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Best WordPress Plugins 2014 – Admin, Backup & Security

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

  1. Akismet
  2. Wordfence Security
  3. VaultPress
  4. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
  5. GZip Ninja Speed Compression
  6. Members
  7. Velvet Blues Update URLs
  8. W3 Total Cache
  9. Adminimize
  10. Page Comments Off Please
  11. Yith Maintenance Mode

Akismet

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.

Download Akismet

Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security plugin

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.

Download Wordfence Security

 

VaultPress

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.

Download VaultPress

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

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.

Download Google Analytics Dashboard

GZip Ninja Speed Compression

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.

Download GZIP Ninja Speed Compression

Members

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.

Plugin 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.

Download Members

Velvet Blues Update URLs

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.

Features:

  • 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download Velvet Blues Update URLs

W3 Total Cache

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.

Download W3 Total Cache

Adminimize

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.

Download Adminimize

Page Comments Off Please

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.

Download Page Comments Off Please

Yith Maintenance Mode

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.

Download Yith Maintenance Mode

How to Improve the WordPress Admin User Interface

Initially WordPress was just for blogs. But now WordPress commands roughly half of the website content management market, taking over market share from Joomla and Drupal and other content management systems. This is mainly because WordPress is so easy to use and administer. The one drawback – and a significant reason why many still use Joomla – is the admin user interface. The admin area is the heart of any WordPress-powered site – it’s where everything is controlled – posts, pages, media, comments, etc. – A site with more than 10 pages and galleries can be difficult to manage in WordPress. Difficult, that is, without adding some of the following plugins. Plugins allow you to customize only what you need.

For example, suppose you have someone on your staff composing blogs for you. The out-of-the-box WordPress admin interface does not have a robust feature for editorial control and review.

Today, we will introduce you to a number of fantastic plugins that will enhance your WordPress website in some way. These admin plugins are all free to download from the official WordPress plugin directory and will help protect your website, give you more control over users or automate the editorial process. As always, we recommend that you consult with your website administrator prior to installing any new plugins since they can occasionally conflict with each other and break your website.

Post Scheduling & Management

1. Editorial Calendar

This is the perfect plugin for managing the scheduling of your posts. Editorial Calendar adds a calendar page to the post section of your admin area. Each day shows the posts that are scheduled for that day. Multiple posts are listed in chronological order.

Watch the Video to learn more

Editorial Calendar: Download

2. Peter’s Collaboration Emails

This is a great plugin for managing the editorial flow of blog posts. When a contributor submits a post for review, the plugin emails the specified users to let them know there is a post to review. Once the post is approved, the contributor gets an email letting them know it has been accepted. If the post is changed back to “Draft,” the contributor is advised that it has not been accepted and is sent a link to edit the article.

Peter’s Collaboration Emails: Download

3. Peter’s Post Notes

On its own, this plugin adds a panel to the sidebar of the add and edit post / page screens so that users can add notes for themselves or others and keep track of these notes. Whenever you save a post, you can type a note to be displayed along with the post in the edit view. When used with Peter’s Collaboration E-mails 1.2 and up, the notes are sent along with the e-mails in the collaboration workflow. There is also a general and private notes system on the dashboard.

On the dashboard, there’s also a summary of the most recent notes. By default this shows notes by all people on relevant posts / pages. There is also a general and private notes system.

peter's_post_notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter’s Post Notes: Download

4. Content Audit

Content Audit lets you and your staff easily review old content and determine if it’s still relevant. The plugin works with posts, pages and media. You can automatically set content as outdated after a set period of time and notify post authors about it. Content can be marked as redundant, outdated or trivial. You can also mark content as needing a review of SEO or style.

content-audit

 

 

 

 

 

 

Content Audit: Download

5. Edit Flow

Edit Flow empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress. It’s feature rich and comes with a calendar, custom statuses, editorial comments, notifications, story budget, and user groups.

edit-flow

 

 

 

 

Edit Flow: Download

General Admin

6. Adminimize

This is a great plugin that let’s you hide parts of the admin dashboard that you deem “unnecessary”.  You can change back-end options; global options; dashboard options; write options for posts, pages and custom page types; link options; and menu options.

Adminimize: Download

Security

7. WordFence Security

This is an incredibly valuable plugin that is completely free. WordFence 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.

wordfence-security

WordFence Security: Download

Summary

The great thing about WordPress is that the default installation doesn’t overwhelm you with options. This allows users to choose the plugins that best meet our particular needs and disregard those that don’t.

You might find that some of these plugins can be disabled after you use them. I recommend reviewing your situation every month or so and remove any plugins that aren’t being used regularly. Also it’s a best practice to remove any plugins that have not been updated (by the plugin developer) in at least a year. Old plugins increase the chance that someone can hack into your site. Update plugins regularly and delete plugins that you don’t use.