There are so many plugins available nowadays for your WordPress website, that quite frankly the options can be overwhelming. So rather than have you spend your precious time scouring the interwebs and Google, I’ve done it for you. I’ve put together a resource list of some of the best places to find plugins for your WordPress website, so if you’ve been tearing your hair out wondering where to go – sit back, relax, bookmark this post for future reference and enjoy the content below.
*This post contains affiliate links. Which means if you click on a link that I’ve provided, it might be a link to someone who will give me a commission if you buy something from their site. This is at zero cost to you. See my full disclosure policy here.
This is the first stop you would make when searching for a plugin. The WordPress repository has over 42,000 and counting plugins of all types. I guarantee you if you need a plugin for (insert specific need or function here), there’s a plugin for that. If you can’t quite find what you’re looking for, the other resources I mentioned here will definitely help.
Quick Tips on finding a good plugin:
- Look at the rating – if the plugin has a rating of less than 3.5/5, move on.
- Compatibility – is the plugin compatible with the most recent version of WordPress? If not, it can cause issues on your website. When you download the plugin in your WordPress dashboard, you’ll get a notification whether the plugin is compatible or not.
- Update – when was the last time the plugin was updated? If it’s been more than a year, that’s a red flag.
- Active Installs – This I don’t place as much emphasis on, but if there’s a high number of downloads, lot that’s a good sign. That means the plugin is working and lots of people are using it.
- Just getting started and need some specific recommendations? Check out my recommended plugins for WordPress Beginners
ManageWP.org is a non-profit community dedicated to all things WordPress. News, updates, plugins, WordPress events,etc. I stumbled upon them a while back, and what I love about this site is that it has a more user-friendly search feature for plugins, compared to WordPress.org. Some of the things that make this site stand out:
-As you can see in the screenshot above, you can do a search by certain functions and there are tags pre-sorted to help you in your search endeavors. For example – if you need a plugin that puts an image gallery on your website, or one that connects to your Facebook page, simply click on the Facebook or gallery tab to see the options that are available to you.
- They have a scoring system for plugins which is based on user ratings, downloads, growth and quality. Pretty cool!
- They are up to date on the latest plugins that are released
- You have the ability to compare plugins and also see related plugins
- If the WordPress.org repository seems overwhelming or frustrating to you, I would definitely recommend checking out ManageWP.org to help make your search a lot easier.
iThemes is one of the better known places for tips on WordPress and more importantly, security for your website. Unfortunately, WordPress hackers do exist and I have personally had my site hacked before. Not a fun experience and not one I would want anyone to ever go through because it sucks!
One of my favorite EVER plugins from iThemes is BackupBuddy. I love this plugin for several reasons:
- You can do backups directly from your WordPress dashboard and do manual downloads
- You have several options of remote backups to places such as Google Drive, email Dropbox, Amazon s3 or even BackupBuddy Stash( 1GB free cloud storage offered by iThemes)
- One of my favorite features is something called Magic Migration – where if you need to, you can basically export an entire copy of your WordPress site and move it from one site to another. This would really come in handy if you’re making a web hosting or a domain switch and saves you quite a bit of time in the process.
In addition to BackupBuddy, iThemes offers an entire collection of security and membership plugins.
Code Canyon is like the iTunes app store for WordPress plugins. I guarantee you if you need a plugin for something on your site, Code Canyon will have it for you. The sky is literally the limit here because there are so many options to choose from.
I personally have bought, used and recommended several plugins for myself and for client projects. As always, before investing in a plugin, be sure to do some research on the plugin before you buy. Code Canyon has a similar system to WordPress.org in terms of ranking. This time you’ll want to look at the following before making a purchase:
- Number of sales – If this plugin is selling a lot, that’s a good sign.
- Comments – Comments are interactions between customers and the author/developer of the plugin. If people are leaving feedback and the author is non-responsive, that’s a red flag to me.
- Buyer rating. Four star and five star plugin reviews make me happy.
- Last update – broken and outdated plugins lead to broken sites and the potential for hacking. If the intel on the update reminds you of dust and cobwebs, save yourself the hassle and move along.
- Software version – make sure the plugin is compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
A great example of a plugin that has the green light is the Testimonial showcase plugin (screenshot below and see it in action here.)
A quick note about buying plugins from Code Canyon.
