16 Mandatory WordPress Plugins Your Blog Should Have

mandatoryI’ve been known to be a plugaholic. I love WordPress plugins. At one time, I had almost 70 installed.

Even though I have deleted many, I still have over 40 WordPress plugins active.

In one of my recent posts…

Are You A Plugaholic, where I recommend having as few plugins as possible, John Soares from Freelance Writing commented and got me thinking about sharing the plugins I use in my next blog expert series.

I shall create a 3-part series.

This blog post will share with you the plugins that I feel are mandatory for any WordPress set-up. I know we are going to have different definitions of ‘mandatory’ but for me…it means they are “must haves”.

In the second blog post, I shall list the ‘definitely worth having’ ones and then in the last post, the ‘nice to have ones’.

16 Mandatory Plugins

All in One SEO Pack

There are numerous SEO plugins around and I have used this one from day one. I know many of you like the Platinum SEO or Yoast’s new SEO plugin.

It doesn’t really matter which one you use…as long as you have one in place and set-up correctly.


I’ve mentioned this one many times. I use this plugin to backup my ENTIRE blog…not just the databases.

If you want to see my backup functionality comparison post click here:

How Can I Convince You To Do A Daily Blog Backup?

Google Video Sitemap

I’ve added this one under the mandatory list as I do add video type blog posts. If you don’t there is no need for it.

If you do add your own videos (not YouTube ones) then this Google video sitemap plugin is mandatory. It creates a Google video sitemap for you to tell Google you have videos on your blog. That way your videos will be added to the search engines. Without it they are not!

Google XML Sitemaps

It generates a XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google to index your blog posts. (Not video ones – see the above plugin).

Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin

Simple. Easy. Stops 99.9% of spam. Period.


I’ve added this one under mandatory because internal linking your blog posts is great for SEO purposes. And this plugin makes it easy.

Login LockDown

Adds some extra security to your WordPress set-up.

MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer

Only pings the ping sites when you publish a post and not when you edit a post. Without it you could be classed as a ping spammer!

Pro Blog Stats

This is my (along with Joel Williams) plugin. Provides a single location to monitor the performance and statistics for your blog. It’s still in beta mode but we will be announcing something very soon!

Robots Meta

This plugin allows you to add all the appropriate robots Meta tags to your pages and feeds, disable unused archives and nofollow unnecessary links.

Secure WordPress

Helps improve the security of your WordPress installation.

SEO Friendly Images

Automatically adds alt and title attributes to all your images – this helps with SEO.

W3 Total Cache

Speeds up the loading site of your blog. You may wish to review my ‘speeding up your blog’ series:

Speeding Up Your Blog: The Only Guide You Need

Widget Logic

I like this one because it allows me to add certain widgets on certain pages.


I don’t use this plugin for backing-up. I use it to automatically optimize the database files. See the Backup Buddy plugin (above) I use for backups.

WP Smush.it

Reduces the file size of your images and therefore improves the loading speed of your blog.

Which plugins would you add / remove?

Please share your views in the comments below.

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67 Responses to 16 Mandatory WordPress Plugins Your Blog Should Have

  1. Jan Smith March 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    This is an interesting and informative list of plugins. 70 plugins at one stage?! Hokey smokes, how long did the site take to load?

    Perhaps its just my server, but all my blog admin areas seem to load veeeery slowly…I have had support check everything out and they say that everything loads normally at their end. Next option I suppose is my computer…a new one would be nice 🙂

    • Andrew March 22, 2011 at 8:48 am #


      When I had 70+ plugins installed, it didn’t feel it took too long to load but it must have.

      You may have seen my blog expert series on speeding up your blog…after that I now feel it loads much faster.

      Perhaps it is your internet connection rather than your pc.


  2. Amy LeForge March 22, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    Andrew, thanks to your blog speed series I’ve been going through all my old posts and moving the images into the media gallery so I can us SmushIt from now on. I discovered that my blog is SLOW! Terrible!!! I’m actually taking several optimization steps at once with each post and while I’m in there I’m adding the alt tags to the pics. So here’s the question: do I need SEO friendly images if I’m sure I’ve alt tagged all the images? I’ve been deactivating plugins and testing new ones in hopes of finding faster performances, and SEO friendly images was one that I tossed. Do I need it back?

    • Andrew March 22, 2011 at 8:51 am #


      If you manually add alt tags and titles then there is no need for the SEO friendly images plugin.

      I found adding a CDN to my blog via a caching plugin was the best way to improve loading speed. It costs me just $2 a month extra…well worth it.


  3. Fisayo March 22, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Great post Andrew. You didn’t specify a plugin for comment though. Thanks for sharing

    • Andrew March 22, 2011 at 11:29 am #


      I don’t use a specific plugin for commenting.

      What do you use?


      • Glennette March 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

        Great post. It appears you are using the CommentLuv plugin but you said you aren’t using one for comments so I’m confused. 😮

        Glennette Goodbread, Owner
        Premium Web Design and Hosting

        • Andrew March 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm #


          Why do I need one for comments?

          What do you use?



