The Best Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2024

Practical notes on WordPress website design and development, curated plugin recommendations, and continuously updated plugin lists! Join the WordPress Website Design and Development: Line Community to engage in discussions and learning. If you're also interested in Shopify e-commerce website design and development, you can join this Line Community too! (Last updated: January 29, 2023)

“Practical experience sharing, not just online information compilation.” – Irving

List of recommended WordPress plugins, which will be periodically updated to remove outdated ones and add new high-quality plugins! As an experienced web designer, I have accumulated over ten years of practical experience and learning, designing and building numerous WordPress brand websites for clients. Here, I have compiled a list of plugins that I have personally used, filtered, and sorted, which you can reference and consider based on your specific needs.

There is no one-size-fits-all plugin or template, and it’s impossible to find something that is absolutely perfect. Over time, some plugins may become obsolete, and that is also a possibility. So, in addition to relying on others’ recommendations, it is important to conduct your own testing, research, and long-term observation.

Every week, Themeforest website updates popular WordPress-related information. You can directly visit and browse the best-selling WordPress plugins of 2023, as well as the best-selling WordPress themes of 2023. It’s addictive to explore in there and you can always discover hidden gems for building websites. It’s a lot of fun!

Hi there! I’m Irving Chen, a senior web designer. Let me quickly introduce my website development experience. I have several years of experience using WordPress for website building and web design, and in recent years, I have been focusing on Shopify e-commerce website design and development. I have a good understanding of the limitations and flexibility of these website platforms. For example, WordPress offers a high level of flexibility, allowing you to navigate the backend easily, modify page code, and utilize a wide range of templates and plugins to create a comprehensive digital presence for your website. If you have any website-related questions, feel free to fill out the contact form and leave a message or request. I will get back to you as soon as possible!

I also want to share an introduction to my portfolio of website projects: “Web Design Projects I’ve Done Over the Years“. Some of these projects involved designing and building websites using WordPress, while others were single-page websites created using the Bootstrap front-end framework. My expertise primarily lies in design (80%) with front-end programming as a supporting skill (20%). Later on, I also learned to use Shopify for building e-commerce websites. You can explore this article: “Building a Custom Shopify Website Design in Two Months“.

For web designers, WordPress is just a tool for building websites

Many people mistakenly believe that using a pre-made WordPress template is all there is to it—simple, right? It’s true that using a template can save time and money, but it often leads to websites that all look the same, making it difficult for consumers to distinguish and create a lasting, unique impression. However, if you truly want to establish your own brand style, create value, and differentiate yourself, simply relying on template customization isn’t enough. The key lies in design, specifically “custom design.”

For “true web designers,” WordPress is a website-building tool that can save a lot of time on developing website functionality. This allows them to focus on “brand design,” “website content planning,” and “visual web design,” while incorporating interactive design and unleashing creativity to convey design concepts. WordPress itself is not the star; brand design takes center stage.

WordPress boasts a vast array of plugins that help designers create websites on this stage

Generally, the free version can be found on the official plugin page. As my experience grows and new features emerge, I will periodically update and replace this plugin list. So feel free to bookmark this page and come back anytime! Sharing or reposting it with your friends who are running WordPress websites is highly encouraged!

If you have any recommended WordPress plugins, feel free to share them. I can find time to test them out and see how they perform!

WordPress 官方網站外掛頁-IrvingLab 爾文實驗室
WordPress Official Website Plugin Page

The official WordPress plugin page features over tens of thousands of “free” plugins, which typically offer basic functionality. For more advanced needs, many of these plugins provide options to upgrade to a paid version through their respective developer’s website at an affordable price, unlocking even more powerful features.