Compared to other premium plugins in the WordPress ecosystem, Code Canyon plugins are relatively inexpensive. The reason why is because of the support factor. When you buy a plugin like BackupBuddy, it comes with a full year of support.When you buy a Code Canyon plugin, you typically will only receive a few months of initial support if there’s a problem. After that, if you want additional support you have to pay again. Just a FYI.
Elegant Themes is the creator of the popular drag and drop Divi theme, but did you know they also make some really cool plugins? Some of my favorite plugins:
- The Divi Builder, which takes the power of the Divi theme and applies it to any WordPress theme. This will make your life so much easier when it comes to formatting your words and pictures just the way you want it on your website pages and posts. A great example of this is my in-law’s Christmas Tree farm website. Their site uses a Genesis theme, but I was able to use the Divi builder on their about page and it turned out beautifully.
- Bloom, which makes it ridiculously easy to setup an email form anywhere on your website. Bloom is compatible with almost any email service provider, and you can see it in action after each of my blog posts and pages.
In order to get access to their plugins, you will need to become an Elegant Themes member. The good thing is that as a member you get access to ALL their themes and all their plugins, starting at $89/year. Or if you want to go pro, you can pay a one-time fee of $249 and get lifetime access to everything. The screenshot below from their website has all the options laid out for you.
WP Explorer is a WordPress resource website. They have great information on WordPress themes, plugins, guides and more. What I like about WP Explorer is that they are very similar to ManageWP.org, because they have their recommended plugins sorted into categories such as Social, SEO, Security, eCommerce and more. That makes it really user-friendly and will save you some time searching the interwebs for the right plugin.
WPmudev has essentially created their own ecosystem of WordPress. They are one of the largest, if not the largest premium WordPress website online. As of this blog post, they boast a robust a crap-ton of WordPress plugins – possibly over 100 different plugins that you can use. That’s a-maaaazing!
To unlock the magic that is WPMUDEV, you will need to become a member ( seeing a trend here? Lol!), starting at $49/month. A higher price than we’re used to seeing, but they are offering the convenience of a one stop shop for your WordPress needs – to the point where you may never have to buy another plugin because you have access to so many of them. Some of the goodies that you get access to:
- WP Smush Pro – excellent for image compression without sacrificing quality
- Membership 2 Pro – membership website plugin
- CoursePress Pro – great for creating, selling and managing online courses
- Plugins for things such as yellow pages, classified ads, affiliate programs, forums and so much more it would take a lot to list everything here…but you get the gist. Definitely worth a look.
P.S. Had to geek out about this for a sec – isn’t their super hero branding cool?
Besides the fact that they have a ton of fantastic & free tutorials about WordPress, WP Beginner has their own share of cool plugins. Unlike some of the other pricing models we’ve been seeing, plugins from WP Beginner are sold individually.
Here’s the lineup of what they’ve got:
- Optin Monster – excellent for email and lead capture
- Soliloquoy – a great mobile responsive WordPress slider. I’ve used this many times over on client sites
- Envira Gallery – one of the better image gallery plugins
- WP Forms – a drag and drop form builder. I have yet to test this out because I’m partial to Gravity Forms, but I have heard great things so far!
If you ever ask what’s the best way to get eCommerce setup on your website, you’ll get a quick response: WooCommerce. We have the guys over at WooThemes to thank for this awesome FREE plugin that makes setting up an online shop a breeze.
In addition to WooCommerce, they offer several free and premium plugins that will help to enhance your WordPress website. Some plugins to check out:
- Sensei – great for teaching courses.
- WooSidebars – (free) this is great if you have an eShop and you want to assign a specific sidebar to your shop page, or any page on your website.
- Projects – (also free) a great option for showing off your portfolio.
If you are a WooCommerce user, WooThemes offers several extensions ( translate: complimentary free or premium plugins) that will help to enhance your eCommerce store. The screenshot below shows 12 of the 369(!) extensions available.
Other places worth checking out for premium plugins:
- Wishlist Member – membership plugin for premium content or courses.
- Gravity Forms – drag and drop form builder.
- Pretty Link Pro – cloak your affiliate links to make them look pretty.
- FooBox – lightbox image gallery and super easy to share on social media.
- Easy Digital Downloads – sell digital products on your website.
- SeedProd – coming soon landing pages for your website.
- Social Warfare – (just got this!) helps to increase social sharing for your content and increase website traffic.
Aaaaand, that’s a wrap! As always, thanks for reading and I hope this post was helpful to you as a resource for finding plugins. Tell me if I left out any good resources for plugins. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below :).