The 20 Wordpress plugins you need in 2023, Part 1.
In the past year, WordPress has seen a lot of changes. The Gutenberg block editor was released with version 5.0, less than a year before. Many plugins are reaching maturity, while others are dying off and becoming relics. We review our plugins at least once a month to see which ones are the most popular. We will list in the next two posts 20 WordPress plugins you should add to your arsenal for 2023. These plugins offer a variety of administrative and functional abilities. Each plugin is a lifesaver when it comes time saving, increasing functionality and protecting your site from cyber attacks. Here is the first part of our list.
All-in One WP Migration
You’ll have to transfer your site from one server or hosting company to another at some point. You’ll only cause yourself pain if you try to do it manually. Why spend hours on something that you can accomplish in minutes with a few clicks? We have found that All-in One migration is the best plugin to move and backup sites. Clicking on the Export button and downloading the WPRESS files is all it takes. Install the All-in-One Plugin on the new website and then do a standard WordPress install. Follow the prompts on the new site to complete the import. It will also change the majority of urls on your posts, pages and settings to match the new site url. What a convenience! It can be used in most cases, but there are instances when it cannot. That’s when our other plugin is useful.
Search Better Replace
This plugin is the answer to my question. Better Search Replace allows you to tell it where to search in your WordPress database for a particular string and then replace it with a different string. When moving a website, it is easy to replace the old domain with the new one. When replacing domains, you should use the fully-qualified domain name (FDQN), with protocol and a trailing slash. This will save you a lot of headaches. So as an example you want to do ”https://www.example.com/” NOT ”www.example.com“. You will thank me for this. It also lets you “dry-run”, so you can check how many instances are found. However, it does not tell you exactly what they are. Instead, it tells you which tables are affected and how many times. After a while, you’ll get used to the fact that something in the wp_options is actually a setting.
Gutenberg is a great tool, but there are many people (including me) who can’t stand the idea. They are either not ready to fully learn it or their themes don’t work with it. You will need the Classic Editor plugin in those cases. The plugin has added two new settings to the Writing section in Settings. First, you can select which editor is used by default for all users. You can either choose the Classic Editor (default) or the Block Editor (default). You can also allow users to change editors at their discretion. We don’t need to use Gutenberg today, but we will at some point.
Contact Form 7
It’s true that I am in love with this plugin. I hate it too. But I can’t deny that it is a great tool for simple and complex forms. It is a great plugin for collecting data from visitors. There are many extensions available that allow you to do this, such as capturing signatures and merging the form data into PDF. It’s when I create the forms that I realize the editor is the text one and not the visual editor (why, oh why do you say !!!).?). You may not have experienced the frustration of wondering why the form doesn’t look right until you use Chrome’s Dev Tools and inspect the HTML to locate rouge paragraph tags. You’re welcome. I saved you the trouble of having to do it yourself. You’ll be thanking me later.
Contact Form 7 Add-on
There is no way to save the responses after they have been entered. This is really annoying when you can’t send an email or you find a discrepancy. It’s good to always have a back-up just in case. This is where Contact Forms CFDB7 come in. It stores every response to every form created using Contact Form 7 in your database, without any configuration. You only need to install the plugin and activate it. You’ll see every response and be able read what visitors sent you. This plugin helped me more than I can count when there were email problems with our sites.
There are many plugins that duplicate pages and posts. This plugin is different from the Reset because it can duplicate any post type. You can even disable or enable the ability to duplicate certain post types on a separate settings page. You can grant certain roles the power to duplicate specific post types. It is an excellent plugin to use when you want to duplicate a post or page and make slight changes between copies. Create a post or page as a template, and then duplicate it to create new pages.
iQ Block Country
You may have wanted to restrict access to your website to people in your own country or to stop hackers from attacking your site. You might want to block all the hackers who are hitting your website or that dude who is hitting it 1000 times a minute while pounding on the F5 key. (I’m talking about you Dylan, yeah I know you’re game but it’s not funny). This plugin has the added benefit that, unlike firewalls, you can select which countries to allow or block. This plugin is a great way to make it easy. You don’t know how difficult it can be to block or allow IP ranges. You can have separate lists for frontend and backend. You can even block specific categories and taxonomies. This puppy can be used to find some pretty good grain if you so desire. Do yourself a favour and put your IP into the whitelist to avoid accidentally blocking yourself. Not that I’ve ever done this.
You are missing out on a lot and you should be ashamed if you don’t use ManageWP for managing your website. Not only is ManageWP awesome, but it’s also free to start using. The worker connects your website to ManageWP so it can access all kinds of information and do numerous tasks on your website. If you manage multiple sites (like we do), you can take action on all of them at once. ManageWP not only shows you which sites use which plugins, but also if there is a vulnerability in any of them. You can then update all the sites at once to the most recent plugin. ManageWP has a TON of administrative features (safe backups, up-time monitoring, and more). These deserve their own post. For now though just know that it is free to use and will make life easier.
It is sometimes necessary to make a website publicly accessible, but not to everyone. It is important to remember this when you are developing or moving your site. You don’t want someone to access the site before it is ready, or for a search engine to start indexing it. This plugin makes it easy to set up a password for viewing the site. If you enable the plugin, anyone trying to access your site will have to enter a password to view it. You can also tweak the settings to exclude certain groups, such as administrators and logged-in users. You need to make sure that any server caching or plugin caching is disabled. Otherwise, people will get the cache page and not the password challenge.
What do you think about the list so far? Do you use any similar plugins but feel that ours is better? Do you use plugins that ours replaces? Stay tuned for Part 2.