Five Free WordPress Plugins To Power Your Website

Feb 2, 2023 | Website Security, WordPress

Five WordPress Plugins to Power your Site - From Barred Owl Web

There are thousands of free WordPress plugins, so how do you choose which ones to use? Not every plugin is created equal. And like all software, they sometimes come with bugs – and even sometimes unintentionally introduce security vulnerabilities. Additionally, each WordPress plugin you use will affect your website’s performance, so it is best to limit the number of plugins you keep around. I always advise our clients to only keep the plugins that are actually in use – and get rid of the rest!

 

 

That said, here are five plugins I would generally recommend for any WordPress website.

 

1. WordFence Security

Wordfence is one of the more popular cybersecurity plugins for WordPress. Configured properly, it will help to protect your site from brute-force login attempts, malicious code exploits, and other kinds of hacking attempts. One of the things I like best about this plugin is that the firewall component will automatically block IP addresses after a threshold (that you can customize) of failed login attempts.

Although there is a premium version of the plugin, the free version works just fine and is sufficient for what’s needed for the vast majority of WordPress websites.

 

2. Yoast SEO

Yoast will help with your … you guessed it! Website SEO. This plugin will automatically analyze your posts to help you get the most out of your blog entries. It also generates – and submits – an XML sitemap to the major online search engines. Barred Owl Web’s sitemap, for example, is located at https://barredowlweb.com/sitemap_index.xml.

Whenever I write a new blog post, the two features I find most valuable are (first) its analysis of your post Title, and (secondly) the ability it gives you to focus on – and improve upon – a key word or phrase. Without it, the title to this blog post on 5 WordPress plugins would have been a lot more boring!

 

3. WP Super Cache

The speed of your website should always be a priority. We’ve covered aspects of improving a website’s overall speed in multiple blog posts (see Tuning your WordPress Website, and Website Performance Tuning). A key component to all of this is caching your website – and WP Super Cache does a super job at this. This plugin will take your website and literally turn your pages into static html content. This saves loads of time, because now you’re avoiding MySQL database queries, and no PHP code has to get executed.

The only downside to this is that the cache sometimes needs a lot of disk space, depending on how big your website is. Also, be aware that this type of caching isn’t great for everyone – especially if you have pages with lots of dynamic content on them (such as WooCommerce produt pages that display current inventroy).

 

4. Smush

Did I mentioned that your website needs to be fast? Smush helps that speed by optimizing your images. The plugin helps you resize your images down to exactly how big they should be. It will also compress your existing image files without sacrificing image quality. Smaller image files are definitely better than larger ones, because the small ones download to your visitors’ computers faster!

 

5. Google Analytics for WordPress

This last item is, admittedly, not for everyone. But Google Analytics is a (free) tool used by millions of websites, and MonsterInsights’ Google Analytics for WordPress is one of the many WordPress plugins available that makes it seamless to setup in WordPress. If you want to better understand how people find – and use – your website, and how long they stay on your website, you should definitely check this out.

 

If you need help with any of these plugins (or any other WordPress plugin, for that matter), then contact us to discuss how Barred Owl Web can help!

Why Choose Barred Owl Web?

We have worked with David at Barred Owl for several years. The experience has been great. He is very knowledgeable and serves us well with prompt help and utmost professionalism. The price we pay is very competitive and a great value for the products we receive. I would recommend without reservation that you explore Barred Owl as a solution for your server and managed web-hosting needs.
Mark Morgenstern, Senior Director, Grow2Serve

Barred Owl has hosted our websites for many years with consistently great uptime. David & his team have always been responsive when the sites experience high traffic issues. They have been creative in thinking about ways to improve server performance and proactive about security updates. They have always been a great value, and we will continue to use them for all our hosting needs.
Evan Donovan, City Vision University

Top-notch service from start to finish! Friendly, responsive, and completed my website migration and hosting project with little to no input on my part - which was exactly what I was looking for. I imagined a months-long headache of problems and they nailed it in just one business day. Very reasonable priced as well so my small budget could afford them. My professional advice: Do Not Hesitate to hire Barred Owl Web!
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