Another website, ThemeForest, offers over 7,000 premium plugins for purchase. Despite being paid, these plugins come at an affordable price with an excellent value-for-money ratio. When you buy a plugin from this website, you receive a unique serial number that grants you lifelong usage rights (one serial number per website). The plugins receive regular updates without any additional charges. You can utilize the filtering options to select the best-selling or highest-rated plugins, ensuring their quality and reliability. One of my personal favorites is the Slider Revolution Responsive WordPress Plugin, which specializes in creating stunning slideshow effects. Its recent update has left me in awe with its impressive features. The plugin offers convenient dynamic settings within the editor, quick responsiveness configurations, and a variety of pre-designed templates that enhance project execution efficiency.

If you’re having trouble making a choice, you can directly browse the best-selling WordPress plugins of 2023.

The websites for the two major WordPress plugins are as follows:

  1. WordPress Official Website Plugin Page (Free, Thousands of Plugins, Covering Various Types)
  2. WordPress Plugins on ThemeForest (Paid, Thousands of Plugins, High Cost-Performance Ratio)
WordPress Plugins on ThemeForest-IrvingLab 爾文實驗室
WordPress Plugins on ThemeForest

Here is a curated list of commonly used plugins that I have selected. They are almost considered as essential tools for every website and can be referred to as the “must-have” plugin arsenal. Of course, you can decide whether to install each of them based on your specific needs. I have categorized them based on their functionality, such as page layout, website backup, website analytics, etc., and then classified them by their respective plugin names. (Note that some plugins may also be available for purchase on their official websites, but personally, I prefer to purchase them from ThemeForest for easier plugin management, especially with multiple license keys. While most plugins can be purchased from Themeforest, a few may require purchasing directly from their official websites. In such cases, I keep a separate record in my notes.)

