Matt Forbes Dev

The best free wordpress plugins that every website needs

In this article, I have curated a list of the best FREE WordPress plugins that every website should be using. There are over 60,000+ WordPress plugins that you can choose from. This makes it extremely overwhelming for new users to find the right ones. Whether it is for security, backups, speed or SEO these are the plugins that I install on every WordPress site I create. Check out my recommendations below.

Akismet Anti Spam

WordPress Plugin

Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against a global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. The advanced algorithms powering Akismet learn from other websites marking comments and contact submissions as spam and then marks that content as spam in the future. Akismet removes on average about 7.5 million spam comments every hour!

Spam comments slow your website down, hurt your business’s credibility and can even contain phishing or fraud scams. Spam moderation is extremely time-consuming so why not have Akismet do the heavy lifting?

Wordfence security

Wordfence includes an endpoint firewall and malware scanner that were built from the ground up to protect WordPress. Wordfence is regularly updated with the newest firewall rules, malware signatures and malicious IP addresses to keep your website safe. Wordfence is the most comprehensive WordPress security solution available.

Yoast SEO

Yoast logo

Yoast SEO helps millions of websites worldwide to rank higher in search engines. Yoast’s mission is ‘SEO for Everyone’. They have created a beginner-friendly plugin allowing people to manage their own SEO including meta tags, XML sitemaps and viewing previews of what your page will appear like in search results.

To rank highly in search engines, you need to beat the competition. You need a better, faster, stronger website than the people who sell or do the same kinds of things as you. Yoast SEO contains everything that you need to manage your SEO. It is the most popular SEO plugin and has over 5 million active installations.



All-in-One SEO for WordPress is the original WordPress SEO plugin. Currently, there are over 3 million active installations of AIOSEO. Similar to Yoast it allows website owners to manage their SEO settings and rank higher in search engine result pages (SERP).

AIOSEO claim their plugin is the most comprehensive WordPress SEO plugin and marketing toolkit that is highly optimised for Google and has the #1 user experience. Having used both Yoast and AIOSEO I prefer to manage SEO using AIOSEO and I would agree that the UX is better than Yoast. The setup wizard does the majority of the work. AIOSEO includes all the major SEO features including XML sitemaps, meta titles, meta descriptions, keywords and schema markup.

Yoast duplicate post

Yoast Duplicate post

Need a post or page on your website cloned? Yoast Duplicate Post is what you need. This handy plugin allows you to make an exact copy of any WordPress page or post on your website. This is extremely handy for updating blogs or creating a new website page from a template

Really Simple SSL

Really Simple SSL

Really Simple SSL will automatically configure your website to use SSL to its fullest potential. Use extra hardening features to secure your website, and keeps up-to-date. The plugin will check for an existing SSL certificate. If you don’t have one, you can generate one in the plugin. Depending on your hosting provider, the plugin can also install it for you.

What is SSL and why do you need it? SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a security protocol that ensures authentication and encryption between computers. Why is this important? It keeps your website secure and prevents hackers from reading and modifying data transferred between your website and your clients. Also, Google loves security and having an SSL certificate shows that you and your website care about security. This in turn is rewarded with a boost in search engine results.

Updraft Plus

Updraft plus logo

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

WordPress, like any CMS, can be vulnerable to everything from server crashes, hacks, security flaws, bad plugins or theme updates and insecure web hosts. If anything happened to your website, it would cost you dearly in time, money and reputation.

Whilst other security measures are essential, backups are the ultimate insurance: they mean that, if the worst were to happen, your website (plus all related files and databases) would stay safe, and can be restored in no time. There is no question about it – using UpdraftPlus for backups saves you tons of time and effort and allows an easy “set and forget” solution by scheduling automatic backups.

LiteSpeed cache

A caching plugin speeds up the load time of your website by creating a ‘cache’ of stored data that is able to be downloaded and presented to the user much faster than accessing the data from the database and server. Caching reduces the load on your servers and in turn, makes the website run faster. This in turn improves the user experience and boosts engagement and time spent on the website. Caching is essential for SEO as Google measures the load time of websites and will rank websites with faster load times better than slower websites.

