Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

My Favorite WordPress Plugins

One of the coolest things about WordPress is the powerful Plugin API which allows us to create add-ons which can radically extend the basic functions of our sites. Most plugins can be used simply by dropping them into your plugins folder and activating them. I don’t use a ton of plugins compared to some people — I can be a bit picky about what I add. And I’m not going to list every plugin that I’ve got active here, but I thought I’d point out a few of my favorites:

Akismet
There are a lot of people who swear by Bad Behavior or Spam Karma 2. But I’ve found that Akismet by itself does the job for me, when it comes to taking care of comment spam.
Sidebar Widgets
With the Sidebar Widgets Plugin and a widget compatible theme, you no longer have to edit your theme’s sidebar.php file every time you want to add something new. You can rearrange the order of your sidebar’s sections just by dragging and dropping the widgets in the admin configurator.
Search Everything
The basic search in WordPress only searches the content of your posts. It doesn’t search pages or comments. But with this plugin, you can search on all of those things, plus on any post metadata (custom fields) that you have set.
DoFollow
I mentioned this recently in another post (Follow you, follow me). Strips out the nofollow attribute for links in approved comments after a configurable amount of time has passed.
Share This
Alex King’s social bookmark plugin. There are two features that I particularly like about this one: the dynamic expansion/collapsing, and the ability to email the link. It’s like two plugins in one!
WP-Cache 2
An excellent defense against traffic spikes. If you ever get hit with a large volume of traffic, this plugin is going to save your hash.
OpenID Registration
With OpenID, you can consolidate all of the common information that you normally have to re-type every time you register at a new web service. This plugin allows your commenters (or user registrations) to use their OpenID for identification.

Again, that’s not every plugin I’m using. I didn’t list individual sidebar widgets like the ones for del.icio.us or Flickr, for example. And I didn’t highlight any of the plugins I’ve written myself. And I’m sure I’ll be adding other plugins into the mix as time goes by. But these are the main ones that I wanted to highlight that I’m using right now.

How about you — what are your favorite plugins, and why?

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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39 Responses to My Favorite WordPress Plugins

  1. Griffin says:

    Nice list here. I’m using the DoFollow, ShareThis and WP-Cache also. I use the OpenID plugin but a fork of it created by Will Norris. The Search Everything is a good call too. I’ve forgotten about that one so big thanks there. I’ll need to activate it on my journal.

    One that I always install first and would turn angry without is the Admin Drop Down Menus by Andy Staines.

    Gotta love Plugin authors though, great lot of gals and guys. I can tend to get plugin happy sometimes and end up installing some I probably don’t need just cause it’s so much fun to play around with them.

  2. Chris says:

    Worst Offenders, which works with Akismet – it provides a high level way to delete obvious spam without having to look at each item indvidually. This leaves you with a manageable list of spam to scroll through and delete.

  3. Kiersten says:

    How about a plug-in that creates links to “related articles” when you have written a new post — any suggestions?

  4. Dougal says:

    Kiersten: Related Entries.

    I’ve actually been thinking about adding that back to my site for a while.

  5. Brian Solis says:

    Thanks for this list! One of my favorites is ThinkFree’s plugin that lets you embed MS Office docs, spreadsheets and presentations. People reading the post can click “view” to instantly see the file without requiring Office or Acrobat.

  6. gidibao says:

    Hello Dougal,
    my favorite ones are UTW, Extended Live Archives and DoFollow too.

    best regards

  7. Jonic says:

    Great post!

    I hadn’t seen the OpenID plugin before… I’ll have to take a look at that. OpenID is something I’ve been thinking about implementing for a while, but seeing as though it’s just been added to WordPress.com I get the feeling it might make its way into standalone WordPress one day, so I might hold off for a while.

    Here are a few of my favorite plugins:

    Steve Smith’s FeedBurner plugin… It’s so useful it’s a wonder it hasn’t been added to the core…

    The subscribe to comments plugin is also really useful. Again, such functionality should be in the core if you ask me.

    I also couldn’t live without Easy Admin Access, but then again I would say that because I made it.

    That should be in the core too 😉

  8. If you’re using AdSense on your blog then AdSense-Deluxe is great.

    I also like the FeedBurner Feed Replacement plug-in to get accurate subscriber stats.

    The WordPress Contact Form plug-in also comes in handy so you don’t have to display your e-mail address. Originally from Ryan Duff but his site has been “down” for a long time. You can download version 1.4.3 here

  9. Lorelle says:

    The Related Posts Plugin by WASABI is no longer supported. I loved it, but now use other options like those I listed in Blog Navigation WordPress Plugins: Related, Recent, Most Popular Posts and More.

  10. Leftblank says:

    Akismet surely is a wonderful plugin, but as you know, it has quite some false positives and drops everything in a queue you’ll have to view. Bad Behavior on the other hand prevents ‘bad’ hosts from visiting your website at all, preventing them from posting spam – saving you both time and traffic.

    I’m using both of them myself and I must say my Akismet filter only has about five comments a week in it, Bad Behavior blocks the rest of it, saving me the time of reviewing them

  11. Kiersten says:

    Thanks very much, Dougal!

  12. Rekzai says:

    I use

    “Counterize” which allows you to keep stats of your visits.

