Plugins are ways to extend and add to the functionality that already exists in WordPress. The core of WordPress is designed to be lean and lightweight, to maximize flexibility and minimize code bloat.Pluginsthen offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor their site to their specific needs.
Choosing the best plugin for your WordPress site will help make your day-to-day life easier and deliver a better experience for your users as well.
Having that said, let’s take a look at the top Free WordPress plugins for 2016.
What is MailChimp?
MailChimp is a newsletter service that allows you to send out email campaigns to a list of email subscribers. MailChimp is free for lists up to 2000 subscribers, which is why it is the newsletter-service of choice for thousands of businesses.
This plugin acts as a bridge between your WordPress site and your MailChimp account, connecting the two together.
MailChimp for WordPress helps you add more subscribers to your MailChimp lists using various methods. You can create good looking opt-in forms or integrate with any other form on your site, like your comment, contact or checkout form.
Some of the MailChimp for WordPress features
- Connect with your MailChimp account in seconds.
- Sign-up forms which are good looking, user-friendly and mobile optimized. You have complete control over the form fields and can send anything you like to MailChimp.
- Seamless integration with the following plugins:
- Default WordPress Comment Form
- Default WordPress Registration Form
- Contact Form 7
- Ninja Forms
- Easy Digital Downloads
- Events Manager
- A multitude of available add-on plugins:
- MailChimp for WordPress Premium
- MailChimp Top Bar
- MailChimp Activity
- MailChimp User Sync
- Boxzilla Pop-ups
- Third Party:
2. Yoast SEO
WordPress is already an excellent platform for SEO, but it does not mean you cannot improve it further! Yoast SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. Yoast SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.
Some Features of Yoast SEO
- Write better content with Yoast SEO
- Page Analysis
- Technical WordPress Search Engine Optimization
- Meta & Link Elements
- XML Sitemaps
- RSS Optimization
- Edit your .htaccess and robots.txt file
- Social Integration
- Multi-Site Compatible
- Import & Export functionality
- Import functionality for other WordPress SEO plugins
- Yoast SEO Plugin in your Language!
3. iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security)
iThemes Security is the #1 WordPress Security Plugin
iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) gives you over 30+ ways to secure and protect your WordPress site. On average, 30,000 new websites are hacked each day. WordPress sites can be an easy target for attacks because of plugin vulnerabilities, weak passwords and obsolete software.
Most WordPress admins don’t know they’re vulnerable, but iThemes Security works to lock down WordPress, fix common holes, stop automated attacks and strengthen user credentials. With advanced features for experienced users, our WordPress security plugin can help harden WordPress.
Important Features of iThemes Security
iThemes Security works to protect your site by blocking bad users and increasing the security of passwords and other vital information.
- Prevents brute force attacks by banning hosts and users with too many invalid login attempts
- Scans your site to instantly report where vulnerabilities exist and fixes them in seconds
- Bans troublesome user agents, bots and other hosts
- Strengthens server security
- Enforces strong passwords for all accounts of a configurable minimum role
- Forces SSL for admin pages (on supporting servers)
- Forces SSL for any page or post (on supporting servers)
- Turns off file editing from within WordPress admin area
- Detects and blocks numerous attacks to your filesystem and database
iThemes Security monitors your site and reports changes to the filesystem and database that might indicate a compromise. iThemes Security also works to detect bots and other attempts to search vulnerabilities.
- Detects bots and other attempts to search for vulnerabilities.
- Monitors filesystem for unauthorized changes.
- Run a scan for malware and blacklists on the homepage of your site.
- Receive email notifications when someone gets locked out after too many failed login attempts or when a file on your site has been changed.
iThemes Security hides common WordPress security vulnerabilities, preventing attackers from learning too much about your site and away from sensitive areas like your site’s login, admin, etc.
- Changes the URLs for WordPress dashboard areas including login, admin and more
- Completely turns off the ability to login for a given time period (away mode)
- Removes theme, plugin, and core update notifications from users who do not have permission to update them
- Removes Windows Live Write header information
- Removes RSD header information
- Renames “admin” account
- Changes the ID on the user with ID 1
- Changes the WordPress database table prefix
- Changes wp-content path
- Removes login error messages
iThemes Security makes regular backups of your WordPress database, allowing you to get back online quickly in the event of an attack. Use iThemes Security to create and email database backups on a customizable schedule.
Other WordPress Security Benefits
- Makes it easier for users not accustomed to WordPress to remember login and admin URLs by customizing default admin URLs
- Detects hidden 404 errors on your site that can affect your SEO such as bad links and missing images
4. Google Analyticator
Google Analyticator makes it super easy to view Google Analytics within your WordPress dashboard. This eliminates the need to edit your template code to begin logging. Google Analyticator also includes several widgets for displaying Analytics data in the admin and on your blog.
