Top 10 WordPress plugins for a fast, secure blog

Plugins are a great way to expend the functionality offered by the WordPress blogging platform. There’s a broad and active development community creating a wide array of plugins that add a wide range of features to the core WordPress platform.

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But the drawback of having a busy development community creating plugins for WordPress is finding the right plugins for you. And that’s something I’ve been working on over the past few weeks – looking for the very best WordPress plugins for speeding up and securing blogs. Through a lot of trial and error, testing, and experimentation I’ve come up with my top 10 favorite plugins.

Note that there is some crossover in what these plugins offer, and so you may either choose one over another, or customize what features and functionality you want to enable in each.

#1: Really Simple SSL

Really Simple SSL

Really Simple SSL

If you’re running SSL on your site – and you really should be – then this plugin is a must because it will configure your WordPress blog to work with SSL for you with the minimal of effort or configuration (usually it only takes a click).

Note that the developer offers a premium version with more advanced features.

#2: Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security

This plugin combines an endpoint firewall and malware scanner designed to keep your blog safe. It also features in-depth access controls, and offers 2FA login and protection against brute-force attacks.

This plugin will also help you clean up and secure your blog following an attack.

A must-have plugin.

Note that the developer offers a premium version with more advanced features.

#3: WP Mail SMTP

WP Mail SMTP

WP Mail SMTP

This plugin solves a problem with WordPress that may blog owners suffer from – unreliable email. This plugin reconfiguring WordPress to use a proper SMTP provider when sending emails rather than relying on the PHP mail function.

It can be a bit daunting to set up initially, especially if you want to use Gmail, but the documentation is good and once configured it works flawlessly.

Note that the developer offers a premium version with more advanced features.

#4: UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore

UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore

UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore

A complete backup and restore tool for WordPress. Backup your files and database backups into the cloud and restore with a single click. Invaluable in the event of something going wrong, or following a hack or malware attack.

Backup into the cloud directly to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 (or compatible), UpdraftVault, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, DreamObjects, Openstack Swift, and email.

The pro version also backs up to Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Storage, Backblaze B2, SFTP, SCP, and WebDAV.

Note that the developer offers a premium version with more advanced features.

#5: WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache

A flexible, highly-efficient caching engine for WordPress blogs. It basically creates a cached static version of a page when it is first accessed, and then delivers that cached version to subsequent visitors to the page (until the page is changed).

This is a must-have plugin for all, and it is quick and easy to set up.

#6: Autoptimize

Autoptimize

Autoptimize

This plugin is the perfect companion to caching plugins like WP Super Cache (in fact, it works well with a list of different caching plugins – check the developer’s page for more details).

It’s basically a one-stop-shop for optimizing your blog for the best possible performance, and is capable of doing so much – it can aggregate, minify and cache scripts and styles, injects CSS in the page head by default but can also inline critical CSS and defer the aggregated CSS, move and defers scripts to the footer, and minifies the HTML code. It can also optimize (and even convert to WebP) and lazy-load images, optimize Google Fonts, async non-aggregated JavaScript, remove WordPress core emojis, and much more.

Truly a wonderful plugin, and can help speed up even the most sluggish blog.

Note that the developer offers a premium version with more advanced features.

#7: Enable Gzip Compression

Enable Gzip Compression

Enable Gzip Compression

A one-click way to enable/disable Gzip compression on your WordPress blog. Not only can this single plugin speed up your blog, but it can also help improve its ranking with search engines.

Note that the developer offers a premium version with more advanced features.

#8: WP Mail Logging

WP Mail Logging

WP Mail Logging

This plugin does one thing – it logs every email sent by WordPress. This can be useful if you’re worried that you are losing emails, and it can also be great when debugging during development.

#9: WP-Rocket

WP-Rocket

WP-Rocket

This is the only offering in this list that is premium-only. While you can find plugins that do some of that this plugin can do, this is a convenient one-stop-shop for everything from caching, preloading, compression, image optimization, and much more. And it can carry out all the major optimization work automatically.

If you rely on your blog, and you want the best performance, this plugin is worth a look.

#10: JetPack by WordPress.com

JetPack by WordPress.com

JetPack by WordPress.com

Security, performance, and management, all in one plugin. A good option for those who are looking to optimize their WordPress blog, but don’t want to have to put too much time or effort into it.

Note that the developer offers a premium version with more advanced features.

Do you manage a WordPress blog? What plugins do you use?

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