There are over 55,000 plugins in the WordPress directory. That’s enough to make anyone a little nauseous. A quick search for optimization plugins in WordPress’s official plugin marketplace results in over 130 pages of plugins. Thankfully, we’ve used all the best plugins on our Managed Sites, and as a result, we can recommend what we consider to be the top seven optimization plugins every WordPress site needs to kill it in 2019.

First thing’s first: Always make sure you’re tinkering with your plugins on a STAGING environment. If you’re not familiar with STAGING environments or don’t have a STAGING website set up, I recommend setting up one before installing, activating, or configuring any plugins. If you are unable to set up a STAGING site, at the very least make sure to do a backup.

Smush

Smush Image Compression and Optimization is one of the most popular image compression plugins on the market. With over one million active installs, Smush provides a one-stop shop for all your image optimization needs. You can “smush” previously uploaded photos and enable auto-compression for new uploads. The developers behind Smush now offer a supplemental plugin called Hummingbird that’s worth a peek.

WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache may be the most comprehensive caching plugin in the WordPress directory. Using this robust and easy-to-use plugin, you can enable page compression, minify site files, and defer JavaScript out-of-the-box. With the premium version, you can clear your database cache, clear your CSS file cache, and even access CDN servers for content-heavy sites.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Although this plugin isn’t specifically an optimization plugin, Google Analytics Dashboard for WP displays important site metrics like Page Views and Bounce Rates in the WordPress Admin Dashboard. This data can be used to make changes to the website including security and optimization enhancements. You will need to have an active Google Analytics account to use this plugin.

WP Hide & Security Enhancer

WordPress is used by more than 20% of all sites on the web. Yes, you read that right. Because of this, WordPress sites are commonly targeted in malicious attacks. Thankfully, plugins like this one offer a security level not provided by most web hosts or developers. WP Hide & Security Enhancer “hides” WordPress-identifiable code in your frontend source files and redirects your login pages so WordPress hackers and bots are thrown off.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO isn’t your average optimization plugin. With Yoast SEO you can track your web page’s readability and search engine scores. The plugin offers tips and tricks to optimize your web pages, provides downloadable reports, and includes an integrated user experience that any WordPress user will feel comfortable using.

Jetpack

Jetpack comes recommended by WordPress itself. That’s because the organization behind WordPress, Automattic, is the developer behind this robust WordPress optimization plugin. Using Jetpack you can find important starts including page views, track related posts, view search engine scores, set up social sharing, back up your site files, and secure your site. Whew… that was a lot!

Sucuri Security

One of the best things you can do to optimize your WordPress site is making sure it’s always safe and secure. There is perhaps no better WordPress plugin that exists, which addresses site security as efficiently as Sucuri Security by Sucuri Inc. Key features include Security Activity Auditing, File Integrity Monitoring, Remote Malware Scanning, Blacklist Monitoring, and more. With the Premium version, you can even set up a website firewall.