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20 Most Popular WordPress Plugins

With WordPress that establishes new bounds as the ultimate CMS platform, lots of developers contribute to the open source platform with great plugins that once installed will enhance your blog experience. Not all the plugins are essential for running a blog, but some of them will make your blogging life easier.

Be careful when you install WordPress plugins because most of them load external scripts and will make your webpage running slow. If you don’t use a plugin for quite a while is recomanded to uninstall it for setting free some memory and speed up the page loading. I made a selection of 20 best wordpress plugins that I used over time. Feel free to test them and also share your most used plugin.

The statistics: 14,625 plugins — 183,776,973 downloads, and counting.

Top WordPress Plugins

1. All in One SEO Pack

Automatically optimizes your WordPress blog for Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization).

Version: 1.6.13.2
Requires WordPress Version: 2.8 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.0.5

2. W3 Total Cache

The most complete WordPress performance framework. Improve site performance and user experience via caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support. Recommended by web hosts like: MediaTemple, Host Gator, Page.ly and WP Engine and countless more.

Version: 0.9.2.2
Requires WordPress Version: 2.8 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.2

3. 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.

Version: 2.5.3
Requires WordPress Version: 3.0 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

4. Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently.

Version: 3.2.4
Requires WordPress Version: 2.1 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

5. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.

Version: 2.4.5
Requires WordPress Version: 2.9 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

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6. GTranslate

This module uses Google Translate automatic translation service to translate your web page with Google power. With 58 available languages your site will be available to more than 98% of internet users.

Version: 1.0.23
Requires WordPress Version: 2.3 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

7. WP-PageNavi

Adds a more advanced paging navigation to your WordPress site.

Version: 2.74
Requires WordPress Version: 2.8 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3
PHP5 is required since version 2.70

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8. SexyBookmarks | email, bookmark, and share buttons

Adds an attractive social bookmarking menu to your posts, pages, index, or any combination of the three.

Version: 4.0.1
Requires WordPress Version: 2.7 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

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9. Fast Secure Contact Form

This plugin allows a webmaster to easily create and add contact forms to WordPress. The contact form will let the user send emails to a site’s admin. An administration panel is present, where the webmaster can create and preview unlimited forms.

Version: 3.0
Requires WordPress Version: 2.8 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

10. WPtouch

WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects, when viewed from iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Palm Pre, Samsung touch and BlackBerry Storm/Torch mobile devices.

Version: 1.9.26
Requires WordPress Version: 2.9 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

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11. NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery is a full integrated Image Gallery plugin for WordPress with dozens of options and features.

Version: 1.7.4
Requires WordPress Version: 3.0 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

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12. WP-Polls

Adds an AJAX poll system to your WordPress blog. You can also easily add a poll into your WordPress’s blog post/page.

Version: 2.61
Requires WordPress Version: 2.8 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.0.5

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13. WordPress.com Stats

Installing this stats plugin is much like installing Akismet, all you need is to put in your API Key and the rest is automatic. Once it’s running it’ll begin collecting information about your pageviews, which posts and pages are the most popular, where your traffic is coming from, and what people click on when they leave.

Version: 1.8.1
Requires WordPress Version: 2.8 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

14. WordPress Download Monitor

Plugin with interface for uploading and managing download files, inserting download links in posts, and monitoring download hits.

Version: 3.3.5.2
Requires WordPress Version: 2.8 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.0.5

15. SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam

Adds CAPTCHA anti-spam methods to WordPress on the forms for comments, registration, lost password, login, or all. For WP, WPMU, and BuddyPress.

Version: 2.7.1
Requires WordPress Version: 2.9 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

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16. Smart YouTube

Smart Youtube plugin allows you to insert full featured YouTube videos into your post, comments and in RSS feed.

Version: 3.8.7
Requires WordPress Version: 2.0 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

17. Google Analytics for WordPress

Track your WordPress site easily and with lots of metadata: views per author & category, automatic tracking of outbound clicks and pageviews.

Version: 4.1
Requires WordPress Version: 2.8 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

18. WP e-Commerce

The WP e-Commerce shopping cart plugin for WordPress is an elegant easy to use fully featured shopping cart application suitable for selling your products, services, and or fees online.

Version: 3.8.4
Requires WordPress Version: 3.0 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

19. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) gives you a list of posts and/or pages related to the current entry, introducing the reader to other relevant content on your site

Version: 3.2.2
Requires WordPress Version: 3.0 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.1.3

20. Maintenance Mode

Adds a splash page to your blog that lets visitors know your blog is down for maintenance. Logged in administrators get full access to the blog including the front-end.

Version: 5.4
Requires WordPress Version: 2.7 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.0.5

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Author: Alin

Passionate about web and graphic design, photography and climbing. Follow me at Twitter , Facebook and Google+