WordPress 外掛清單 2023 — Irving 爾文精選

  1. Web Page Builder: WPBakery Page Builder (This is my favorite visual page editor that requires a one-time payment. Of course, there are other popular options to try as well. For example, many people use the Elementor editor, although Elementor Pro requires an annual subscription fee. Another option is Kadence Blocks, which I recently discovered. It seems to be appealing in various aspects, but I haven’t had the chance to test it yet. I will share my experience if I use it in the future.)
  2. Web Page Builder: Gutenberg Editor (I primarily use it for writing articles. Since I need to edit and add content extensively, the Gutenberg editor provides a better user experience. For general page layout, I use WPBakery.)
  3. Gutenberg Advanced: Stackable – Ultimate Gutenberg Blocks (I’ve recently fallen in love with using Gutenberg to build pages. The default features are sufficient, but with this paid enhanced version, there are even more pre-built block options and layouts, making page creation much more convenient.)
  4. Slideshow: Slider Revolution (Create captivating hero images/sliders for your homepage)
  5. Website Backup: All-in-One WP Migration (One-click full-site backup)
  6. Website Analytics: Site Kit by Google (Recommended! However, using this plugin has a problem: only users logged in with the owner’s Google account can see the data displayed in the backend, while others cannot. Additionally, other users can log in and log out the original account. Even if logged out, the data will still continue to function because it has been linked to Google Analytics, Google Search Console, etc.), PixelYourSite (suitable for those who find website analytics tool settings challenging)
  7. Website Administrator: Ahrefs SEO (my personal favorite SEO tool: A free website administration plugin for WordPress introduced by Ahrefs, complementing Google Search Console)
  8. Spam comment interception: Akismet Spam Protection (can be used when there is a comment feature enabled, such as on the article pages)
  9. Page and post duplication: Duplicate Page and Post: Duplicate Page and Post
  10. Inserting header and footer code: Insert Headers and Footers by WPBeginner (I basically set all website tracking and analytics codes here for easy management)
  11. Tracking code management: Tracking Code Manager (a game-changer for me, as it allows setting up multiple tracking codes with the ability to toggle them on/off, specify pages, exclude specific pages, etc. It’s incredibly convenient. Previously, I used Insert Headers and Footers by WPBeginner, but it wasn’t as user-friendly. This one is extremely handy.)
  12. Text editor for widgets: Black Studio TinyMCE Widget(I don’t use it much anymore)
  13. Robots file configuration: WordPress Robots.txt optimization (+ Sitemap)
  14. Smooth scroll navigation with anchor links: Easy Smooth Scroll Links (be cautious of any conflicts with the theme when using it)
  15. Sorting of portfolio categories: Category Order and Taxonomy Terms Order
  16. Setting up SSL certificate for secure website URLs: Really Simple SSL (it takes effect immediately upon installation, which is impressive! I found it useful when I discovered that the reason for an insecure website was due to image URLs not starting with https.)
  17. SEO optimization: Yoast SEO (the SEO tool I used to commonly use), All in One SEO (I now love this plugin for its modern interface, and even the free version is quite useful)
  18. Social sharing: WordPress Social Sharing Plugin — Sassy Social Share
  19. Form: Contact Form 7(The free version of Contact Form 7 offers comprehensive functionality and integration. However, it requires familiarity with its syntax and non-visual interface. If you encounter issues with email notifications or want to reduce the chance of being classified as spam, you can refer to this configuration guide: How to Set up and Configure WordPress SMTP Plugin to Send Emails
    • Drag and Drop Multiple File Upload – Contact Form 7 (Failure to upload images using an iPhone may be due to the image format not being set to JPEG. Note: For iPhone photos, if the camera format is set to “High Efficiency,” the format will be HEIF/HEVC; if set to “Most Compatible,” the format will be JPEG. Android phone photos are in JPG format.)
    • Integration for Contact Form 7 and Salesforce – CRM Perks (Integrates Contact Form 7 with Salesforce, automatically transferring form data to Salesforce. It works smoothly overall, but some fields may encounter value retrieval issues. There’s also a paid version: Contact Form Salesforce Plugin)
    • Finally, if installing multiple addons seems overwhelming or raises concerns about website security, you might consider trying the all-in-one Ultimate Addons For Contact Form 7. It offers various functionalities and can be purchased with a yearly subscription or one-time payment. However, make sure the provided features align with your specific needs. I came across