          • Glennette March 22, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

            You don’t really “need” one for comments and it’s certainly not a must have but comment plugins can add functionality

            The one you are using which is the same one I use is CommentLuv. Their webpage is at http://comluv.com/.

            It allows you to show the last post someone made at their blog. Great for relationship building and increasing traffic to a website as people who read your comment can see what you blog about. 😮

            You are also using KeywordLuv which is what allows someone to use their keywords in the name field to help with seo.

            Glennette Goodbread, Owner
            Premium Web Design and Hosting

  4. Lebron March 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    A little surprised that you went with Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin instead of Akismet. I thought Akismet was the standard anti-spam plugin that everyone ran?

    • Andrew March 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm #


      Unfortunately, Akismet lets far too much spam through.


  5. Badal K March 22, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Good resources but Still i want to add other plugins in your current list, and the are

    Digg Digg
    and Register Plus

    By the Today i will Try WP Smush.it

    • Andrew March 22, 2011 at 11:28 am #


      I understand why you mention those plugins but I wouldn’t class them as mandatory…especially the stats one as I have my own…Pro Blog Stats!


  6. Andrew March 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm #


    That’s why I’m here!


  7. Lakhyajyoti March 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Very informative list.I got some new plugins here.Sutely I’ll add them to my blog.

    • Andrew March 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

      Great – I hope they make a difference.


  8. Dennis Edell March 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Better you then me for this post. I do so much research before downloading, followed by massive testing after installing, all plugins for me are ether must have or gone. lol

    • Andrew March 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm #


      I will await your response when I share my plugins in the next 2 categories!

      See if you class any of them ‘must-haves’.


      • Dennis Edell March 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

        If I install them here, they are. lol

  9. Joe March 22, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    very nice list of plugins, but i think seo smart links is also a great plugin, especially for SEO, that you should include here… otherwise, a great post

    • Andrew March 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm #


      Is seo smart links an alternative to Insights?


  10. John Glover March 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    Great post. I’m going to try out a few of these plug-ins that I haven’t or don’t use.
    To be honest I have a blog setup for that purpose.

    Growmap and smush.it i’m going to try right away.

    • Andrew March 23, 2011 at 8:28 am #

      Great, John. I hope they make it all worthwhile.


  11. Andrew March 23, 2011 at 8:27 am #


    I understand where you are coming from now. I thought you meant using a specific comment plugin / function like Disqus.

    I don’t class CommentLuv or KeywordLuv as ‘mandatory’.


  12. Vuong March 23, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Your list is really awesome. However, why you do not link the plugin homepage or download page. So the readers will get more benefits from. It appears that you have forgot some premium and affiliate-relating plugins. BTW, what CDN you are using friend?

    • Andrew March 23, 2011 at 8:30 am #


      I didn’t want to link as I thought the visitor could easily search.

      Re: premium and affiliate-relating plugins. Forgot? Really…like what? Perhaps I don’t use or I don’t class the ones I do use as ‘mandatory’.

      I use RackSpace for my CDN.


  13. Tinh March 23, 2011 at 2:07 am #

    All are great but for those who are using framework like Thesis or Genesis like me, we no need All in one seo pack plugin anymore

    • Andrew March 23, 2011 at 8:31 am #


      Yeah – I understand but isn’t there a big debate whether or not you should use an SEO pack type plugin and turn off the theme seo functions?


  14. Alex March 23, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Hello Andrew,

    Great list I can see that those researches in how to improve your blogs speed have really awaken a new sense of what is strictly necessary for your blog while also maintain the low loading speed.

    Oh, I would also recommend the plugin for trackback spam (I think it was called Simple trackback validation), it’s not 100% proof but it works for most spammy trackbacks.

    • Andrew March 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      Thanks, Alex for the plugin tip. I shall take a look.


  15. Pradeep Bhandari March 23, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Great! list…i am using only 3-4 plugins which you have added in your list now i am going to add few more from your list like Backup Buddy…as i want always looking for this kinda plugin to backup not just the database but my entire blog…thanks a lot 🙂

    • Andrew March 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm #


      Glad the list was of help. Backup Buddy is a must.


  16. Rakesh Kumar March 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    I almost use all these plugins on my blog besides BackupBuddy. Is it take whole backup including post and pages? Suggest me Andrew

    • Andrew March 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm #


      Backup Buddy backs up your entire blog. You may want to see my review as mentioned in the post above.


  17. Michelle Vandepas March 25, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    70 plugins???? wow. even 40 sounds like a load to me. I’ve got 25 or so plugins, and I thought that was too many.. good list. going to check out a couple. Let us know when yours is available.

    • Andrew March 26, 2011 at 6:47 am #


      I shall let you know when ours is ready. We have just uncovered a major bug in the Aweber API which is causing our plugin not to work properly.

      We get very close to launching and then…something happens that stops us.


  18. Johanna March 27, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Hi Andrew,
    Useful list of plugins, I must say! I use most of the plugins you’ve stated here, but I will check out Insights. I’m kinda curious about your plugin, the Pro Blog Stats, looking forward for its release!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Andrew March 29, 2011 at 8:11 am #


      Insights is a great plugin – worth trying.

