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 turns up over 130 pages of results. At Site Assembly, we’ve used all the best plugins on our Managed Sites. As a result, we’re here to recommend the top WordPress optimization plugins every site needs to stay fast and secure.
Before we begin, always make sure you’re making site changes on a STAGING website. If you’re not familiar with STAGING environments or don’t have a STAGING website set up, I recommend setting one up before continuing. If you are unable to set up a STAGING site, at the very least you should back-up your site in case anything goes wrong.
Let’s dive in!
Best WordPress Image Optimization Plugins
Smush Image Compression and Optimization
Smush Image Compression and Optimization is one of the most popular image compression plugins on the market. With over one million active installations, Smush provides a one-stop-shop for all your image optimization needs. Using this plugin, you can “smush” (a.k.a. compress) previously uploaded photos or enable auto-compression for new media uploads. Even more, the developers behind Smush now offer a supplemental plugin called Hummingbird to optimize images.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
Improve page load times and SEO rankings by compressing images with the ShortPixel Image Optimizer WordPress plugin. This image optimization plugin cuts down on website page load times by optimizing images during the uploading process and offers retroactive optimization options for images that were already added to your site. This plugin is updated frequently and has over 200,000 active installations with a 4.5-star rating.
Best WordPress Page Caching Plugins
WP Fastest Cache
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Although this plugin isn’t specifically an optimization plugin, it’s a must-have for all WordPress sites. That’s because it displays important site metrics like Page Views and Bounce Rates in the WordPress Admin Dashboard making it easy for you to see how well your website is performing. This data can be used to make adjustments to your website including security and optimization enhancements. You will need to have an active Google Analytics account to use this plugin.
Best WordPress Security Plugins
WP Hide & Security Enhancer
WordPress is now used by more than 30% of all sites on the web. Because of this, WordPress sites are commonly targeted in hacks. 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.
One of the best things you can do to optimize your WordPress website is to make sure it’s always safe and secure. One of the best WordPress plugins to address site security effectively is offered by renowned online security organization, Sucuri. Key features of the Sucuri Security plugin include Security Activity Auditing, File Integrity Monitoring, Remote Malware Scanning, Blacklist Monitoring, and more. With the Premium version, you can set up a website firewall and get quicker site restoration if the time comes.
Best WordPress Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Plugins
Yoast SEO isn’t your average optimization plugin. Actually, Yoast SEO is a full search engine optimization toolkit you can use to track and manage your website’s readability, searchability, and social appearance. Yoast offers tips and tricks to optimize your web page content, provides site admins with downloadable reports, and includes an organic user interface that any WordPress user can start using with almost no learning curve.
Best All-Around WordPress Optimization Plugins
Jetpack comes recommended by WordPress. That’s because the organization behind WordPress, Automattic, is the developer behind this robust WordPress optimization plugin. Using Jetpack you can find important stats 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!
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