  20. Form: Fluent Forms (Comprehensive functionality, and the paid version offers a lifetime usage plan, so I purchased it for a one-time solution ^^)、HappyFormsNinja Forms (If you prefer a more user-friendly interface and don’t want to use Contact Form 7, you can consider HappyForms or Ninja Forms. However, the free version of Ninja Forms doesn’t allow for two-column layouts, so you can use the free version of HappyForms instead. Both HappyForms and Ninja Forms have paid versions available. In the end, I chose the free Contact Form 7 plugin with its add-ons, as mentioned earlier, because of its strong functionality and high level of integration.)
  21. Table: Ninja Tables (The free version works well, but you can only manually import the form to overwrite the original file. The paid version, on the other hand, provides an export feature.)
  22. Media File Management: FileBird — WordPress Media Library FoldersFree version, Paid version – I generally purchase the paid version so that there are no limitations on the number of folder creations. It allows for efficient organization and categorization of website images and other media assets.)
  23. Table of Contents: SimpleTOC – Table of Contents BlockTOP Table Of Contents By BoomDevs (These are the most visually appealing table of contents styles I have come across. You can visit their official website to see the presentation of their content. They offer both a free version and a paid version.)
  24. InstagramInstagram Feed — elfsight (Highly recommended! Go to their homepage and navigate to Widgets > Instagram Feed in the menu.)
  25. Icons: Font Awesome (Not necessarily required, depending on your needs. Some themes have their own icon styles or come with built-in options.)
  26. Website Security: Wordfence Security — Firewall & Malware Scan (If you are using Cloudways hosting and have enabled the BotProtection feature, do not install this plugin as it may conflict with it.)、Login Security reCAPTCHA (This plugin is great, and I have purchased the PRO version. It works well with Contact Form 7 and I have it set up on the admin login page.)、Limit Login Attempts Reloaded (This plugin limits login error attempts and sends email notifications.)
  27. Website Caching: BreezeWP Fastest Cache (Install only one caching plugin, and I do not recommend installing more than two.)
  28. URL Redirection: Redirection (A must-have plugin for websites, it is really useful)、Page Links To (Used to specify specific links for pages and posts, and it can also be set to open in a new window.)
  29. Setting external link attributes as nofollow, noopener, noreferrer: External Links – nofollow, noopener & new window(External Links – Control the values of nofollow, noopener attributes, and choose whether to open links in a new window/tab.)
  30. Reusable Blocks: Reusable Content Blocks By Thecodepoetry (Allows you to create blocks for repetitive content on your website, making it convenient to set up and insert using shortcodes. The key feature is its integration with WPBakery Page Builder.)、Reusable Blocks Extended by audrasjb (This plugin also has good reviews and is worth testing at some point.)
  31. Read Meter: Read Meter – Reading Time & Progress Bar (Used on this website’s blog articles, it’s quite easy to set up.)
  32. Short Links: BetterLinks (Install directly on your WordPress website and use your main domain for shortlink configuration. It offers tracking, analysis, and a clean and attractive interface. They also provide a one-time payment option!)
  33. Quiz (Used for online quizzes, surveys, and more): Smart Quiz Builder (Just wanted a simple and fast quiz feature similar to BuzzFeed Quizzes or WP Quiz Pro Review. I found this plugin, which offers a one-time payment option and is affordable, yet powerful. I compared it with other similar plugins and will share the results later.)
  34. Stock Image: Envato Elements — Photos & Elementor Templates (If you have an Envato account and a subscription to the annual paid version, you can consider using it.)
  35. Online ChatChaty (Opens a new window for users to engage in conversation)、Messenger Customer Chat — By Facebook(However, since Facebook occasionally changes its terms and algorithms, causing the chat to disconnect, it can be bothersome to log in and reconnect each time. Therefore, directly installing Chaty is also an option.)
  36. SVG ImageSVG Support
  37. Post Views Counter: Post Views Counter (Displays the number of page views.)
  38. 404All 404 Redirect to Homepage (Use with caution, as creatively utilizing a 404 page can sometimes yield interesting results. It’s not necessary to automatically redirect all 404 pages.)
  39. Read More: Read More Without Refresh
  40. Phoenix Media Rename (Allows you to rename media files, including PDFs and videos): Phoenix Media Rename (Refer to: How to Rename Images and Media Files in WordPress)
  41. ShortcodeShortcoderShortcodes Ultimate (Useful when you have certain customized blocks in your web pages that require the use of numerous other pages, such as more than ten. Consider using them if needed.)
  42. Collect FeedbackWP Reactions (A one-time payment plugin worth considering! It’s one of the best-designed plugins for collecting user feedback. You can check out the demo on their backend and see the various stylish emoticons available. Overview: Create user engagement and collect feedback on posts, pages, custom post types, product pages, and more.)
