The Top 10 of Your Top 5 Plugins

October 4th, 2010
Best of WordPress, WordPress, WordPress Plugins

A few days ago, Mark asked to hear about your “top 5 plugins that you WordPress geniuses use in every one of your WordPress installs.” With almost fifty responses, it’s great to see that so many people consider the same or similar plugins as their top five. Without further delay, here are the top ten of your top five plugins.

  1. Akismet: This plugin should be the front line of your blog’s anti-spam defenses. According to its directory listing, it’s been downloaded individually over 4,060,000 times, but it’s also bundled with WordPress. Just to give you an idea, the current version of WordPress has been downloaded over 15,800,000 times. Considering those numbers, it’s no wonder that this is the most popular WordPress plugin and the top of almost every commentator’s top five list. [directory listing]
  2. Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin was the first XML sitemap generator for WordPress. Though the concept of a dynamically generated XML sitemap took a while to catch on, the popularly of this plugin should be a clear sign of the protocol’s success. [directory listing]
  3. All In One SEO: As its name proclaims, this plugin takes almost everything you’d need for search engine optimization and wraps it into a nice package. If you’re concerned about SEO, this is as close to set-it-and-forget-it as these SEO plugins come. [directory listing]
  4. WP Super Cache: This plugin reduces server load and improves load time by serving html copies of every page without the need to run PHP or access the database. It’s the oldest surviving cache plugin for WordPress. By that I mean that it’s been around since 2007 and it’s still under active development. [directory listing]
  5. WP-DBManager: This all-in-one plugin allows you to backup, optimize, and repair your database, empty/drop tables, and run SQL queries. Perhaps one of the most interesting bits of trivia on this plugin is that it hasn’t been updated since June of 2009, it still works perfectly, and there’s no other plugin like it. [directory listing]
  6. Google Analytics for WordPress: This is so much more than your typical “enter your Analytics code here” plugin. It includes the ability to track outbound and download links, ignore visitors with specified user levels, track meta data via custom variables, and much more. [directory listing]
  7. Contact Form 7: This is one of the first WordPress contact form plugins, it allows you to manage multiple fully customizable contact forms with spam protection, and it continues to be updated at a very steady rate. [directory listing]
  8. W3 Total Cache: This is one of the newest caching plugins. Thanks to its promises of an easy setup and compatibility with most hosting environments, its user base is growing rapidly. [directory listing]
  9. Subscribe2: This is the oldest email subscription plugin for WordPress. The plugin was first released in 2005, and although it may have changed hands a few times, it’s still under active development. [directory listing]
  10. Stats: This is the official plugin for the one and only hosted stats solution from Automattic. The adoption rate has been a bit slower than expected due to some interface and usability problems, but with a new user interface on the horizon, things are bound to improve. [directory listing]

I’m sure that most of you weren’t surprised by your top ten, but I bet that some of you were, and at least a few of you discovered a great plugin that you may be installing today. If you find yourself relying regularly on a free plugin, find the developer’s donation page and at least buy them a drink.

I’ll have to join with the popular vote here and say that Akismet is definitely my favorite plugin. You have no idea how much of a comment spam nightmare this blog would be without Akismet.

What’s your favorite plugin, and why can’t your blog live without it?




  1. quicoto (39 comments.) says:

    How can be WP-Cache still in use?

    I mean.. W3 Total Cache is a kick-ass plugin :)


    • Donncha says:

      I think you’ll find there’s plenty of life in wp super cache. It’s nothing like the old wp-cache plugin!

      • Oliver says:

        I, for one, am a person who gave up on W3 Total Cache and returned to WP-Supercache.

        Many less SQL error entries in my server’s error log (close to none VS close to a thousand per day, that’s as many potential lost visitors), no useless complication with details (even with 50k daily visitors I’m not close to needing a CDN)… that was enough to convince me to return to the good old plugin :)

  2. Phillip Sutcliff (1 comments.) says:

    Not surprising that most of these plugins are recommened. I use 2, 3, 6, and 7 and they work great. Might see how the others would work on my site.