      We are also looking forward to our plugin release – it has almost been a year in the making!


  19. Kai Druhl March 30, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    why are you using Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin, rather than AKISMET?

    • Andrew April 1, 2011 at 6:33 pm #


      Because Akismet puts too much genuine comments into their spam.


  20. Kai Druhl March 30, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Another quick question: Insights plugin has only been tested up to wordpress 3.05. I am running 3.1. Do you happen to know if it will work for that?
    Thanks for the useful list!

    • Andrew April 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm #


      It does.


  21. Neil March 31, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Hi Andrew

    I would class myself as a plugaholic, I love plugins and use most of the plugins you mentioned but will check out the ones I don’t know.


    • Andrew April 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm #


      Nice to meet another plugaholic!


  22. Vlad April 6, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Great selection of WordPress plugins. With some of them i am extremely familiar but there are a couple of them that are new for me. (WP Smush.it, WP-DBManager and Pro Blog Stats)

    • Andrew April 7, 2011 at 10:24 am #


      Well…Pro Blog Stats is my own and will be launched soon.

      I hope you check out the others – they can help with the loading spped of your blog.


  23. Lee Ka Hoong April 13, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Great list Andrew! I’ve been using almost 50% of the plugin that you listed here, I found them very useful especially W3 Total Cache and All in One SEO Pack. I’m using WP-Optimize as well, it’s a great plugin that used to optimize your database and clean up some useless files stored in your database, that would reduce your blog’s loading speed.

    Lee Ka Hoong

    • Andrew April 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm #


      I’ve put WP-Optimize in my ‘Definitely Worth Adding To Your Blog’ list.


  24. nCoded SEO April 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Clearly plug-ins are so essential, both in terms of functionality AND SEO, so it was good to read a nice list of WordPress plug-ins, some of which are excellent.

  25. Ayush Gupta January 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I would rather use Yoast SEO instead of All in One SEO

    • Andrew January 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm #


      What makes you say that?

      Have you compared the 2 and had different results?



  26. Louise February 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Hi Andrew
    I was hacked the other day, all my sites. My host server sorted it. After that I downloaded the wordpress firewall 2 security plug in. They said to make sure I had everything up to date, WordPress, and plugins. I’m glad I did as I got an email from WordPress Firewall today, well 106 emails actually! To say they had blocked a potential attacker! Should I use any other security plug ins? Apparently the attacker was trying to target Tim Thumb.I’ve got the Secure WordPress plug in too.


    • Andrew February 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm #


      Old versions of “Tim Thumb” are targetted by hackers. Best to upgrade it if you haven’t already.

      I would also install the login lockdown plugin and change the username from ‘admin’ to something that cannot be guessed.

      Might be worth looking at the Website Defender plugin as well.


  27. John Mak March 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Hello Andrew! How are you? That’s a great list of plugins here but I would like to ask you about the total cache plugin. I tried to install it once but made my website very slow! What do you suggest?

    • Andrew March 27, 2012 at 11:18 am #


      I am well and hope you are as well.

      It very much depends upon what settings you used.

      Try unchecking some and see what happens.


  28. Michael March 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Where is nrelate or any other good related post plugin/s? Can you give some suggestion for backup but free plugin?

    • Andrew March 28, 2012 at 4:31 am #


      I don’t class nrelate or any related post plugin as mandatory.

      WP-DBManager is a backup plugin but it only backs up your databases NOT your whole site.

      You need Backup Buddy for that.


      • Michael March 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

        Mandatory? So I will be hones with you but half of your plugins included arent mandatory. Also i asked for free full backup plugin. I really know only one but isn’t working for me. If you or anyone else knows Full Backup Woredpress FREE plugin.

        • Andrew April 1, 2012 at 12:56 am #


          We are all different aren’t we – so what you think and what I think are mandatory will be different.

          Which half do you think are not mandatory?

          I’m not aware of any free plugin that will backup your whole site.


          • Mich April 1, 2012 at 9:37 am #

            Hi Andi. I agree with you mandatory depends from the person but mostly from the type of site or blog. I did little research and found the plugin i was talking about. Its called “WP Complete Backup” and seemed as great one, but for me didn’t want to work, it was stopping in middle of backup. I contacted the author and we couldn’t find what is wrong.
            If anyone have tested this plugin or had similar problem pls reply.

  29. E.D Gasçon April 15, 2013 at 1:51 am #

    Hello Andrew. Great post. I would add “Redirection” to the list.
    This is just a simple plugin that cloaks your affiliate links and tracks clicks on them as well. This is a good thing to do to prevent from a lot of naked affiliate links being out there on your site. It will clean them up and it will look to Google a little bit less suspect. And, at the same time, it’s going to allow you to create a lot of different affiliate links for different posts on your site, different positions on different posts, so that you know always which link is being clicked, which product is being bought and which piece of content and which link of yours is actually doing the selling.(This I learned from another Andrew, Andrew Hansen)

  30. E.D Gasçon April 15, 2013 at 2:41 am #

    I forgot to add… this WordPress plugin is mandatory only if you’re doing affiliate marketing 😉


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