WordPress is an incredibly flexible, easy-to-set-up and manage web publishing platform that has been downloaded more than 60 million times since its launch in 2003. As of August 2013, WordPress is used by nearly 19 percent of the top 10 million websites. The content management system’s popularity has spawned thousands – nearly 30,000 in fact – of plugins that expand the basic functionality of WordPress. At Connect4, we routinely use 45 WordPress plugins. We use some plugins, for security, admin, and SEO, for example, on nearly every site we create.
The problem with WordPress plugins is that many of them present as much trouble as they do opportunity on a website. Not all plugins play friendly in the same sandbox. And not all plugin developers continue to provide updates for their plugins. Plugins that haven’t been updated in a year make for a security risk. So make sure you consult with your webmaster or web developer prior to installing any of these plugins. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have a backup before trying out a new plugin.
Today we are going to talk about plugins that control the WordPress backend. These are critical plugins that nearly every site should have.
Admin, Backup & Security
- Wordfence Security
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
- GZip Ninja Speed Compression
- Velvet Blues Update URLs
- W3 Total Cache
- Page Comments Off Please
- Yith Maintenance Mode
Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen. You’ll need an Akismet.com API key to use it. Keys are free for personal blogs, with paid subscriptions available for businesses and commercial sites.
Wordfence Security is a free enterprise class security plugin that includes a firewall, anti-virus scanning, cellphone sign-in (two factor authentication), malicious URL scanning and live traffic including crawlers. Wordfence is the only WordPress security plugin that can verify and repair your core, theme and plugin files, even if you don’t have backups.
VaultPress is a real-time backup and security scanning service designed and built by Automattic, the same company that operates 25+ million sites on WordPress.com.
The VaultPress plugin provides the required functionality to backup and synchronize every post, comment, media file, revision and dashboard settings on our servers. To start safeguarding your site, you need to sign up for a VaultPress subscription.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP is a plugin that will display Google Analytics statistics on your website backend. Analytics data, like number of visits, provided through Google API, is integrated into a simple widget on your WordPress Administration Dashboard.
Using a widget, Google Analytics Dashboard displays detailed analytics info and statistics about: number of visits, number of visitors, bounce rates, organic searches, pages per visit directly on your Admin Dashboard.
Authorized users can also view statistics like Views, UniqueViews and top searches, on frontend, at the end of each article.
Have you been told that your website is slow? Try this very simple plugin that allows you to quickly compress and GZip your site. Only Works On Apache Servers (almost all WordPress installs are on Apache Servers). This will give you the ability to increase your speed and possibly even your rank in Google from a speed increase.
Members is a plugin that extends your control over your blog. It’s a user, role, and content management plugin that was created to make WordPress a more powerful content management system.
The foundation of the plugin is its extensive role and capability management system. This is the backbone of all the current features and planned future features.
- Role Manager: Allows you to edit, create, and delete roles as well as capabilities for these roles.
- Content Permissions: Gives you control over which users (by role) have access to post content.
- Shortcodes: Shortcodes to control who has access to content.
- Widgets: A login form widget and users widget to show in your theme’s sidebars.
- Private Site: You can make your site and its feed completely private if you want.
This is one of those plugins that you might use very rarely, but is still unbelievably valuable.
If you move your WordPress website to a new domain name, you will find that internal links to pages and references to images are not updated. Instead, these links and references will point to your old domain name. This plugin fixes that problem by helping you change old urls and links in your website.
- Users can choose to update links embedded in content, excerpts, or custom fields
- Users can choose whether to update links for attachments
- View how many items were updated
There are quite a few caching plugins out there. W3 Total Cache is recommended by web hosts like: Page.ly, Synthesis, DreamHost, MediaTemple, GoDaddy, HostGator and countless more.
Trusted by countless companies like: AT&T, stevesouders.com, mattcutts.com, mashable.com, smashingmagazine.com, makeuseof.com, yoast.com, kiss925.com, pearsonified.com, lockergnome.com, johnchow.com, ilovetypography.com, webdesignerdepot.com, css-tricks.com and tens of thousands of others.
W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
This is a great plugin. As WordPress becomes a more complex content management system (particularly once you install all of these plugins), the dashboard gets cluttered. Not all of your users need to access to all of the backend features. Adminimize visually compresses the administrative header so that more admin page content can be initially seen. The plugin also moves ‘Dashboard’ onto the main administrative menu because having it sit in the tip-top black bar was ticking me off and many other changes in the edit-area. Adminimize is a WordPress plugin that lets you hide ‘unnecessary’ items from the WordPress administration menu, submenu and even the ‘Dashboard’, with forwarding to the Manage-page.
This is another great simple plugin for anyone using WordPress as a content management system. You can manage page and post comments (and their defaults) separately.
If you’re working on your website and would like to make it known to your visitors, install the plugin YITH Maintenance Mode to quickly set a lovely customizable page to let your visitors know the site is closed for maintenance.