Litespeed cache advertises itself as ‘The all-in-one site acceleration plugin!’ This plugin features image optimisation and lazy loading, minification of CSS and Javascript and Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

w3 total cache

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache (W3TC) improves the speed, SEO and overall user experience of your site by increasing website performance and reducing load times by leveraging features like content delivery network (CDN). Similar to Litespeed W3 also uses minification of HTML, CSS and Javascript.


Smush logo

An award-winning Image optimiser, Smush, optimises the images on your website improving page speed while maintaining the quality of the image. Not only does Smush optimise and compress the image data but it allows the website to ‘Lazy load’ meaning the website will only download the image when required improving the end users experience.

Tidio Chat

Tidio logo

Need an easy live chat functionality for your website so that users can ask questions. look no further than Tidio. This handy plug-in allows you to offer world-class customer support which can generate more leads and sales.

Tidio is complemented with a mobile app available on Google Play and iOS App store. When a user uses the chat functionality on your website messages are delivered directly to your mobile device allowing you to talk in real-time.

WP Forms

WP Forms logo

The best contact form builder for WordPress! Ever tried to create a contact form using HTML? You don’t know how to code? A developer will cost how much? WP Forms to the rescue. This plug-in is without a doubt the best contact form plugin available allowing you to create contact forms with a drag-and-drop interface.

WP Forms features customisable templates that are 100% mobile responsive. You can create anything from simple to very complex forms using the wide range of available input fields. WP Forms is an elegant solution for adding forms to any WordPress website with everything you would expect including CAPTCHA security.


OptinMonster logo

OptinMonster is the best popup builder and marketing plugin that helps you get more email subscribers, increase sales, and grow your business. With the OptinMonster popup builder and conversion toolkit, you can turn abandoning website visitors into subscribers and customers.

OptinMonster’s easy-to-use popup maker allows you to create beautiful popup campaigns, email subscription forms, sticky announcement bars and other types of interactive popups for your site in minutes, not hours!


Monster Insights logo

MonsterInsights is the most complete Google Analytics plugin for WordPress with over 3 million active installs. MonsterInsights comes with an analytics dashboard for WordPress that shows you actionable analytics reports right inside your WordPress dashboard. Connecting your Google Analytics account and MonsterInsights is straightforward and allows you to start collecting real data.

Learn how long visitors are staying on your website, how they find your website, what are they engaging with, what is working on your website and what isn’t. MonsterInsights allows you to start making data-driven decisions to grow your business.


Elementor Logo

Elementor is the worlds best website page builder powering over 10 million websites. Elementor allows web designers to create professional, pixel-perfect websites using an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface without the need for coding. It is the fastest, easiest and most powerful way to build your website.

Save time and start creating your website using Elementors starter templates. Customise every aspect of your website with the 40+ included widgets that can be dragged and dropped where they are needed. Extend Elementors functionality with additional plugins featuring hundreds of additional widgets. Customise every aspect of every widget and ensure your website is perfect on any device with options for mobile responsive design.

Elementor is the page builder that I recommend to all my clients as it allows them to take control of their website and make changes and customise their website after handover with a small learning curve. It is also extremely powerful allowing your website to scale as your business grows.


WooCommerce logo

Want to build an online store and start selling using an eCommerce platform? Currently, over 5 Million active installs WooCommerce is the world’s most popular eCommerce solution. If you have ever thought about selling online I would urge you to check out WooCommerce as an option. Everything from entrepreneurs creating minimal viable products and small businesses all the way to global corporations it’s easy to start selling online using WooCommerce. Even multivendor marketplaces like Amazon or eBay can be created with WooCommerce at the backbone.

Broken links checker

As its name suggests broken links checker monitors your website’s internal and external links notifying you via the dashboard or email when it detects broken links allowing you to correct them. Broken links will harm your user experience and in turn, you will be penalised via Google and see a downturn in your search engine results.

Broken links checker isn’t the best way on monitoring your links (SEMRush etc) however it is very easy and I like to include it for my clients.

Hope you found this list of Free WordPress Plugins useful. If you want to work together on a project you can contact me here.