Installing Essential WordPress Plugins on Your Website

Hello and welcome to this article about installing essential WordPress plugins. If you have stumbled upon this post from Gawd knows where, you may be interested to know that this is from a series of articles from a Kindle eBook called, “How to Set Up a WordPress Website from Scratch.” If you would prefer to buy the book to make life easier, feel free to download it by clicking the image below.

Please note that there are free and paid options for most of these plugins, or they have a donation button. However, you do NOT need to pay a penny for any of these essential WordPress plugins. The free ones may not do everything the paid plugins will do but they do more than enough, especially for people who are just starting out creating websites. You should have already activated the first two plugins on the list. You can check out the video here if you need extra help.

Akismet Anti-Spam

Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the most important of all the essential WordPress plugins. It is certainly the best way to protect your blog from spam. Your site is fully configured and protected, even while you sleep. 

essential WordPress plugins

This plugin should already be set up. If not, go to the plugins page, click settings and follow the instructions. You will need to create an account and get a number. It’s all very easy but if you are confused about anything, watch this video (again). The information is towards the end.

Contact Form 7

Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible. I am absolutely sure you have already installed this plugin so I don’t think we need to repeat things unnecessarily. However, in the unlikely event you haven’t, watch this video for the instructions.

Add Expires Headers Plugin

This plugin allows your website to load more quickly by adding ‘expires headers’ for various types of resources of the website to have better performance optimization. Look for the one by Passionate Brains.

essential WordPress plugins

Quite honestly, I’m not 100% convinced I fully understand ‘expired headers’ but I know this plugin works well, which is all that matters. Once installed and activated, click on ‘settings’. There are a few things you can do here. 

In the main options box, you can select the ‘Enable Expires Headers’ box and the ‘Enable Gzip Comprehension’ box. Then scroll down to the CSS, JS, and Other Settings’ section at the bottom of the settings page and select ‘CSS’ and ‘JAVASCRIPT’. Then, save your settings and you’re done.

Fast Velocity Minify

Improve your speed score on GTmetrix, Pingdom Tools and Google PageSpeed Insights by merging and minifying CSS and JavaScript files into groups, compressing HTML and other speed optimizations. Look for the one by a chap called Raul something or other.

Once you have installed it, do absolutely nothing! Quite honestly, it’s all a bit confusing to newbies (and just as confusing to us oldies). The good news is that it works brilliantly and you don’t even need faff around with it. So, just let it do its thing and your site will be fine.


Loginizer is a WordPress plugin which helps you fight against bruteforce attack by blocking login for the IP after it reaches maximum retries allowed. You can blacklist or whitelist IPs for login using Loginizer.

essential WordPress plugins

If you followed my advice when we were installing WordPress, this plugin should already be installed and activated on your website. Check out the plugins page to be sure. If you didn’t install it when you installed WordPress, search for it in the ‘Add New’ plugins page and install it now.

UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore

UpdraftPlus simplifies backups and restoration. It is the world’s highest-ranking and most popular scheduled backup plugin, with over two million currently-active installs. Backup your files and database backups into the cloud and restore with a single click!

Make sure that you always run a backup before you make any major changes to the back office on your website. This is especially true if you are doing anything with the Hummingbird plugin (see next article). If you want to see how to use it, you’ll need to watch the ‘Setting Up Your Hummingbird Plugin’ video here.

Wrapping It All Up

And there we have it. Installing essential WordPress plugins like the ones above will mean that your website will run faster. And when your site runs faster, Google loves it more and your website goes higher up the ranking. A win-win for everyone, I think. Now let’s move on to the best analytics WordPress plugins.

Michael Williams

Blogger, writer, teacher and an all-round good egg.

View all posts by Michael Williams →

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