    “Email users” which allows me to email all my registered users.

    “My Video” which allows me to embed videos from youtube and google and other sites..

  13. Ozh says:

    I could not live without WordPress Admin Drop Down Menu.
    Add Akismet and that’s the winning pair for me.

  14. Andy Beard says:

    UTW (and it is great for various related posts things as well)

    Dofollow – because I love sharing with my readers

    I don’t like the way theme designers implement sidebar widgets, because people end up with sidebars on single pages that contain all the same external links as they have on their front page, and the same it true of all their duplicate content pages.

    It effectively kills blogs that don’t receive lots of links.

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  16. Dougal says:

    Andy: I don’t like the way theme designers implement sidebar widgets, because people end up with sidebars on single pages that contain all the same external links as they have on their front page, and the same it true of all their duplicate content pages.

    As you suggest, it makes sense to focus sidebar content for single post views to internal links to other posts and pages of your own. That’s something I’d been thinking about recently. I want different sidebar content depending on what the current page type is. I’ve got a couple of different ideas of how to do that.

    One of the ideas I had was to add some sort of global widget configuration that would give you checkboxes for each of the view types (is_home, is_single, is_page, is_archive, all views, etc). This would allow you to really focus sidebar content.

    But I’d also like to change the order that the widgets appear in. That would require a different approach — perhaps creating multiple sidebar types, and having the theme display the appropriate sidebar for the type of view. But that would also require lower level changes to the widget plugin, since you might need the ability to have multiple instances of arbitrary widgets (so that they can appear in multiple view types). The disadvantage of this approach is that themes might require changes to support it (not sure — I haven’t thought it through all the way yet).

  17. Brendan says:

    I love the RumMovie plugin. It takes info from IMDb.com and lets your display it in a post nicely. I’ve used it to create my movie collection but as you can see at that post, he’s stopping development which sucks since I have no idea how to code and whenever imdb changes their site, the plugin needs to be updated.

  18. Corinne says:

    Akismet no longer works for me (and many others), it actually deletes things automatically, and since it tends to occasionally mark non-spam as spam, that’s a bad thing.

    However, I do love the Search Everything plugin.

  19. Andy Beard says:

    Some time ago when I was contemplating using widgets, I decided it would be possible to adapt a theme so that different template files in some way used the same mechanism that allows widgets for multiple columns.

    In the end I just went for manual code.

    Ideally it should be possible to use a widget to control the display order for other page elements that hook onto the_content() or the_footer() and maybe other places.

    p.s. for anyone who isn’t aware of why you might want to restrict items displaying on certain pages (other than for decorative reasons), I recently wrote about one example, top commenters plugins, and the SEO effects on the duplicate content pages.

    The long URL doesn’t fit in your allowed website box in the form, otherwise I would have included it there.

  20. Now that’s a good list of plugins!

    And that admin drop down plugin looks very cool!

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  22. WoProt says:

    Hi guys,

    thansk you very much for the share of this wordpress plug in collection.
    If you have further plug in let me know. I love it. Right now i am looking for a huge number of SEO plugin as well as plugin which easily help people to put photos and such things on their blogs.

    I have developed a WordPress Management Tool/ Remote Poster and i will insert a link to your page within my members area.

    Thanks again for the work and the share 🙂
    P.S. I really like the Do Follow and Search everything PlugIn

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  26. DG says:

    Hi Dougal, nice list. Check my post DTWL – Best WordPress Plugins, and comment.

    DG…
    http://www.ditii.com

  27. Diane Clancy says:

    I particularly like Get Recent Comments and Recent Posts. SimpleTags and Snap Previews I also find useful … and sociable.

    I had written a longer post giving the authors credit … but I thought OpenID meant I would put my name – so I don’t want to type details again.

    ~ Diane Clancy

  28. Tim says:

    Yeah, Akismet rocks! It has saved blog comments – and it’s free! Alot of people were actually turning their blog commenting off before this solution became available.

    I also recommend that you add the “related posts” plugin to your blog.

  29. Ajay M says:

    Hi Which are the plug-ins u recommend for WordPrwess 2.0. My hosting provider does not have 2.1 so i hv to go with 2.0.

  30. I highly recommend this plugin instead of the DoFollow Plugin:
    it is more “fair”
    http://www.turkhitbox.com/wordpress-seo/dofollow-trackbacks-plugin.html

  31. mlankton says:

    Don’t forget subscribe to comments, google sitemaps, contact form, custom anti spam, shylock adsense (the best of the adsense plugins), and no www.

  32. Bangla Blog says:

    I have developed a blogging website using PHP that is actually a Bangla Blog which covers lots of features of Web 2.0. But I cant figure it out, which key parts of Web 2.0 it have. Can you figure it out?

  33. Good list of plug ins. I like that you have some very useful ones and not just tacky little plug ins that clutter up a blog. Some of the ones like dofollow and the cache plugin are awesome!

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  37. I like this WP-Cache plugin, is an extremely efficient WordPress page caching system to make you site much faster and responsive.

  38. Thank you very much for yet another first-rate WordPress tutorial. I am always searching for original WordPress tips to suggest to my own readers. Thanks for making this article. It’s just what I was searching for. Truly fantabulous post.

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