Top 4 WordPress tools for a more functional, secure and speedier website.

By Jerod Greenisen | October 2017


Have you ever taken a look at your plugins tab in your WordPress admin, and thought to yourself, "what a mess?!" Well, you're not alone. Many, many, websites that have not gone through a significant redesign in the past couple of years end up with a bunch of plugins that are no longer useful and/or are a security risk.

The news lately has been buzzing with stories about sites that have been hacked. To help, we recently wrote a post about how you can vet a plugin to ensure it's secure. Now we want to take time to point you to WordPress plugins we know to be secure. 

If you're not already on WordPress and are wondering what all the talk is about, read the pros and cons of WordPress, the most popular CMS.

Top WordPress plugins for security

Now, it's time for the best WordPress plugins that we love to point businesses to in order to get their digital presence functioning at peak performance and at a 99% security record.

WordPress security and functionality are the most important factors when it comes to weighing a plugin, but we also made sure to account for popularity, only including those with more than a million installations.

Learn why the number of installations matters when assessing plugins here.

If you're a WordPress expert, this post might seem like an obvious one, sorry. However, if you're looking to really make a difference and you're just getting started—here we go!

1. WordFence: No hackers allowed—sincerely, the Entire WP Community.

WordFence is an all-in-one package that uses crowd-sourced data to protect our sites 24/7. Top features include malware scanning, weak password monitoring, administrator login tracking and malicious IP address blocking.

Are you worried about your website getting hacked?

Start with WordFence Plugin for WordPress, it really makes a difference and it's widely trusted among the top websites and professionals.

2. Advanced Custom Fields: Unlock the true potential of WordPress data organization.

Advanced Custom Fields is our go-to system for accommodating structured data in WordPress.

We've utilized Advanced Custom Fields to organize a wide variety of information on our sites including job postings, testimonials, employee contact details and business locations.

Get a more in-depth review on on GeekWire.

3. Akismet: Order in the court! Order! Senators, no frisbees!

Anyone who runs a site with comments enabled will tell you that moderating comments can be time consuming. Akismet lightens the comment moderation load by automatically detecting and managing spam. 

Honestly, if you want comments you should be ready for spam. There's no way around it. Build the inbox, the junk mail will come!

Don't disable comments completely

Enabling comments on your website is a great way to cultivate an active site that users really value. They feel like their voice is heard, they find new solution and you get to mine that opportunity for new content and suggestions.

Here is a post about the best ways to build community through the use of your website.

4. Gravity Forms: the right answers come from the right questions. 🤔

Gravity Forms allows anyone on your team the ability to create seriously advanced forms that perform well and look great.

There's a catch here: you do need some web-design knowledge and a little bit of training on how Gravity Forms works. But it's super powerful, highly recommended and totally worth the time to learn something new.

Luckily Gravity forms is pretty popular and there are plenty of tutorials available on how to win with Gravity Forms.

Pro tip: Gravity forms + Google ANalytics

Gravity forms makes tracking with Google Analytics a breeze. 

Those are our top-4 plugins for WordPress. Plugin preference can quickly turn into an all-out brawl. Actually many experts like to play on the competitive nature of the plugin craze.

Check one of our favorite WordPress blogs, Torque Mag's March Madness style plugin tournament results.

You wanted more WordPress plugins, didn't you?

5. Honorable mention: Those that needed to be included, less an ArcStonian receive a black eye.

Honorable mentions include WP Rocket and WP-Mail-SMTP.

As the name suggests, WP Rocket is about some serious speed! Page speed is so important. Google recently revealed that page speed matters and slow websites will be penalized in search rankings. This is huge!

Think about the last time you abandoned something on your phone because it loaded too slowly. Don't be that website—use WP-Rocket.

The makers of WP Rocket also offer Imagify for image compression, which can greatly improve site speed.

WP-Mail-STMP is a godsend.

The goal of WP Mail SMTP plugin is to help fix the common “WordPress not sending an email issue”.

Oftentimes, an email sent out by your WordPress site either lands in the spam folder or gets completely rejected by popular email providers.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is the industry standard for sending emails. WP Mail SMTP helps you use proper authentication which increases email deliverability.

There you have it!

From the whole ArcStone team, these are best WordPress plugins to get you started with a high-performance website that maintains security.

WordPress security and functionality were the rubrics we engaged these plugins with, but if you have better criteria for grading plugins be sure to let us know!

Seriously, we will rock our best debate skills on Twitter @arcstone.

Topics: WordPress, Web Development, Technology, Digital, App & Software Reviews

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