on WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins offer you a lot of functions and support. They do the work for you by automatically performing functions in the background that you would have to create or write yourself without them.

Plugins are a great help, but they can also do harm. Too many plugins slow down your site and can be a security risk. For this reason, you should only use plugins that you really need. Choose your WordPress plugins well and download them only from reputable sources. To test the plugins, you can create a staging page and try them out beforehand.

With these tips, WordPress plugins have a lot of potential to improve your website and make your work easier. However, you should not blindly trust WordPress plugins, but keep an eye on all the important features yourself.

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Hannah Mauritz

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