One of the most popular WordPress plugins for Google Analytics! Over 3.5+ million downloads.
Features of Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
- Supports Universal (analytics.js) and traditional analytics (ga.js)
- Includes an admin dashboard widget that displays a graph of the last 30 days of visitors, a summary of site usage, the top pages, the top referrers, and the top searches
- Includes a widget that can be used to display visitor stat information on the front-end
- Supports outbound link tracking of all links on the page, including links not managed by WordPress
- Supports download link tracking
- Shortcodes to show off your Google Analytics stats publicly
- Supports event tracking with outbound links / downloads instead of the old pageview tracking method
- Support site speed tracking
- Allows hiding of Administrator visits without affecting Google Analytics’ site overlay feature
- Supports any advanced tracking code Google provides
- Installs easily – unlike other plugins, the user doesn’t even have to know their Analytics UID
- Provides complete control over options; disable any feature if needed
- Supports localization – get the settings page in your language of choice
- Ability to hide Google UID dropdown
- Translations – Polish, Turkish, Dutch and Spanish
5. W3 Total Cache
The only WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) framework; designed to improve user experience and page speed. 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.
Recommended by web hosts like: Page.ly, Synthesis, DreamHost, MediaTemple, Go Daddy, Host Gator and countless more.
Features of W3 Total Cache WordPRess Plugin
- Compatible with shared hosting, virtual private / dedicated servers and dedicated servers / clusters
- Transparent content delivery network (CDN) management with Media Library, theme files and WordPress itself
- Mobile support: respective caching of pages by referrer or groups of user agents including theme switching for groups of referrers or user agents
- Caching of (minified and compressed) pages and posts in memory or on disk or on CDN (mirror only)
- Caching of feeds (site, categories, tags, comments, search results) in memory or on disk or on CDN (mirror only)
- Caching of search results pages (i.e. URIs with query string variables) in memory or on disk
- Caching of database objects in memory or on disk
- Caching of objects in memory or on disk
- Minification of posts and pages and feeds
- Minification of inline, embedded or 3rd party CSS (with automated updates)
- Browser caching using cache-control, future expire headers and entity tags (ETag) with “cache-busting”
- Import post attachments directly into the Media Library (and CDN)
- WP-CLI support for cache purging, query string updating and more
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.
Features of Akismet WordPress Plugin
- Automatically checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam.
- Each comment has a status history, so you can easily see which comments were caught or cleared by Akismet and which were spammed or unspammed by a moderator.
- URLs are shown in the comment body to reveal hidden or misleading links.
- Moderators can see the number of approved comments for each user.
- A discard feature that outright blocks the worst spam, saving you disk space and speeding up your site.
7. Contact Form 7
This contact form plugin doesn’t just allow visitors to contact you with basic captcha spam filtering. It does a lot more than that.
It features a clean script to minimize the possibilities for incompatibility, has Akismet spam filtering integrated along with reCAPTCHA and uses Twitter Bootstrap to ensure your forms are responsive across devices.
8. Page Builder by SiteOrigin
Page Builder by SiteOrigin is the most popular page creation plugin for WordPress. It makes it easy to create responsive column based content, using the widgets you know and love. Your content will accurately adapt to all mobile devices, ensuring your site is mobile-ready.
They’ve created an intuitive interface that looks just like WordPress itself. It’s easy to learn, so you’ll be building beautiful, responsive content in no time.
Page Builder works with standard WordPress widgets, so you’ll always find the widget you need. We’ve created the SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle to give you all the most common widgets, and with a world of plugins out there, you’ll always find the widget you need.
9. Relevanssi – A Better Search
Relevanssi replaces the standard WordPress search with a better search engine, with lots of features and configurable options. You’ll get better results, better presentation of results – your users will thank you.
Features of Relevanssi – A Better Search
- Search results sorted in the order of relevance, not by date.
- Fuzzy matching: match partial words, if complete words don’t match.
- Find documents matching either just one search term (OR query) or require all words to appear (AND query).
- Search for phrases with quotes, for example “search phrase”.
- Create custom excerpts that show where the hit was made, with the search terms highlighted.
- Highlight search terms in the documents when user clicks through search results.
- Search comments, tags, categories and custom fields.
10. Social Share Buttons & Analytics by GetSocial
- Fantastic design
- Easy to install and use (no code needed)
- Doesn’t impact page loading speed
- World-class support for everyone 7 days a week