  43. Article Carousel: Post Slider and Carousel with Widget – A Responsive Post Slider (customize the display of article lists as a carousel, simple design but the functionality is what I need, I can modify the design with CSS. It also allows specifying specific article categories to display)、WP Responsive Recent Post Slider/Carousel
  44. Clear Unnecessary Website Records: Easy WP Cleaner (simple and clear interface, quickly removes unnecessary website records such as drafts, revisions, spam comments, freeing up server space)
  45. Before & AfterSmart Before After Viewer (paid version, smooth performance, works on mobile webpages with touch drag support)
  46. Facebook FeedSmash Balloon Social Post Feed (the free version works well! Keep an eye on Facebook algorithm and policy updates as they may affect the functionality and require reconfiguration)
  47. Multilingual Support: WPML — The WordPress Multilingual Plugin (one-time payment, I purchased the full-featured Multilingual CMS package for $79 USD, usable on one website, for multiple websites, the highest tier package for $159 USD is required. This plugin has a slightly complex setup, I will share the setup process in the future. However, I may consider finding alternative solutions in the future.)
  48. Popup Windows: Popup Maker – Popup for opt-ins, lead gen, & more (integrates with WPBakery Page Builder, convenient shortcode-based setup)、Popup Builder – Create highly converting, mobile friendly marketing popups (customizable popup windows, diverse functionality, easy setup)
  49. Video PlayerPresto Player (highly recommended! Powerful video player with easy setup and high customization options, compared to Wistia Player which is subscription-based, I opted for the lifetime payment plan of this plugin as it is very cost-effective. If you want to display text, the video source must be uploaded to the WordPress backend or hosted on、Html5 Video Player — mp4 player, Video Player for WordPressVideo PopUp (the free version allows setting up a click-to-play video popup, can be configured using shortcodes)
  50. Fixed-position Chat Button: Chaty (displays common messaging platforms such as Messenger, Phone, Instagram, Line, WeChat, Email, but can only open in a new window upon clicking)
  51. Cookie BannerGDPR Cookie Consent (CCPA Ready) (compatible with WPML for multiple languages)、Cookie Notice & Consent Banner for GDPR & CCPA Compliance (WPML compatibility is not complete)
  52. Customized Page and Post Links: Page Links To (allows specifying custom URLs and opening in a new window for pages and posts)
  53. PDF Document Viewer: PDF Viewer & 3D PDF Flipbook – DearPDF Lite (the preview mode in the free version is good, but the mobile browsing experience for PDFs is not ideal, even with image-based display, clicking on a PDF still opens a blank page. Currently, I have paused using this plugin and continue searching for a better alternative.)
  54. Code Writing: Code Snippets (enables writing PHP code directly on the website, can be easily enabled or disabled, very convenient to use)
  55. Custom Fields: Meta Box (very useful, highly recommended! Another popular option is ACF, but it does not offer a one-time payment option)
  56. User Permissions: User Role Editor – Vladimir Garagulya(allows setting permissions for WordPress user roles, the free version is already quite useful! For example, it can be used to create external roles for external vendors with restricted access to the backend, or to customize permissions for different internal teams based on their needs. Common functions include adding roles, duplicating roles, and restricting editing permissions for website elements such as themes, plugins, pages, posts, etc.)
  57. Affiliate Program: Solid Affiliate (enables affiliate marketing capabilities on the website, designed for WooCommerce stores)
  58. Sales Funnel for Sales Page:CartFlows (WordPress version of ClickFunnels, Sales Funnel Builder for WordPress & WooCommerce, will try it out when I have time, noting it down here for reference)
  59. Event Calendar: The Events Calendar By The Events Calendar (It’s rare to find such a sleek and elegant calendar plugin. It allows you to set up events and even ticketing functionality.)
  60. Bulk Editing of Product Page Information: WP Sheet Editor – Bulk Edit Posts and Products in Spreadsheet (Since I had over 80 product pages to create with a significant amount of information, using this plugin greatly reduced the time and effort involved. I could directly add product data in Google Sheets and then upload it to the website. This feature is truly important. I later purchased the premium version, and it’s extremely useful!)
  61. Creating an Online Course Website: Tutor LMS
  62. Advanced Interactive Web Design: (To create mouse-scrolling effects or other interactive and dynamic designs similar to Apple product pages, if you don’t know how to code but still want to work with JavaScript libraries that handle dynamic effects like GSAP, then this WordPress plugin is perfect for you! However, there is a learning curve involved. The official communityprovides abundant resources, including video tutorials, software updates, and problem discussions.)