  3. Ozh (88 comments.) says:

    Humm…. I predict a look of disapproval upon Subscribe2 any time. I think that developing guidelines-compliant plugins in the repo but linking to a “premium” version for an update has been ruled out a couple of times before…

    • Oliver says:

      I forgot to recommend OZH’s Better Feed in the higly recommended plugins, BTW, seeing your name reminds me of this :)

  4. Lester Chan (32 comments.) says:

    Thanks for listing my WP-DBManager =D I am using it personally on my own site so I can be sure despite being last updated back in June 2009, it will still work.

    If in the future it is broken because of WP, I will fix it =)

    • Oliver says:

      Perhaps you may appreciate a live bug report ?
      Simple sql commands like UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE ( fail to work with your plugin, forcing to use phpmyadmin…

      • Lester Chan (32 comments.) says:

        noted. I think is because of REPLACE query. In the code I did filter for selected queries to be ran only.

  5. Patung (6 comments.) says:

    No. 10 is borked right now.

  6. Rednights (3 comments.) says:

    I recommend RSS Footer.
    Robots Meta is another must for SEO.
    Yet Another Related Posts Plugin for .. related posts ..
    PageNavi ..

  7. Flick (28 comments.) says:

    WP-DBManager FTW! I can vouchsafe that it works as well.

    I’ve been using stats for a while now, but now that I’m working on a site without any extra stats plugins (e.g. Google Analytics etc.) I’ve just realised I can’t seem to find browser data for visitors?

  8. EAvenue Web Development (1 comments.) says:

    We develop a websites for our clients on WordPress all the time. Your top 10 comes very close to mine. I also use a few premium WordPress plugins for building E-commerce sites. I personally user a large collection of plugins. The possibilities for WordPress are endless. I love the challenge of delivering a WordPress based site that looks nothing like WordPress or has a different function then a blog. One of my favorite uses for WordPress is delivering invoices to my clients. They love the ease of use as well!


  9. Oliver says:

    Definitely, Wp-PageNavi, otherwise several visitors wouldn’t understand they’re visiting an awesome site full with thousands of pages, instead of a random blog containing just a dozen of pages.

    • WpHey (21 comments.) says:

      Agreed, I use Wp-PageNavi for every WordPress website, I think it should be built in WordPress.

  10. Nicholas Teo (37 comments.) says:

    I use 6 of the top 10 on my blog and it works well. For cache I use WP super cache instead of W3 because it seems easier to setup for me. For Forms I use easy contact again because it seems easier to setup.

  11. WpHey (21 comments.) says:

    I’ve tried most of them, W3 Total Cache is the one I haven’t heard before, maybe I am used to WP Super Cache for caching system.

    Can anyone tell me which is better? WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache?

    • Oliver says:

      Both of them do their job and do it well.

      There may be occasional local differences due to potential bugs with the server hosting you, in my case, W3 total cache generated several sql errors in my log, but other persons testing didn’t have the problem.
      For super-large websites, W3 Total Cache has a built-in CDN connexion option, I am certain this is a major advantage.

  12. elmalak (1 comments.) says:

    I agree with all of those mentioned above, and I also have some extra ones that I use all the time like, Google Analyticator, Sexy bookmarks, and some others.

    You can read my full list here,

    Hope you agree with my choices.


  13. Yohan Perera (5 comments.) says:

    Good news!!! The developer of “WP-DBManager” has just pushed through an update…

  14. xodigoguy says:

    I agree and have or do use most of these. Just two items I would like to add:

    1) Having used WP Total Cache for a while, I am anything but happy. It certainly has not helped speed nor performance and despite the claims, it is not super easy. After several months, I deactivated it from several blogs since I am not going to pay these people to make it work correctly, which is what they advertise. It is almost a spam plugin as far as I am concerned.

    2)One of the most helpful plugins I found was a little-known item called Widget Logic. Of course not all Themes require it, but to deliver content per page or category or even post really helped me over the years. (And it worked, without its creator asking me to pay them to figure it out :-))

  15. xodigoguy says:

    Woops: correction – Widget Logic doesn’t deliver content, it delivers configurable side-bar content options.

  16. Mr MakingUsmile (2 comments.) says:

    My favorite plugin is counterize 2. This plugin does an outstanding job of giving me the stats that I need to be successful.


  17. abhishek (2 comments.) says:

    A very nice list but I prefer Fast secure contact form over contact form 7 , WordPress SEO by Yoast over all in one SEO and for caching w3 total cache and hyper cache are my favorite


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