Theme and Plugin Vulnerability Notice: Failure to update plugins regularly may result in website security issues. You can use the search field on the website WPScan and enter the name of the theme or plugin to quickly check if any related issues have been discovered.

I will share my most frequently used WordPress theme list in the future. For now, here are a few that I’m currently using and find really good:

Plugin List periodically updated by IrvingLab.

If you are interested in building an e-commerce website using Shopify, you can also refer to these two articles: “Building a Customized Shopify Website Design in Two Months” and “How to Customize Shopify Web Design Layout“.

Design and Marketing Tools

  • ActiveCampaign: Email marketing and newsletter system (the best alternative to MailChimp)
  • Canva: Online graphic design tool, a real lifesaver if you don’t have a designer on your team! It solves all your marketing, social media, graphic design, and presentation needs with a wide range of templates.
  • Envato Elements: Unlimited downloads of paid resources including images, videos, music, sound effects, graphic designs, illustrations, presentation templates, and more. This is a platform I frequently use for various materials.
  • GetResponse: All-in-one marketing platform that includes email marketing, landing page creation, marketing automation, and more. You can start with a free account and upgrade as needed. This software is similar to Hubspot.
  • PickFu: An online research tool that allows you to conduct tests, optimizations, and instant consumer surveys to replace guesswork. With PickFu, you can instantly gather opinions from up to 500 US consumers. By seeking collective wisdom, it helps you make better business decisions.
  • SurveySparrow: Omnichannel Experience Management Platform for conducting customer satisfaction surveys across various channels.
  • Qwary: A CX (Customer Experience) platform that helps businesses collect customer feedback and improve shopping experiences and product performance through beautifully designed professional surveys. It allows measurement of NPS, CSAT, and CES.
  • Opinion Stage: Create free quizzes, polls, and forms with visually appealing designs and good functionality. It also offers paid plans to increase the number of responses per month.
  • Typeform: Elegant online form builder.
  • UXPressia: Quickly create professional Customer Journey Maps, Personas, and Impact Maps with various ready-to-use templates.
  • Surfer: SEO tool primarily used by content editors. It offers AI-generated SEO copy, keyword recommendations, SEO audits, and a visually appealing interface.
  • CopyAI: An AI-powered copywriting generator that creates high-quality copy for your business.
  • ABtesting AI: Have you tried optimizing your website with AB testing? Try AI testing with a free plan available.
  • Frase: Use AI to assist in searching, writing, and optimizing SEO articles with ease.
  • AppSumo: One-time payment platform for discounted digital software (greatly reduces costs).
  • Tidio: Design a high-quality online chat tool for your website.
  • Help Scout: Online customer support platform (alternative to Zendesk).
  • HeySummit: Host virtual online summits.
  • SimplyBook: Online appointment scheduling system and app booking software.
  • Liinks: One-page multi-link website that integrates multiple social and official website links.
  • LearnWorlds: Create and sell online course websites.
  • Teachable: A platform for creating and selling online course websites.
  • Make: A visual automation workflow tool that allows data integration and seamless movement between various software applications, enhancing work efficiency.
  • Piktochart: An information chart design tool.
  • ClickMagick: While searching for AB testing tools, I came across ClickMagick, which offers this functionality. After watching introductions from other YouTubers and finding it user-friendly, I decided to give it a try.
  • MotionElements: A platform for professional video materials, templates, and plugins.
  • MotionVFX: A platform for professional video materials, templates, and plugins.
  • Payoneer: A secure and fast one-stop solution for cross-border payments.
  • Wise: A cross-border account for international payments and receipts.
  • Surfshark: I recently started using Surfshark VPN, and it’s been great! Originally, I wanted to browse certain foreign websites that automatically redirected me, but using a VPN solved this problem.
  • Firstory: The most comprehensive and powerful podcast hosting platform for platform deployment, sponsored subscriptions, and advertising revenue. It eliminates all the tedious publishing processes by automatically distributing your recorded audio files to platforms such as KKBOX, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
  • Continuously collecting and researching more…

If you have any questions, please feel free to fill out the form and leave a message or email me at You can also reach out to me through the Facebook or have a direct online chat. Let’s communicate and grow together! You can check out my web design portfolio to see my work. Join the Shopify website design and development learning community on the Line group to exchange ideas and learn together! However, please note that users in the United States cannot join the Taiwan Line group. Therefore, I have also created a Telegram community where valuable experiences from both platforms will be shared and organized. To further understand our services, you can add Irvinglab’s Line@ official account and leave a message for us.

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