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WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world and powers over 40% of all websites on the internet. While WordPress core functionality is capable on its own, plugins allow users to extend and customize their sites in countless ways. With over 55,000 free plugins available in the official WordPress plugin directory, it can be difficult deciding which ones are truly must-have. This article aims to list the top 10 WordPress plugins that every WordPress user should consider installing in 2024 to improve the functionality, performance, and security of their site. While the plugins covered are quite popular and highly rated already, 2024 promises to be another big year for additional features and improvements for each one.

Yoast SEO

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) plugins for WordPress, Yoast SEO reigns supreme. With over 5 million active installations, it is by far the most popular SEO plugin available. Yoast SEO helps optimize sites for search engines by focusing on on-page elements like meta descriptions, title tags, internal links and XML sitemaps. Some reasons why Yoast SEO is a must-have plugin for 2024 include:

  • Improved readability features like analyzing text for optimal reading levels and accessibility standards.
  • Enhanced XML sitemaps for better performance in Google Search Console and increased indexing of pages.
  • Advanced features for website speed optimization through resource suggestions and measurement.
  • Real-time keyword volume checking with the Yoast SEO keyword planner tool.
  • Scheduled keyword updates to keep content aligned with trending topics over time.
  • Support for multiple authors and workflows through permissions and role-based capabilities.
  • Comprehensive analytics through the Yoast SEO dashboard to track all on-page optimizations.

Considering its continuous updates and free support through a large community, Yoast SEO is the safest bet for SEO management on WordPress in the coming year.

Woo Commerce

No list of top WordPress plugins would be complete without mentioning WooCommerce. It is responsible for powering over 30% of all online stores, making it the most popular eCommerce platform globally. Some key factors that make WooCommerce a must-have for any WordPress site looking to sell products in 2024 include:

  • Robust product catalog and inventory management tools for any type of physical or digital goods.
  • Customizable cart and checkout experiences with various payment gateways integrated.
  • Advanced marketing features like coupons, upsells, cross-sells, abandoned cart reminders and more.
  • Analysis reports and sales data through automatic order notifications and detailed analytics.
  • Free and premium themes optimized specifically for WooCommerce stores.
  • Extensive developer documentation and API for customized integrations.
  • Strong roadmap focused on performance, security, and mobile optimization.
  • Large extension ecosystem to add functionalities like subscriptions, product bundles, and reward points.

As eCommerce continues to grow rapidly worldwide, Woo Commerce ensures shops built on WordPress can easily scale and keep up with emerging trends.

Contact Form 7

Another ubiquitous WordPress plugin is Contact Form 7, allowing users to create and insert complex contact forms on pages and posts at lightning speed without touching a line of code. Its popularity and utility ensures it remains a staple WordPress plugin. Some key highlights of Contact Form 7 going into 2024 include:

  • Drag-and-drop form builder with over 50 field types including file uploads and hidden fields.
  • Built-in honeypot spam protection and CAPTCHA integration.
  • Mail2 form submissions and automated response customizations.
  • Form styling options and conditional logic capabilities.
  • Template tags to dynamically display form data or files on success pages.
  • MailChimp and Campaign Monitor integrations for contact list management.
  • Antispam integration with plugins like Akismet for advanced spam filtering.
  • Redirects, conditional content and conditional validation enhancements.

Contact Form 7’s developer is quick to implement community-requested features, ensuring it maintains status as the go-to form solution for WordPress sites.

Top 10 Must-Have Plugins for WordPress in 2024
Top 10 Must-Have Plugins for WordPress in 2024

Elementor Page Builder

Building visually stunning pages and sections on WordPress was revolutionized by the introduction of page builder plugins. While popular builders like Beaver Builder and Visual Composer exist, Elementor has emerged as the leading page builder plugin in 2022 with over 4 million active installations monthly. Some of Elementor’s competitive advantages going forward include:

  • 100+ innovative widgets including advanced elements like profiles, testimonials and pricing tables.
  • Full-site editing capabilities allowing non-coders to build entire websites visually.
  • Responsive design and control allowing previewing on any device.
  • Extensive library of designer-made templates across industries and niches.
  • Integrations with other popular plugins like WooCommerce, Gravity Forms, Calendarize It and more.
  • Advanced animations, caching, accessibility and version controls.
  • Library of addons from Elementor themselves and third parties for added functionality.
  • Promoted as an official WordPress Partner, signaling future development commitment.

With its active development and large community, Elementor will continue to excel as the top page builder choice for WordPress users.

Gravity Forms

While Contact Form 7 is the most used default form solution, Gravity Forms is the top paid plugin for advanced forms and entries on WordPress. Some reasons why Gravity Forms is a must-have for complex form needs in 2024 include:

  • Over 150 form elements including file uploads, webhooks, conditional logic, calculations and more.
  • Custom post types to manage and query form entries directly in WordPress.
  • Form notification emails and merged tags for dynamic content.
  • Integrations with CRM tools like Salesforce, Zoho and Hubspot for lead capture.
  • Surveys, quizzes and polls capabilities with results reporting.
  • Application forms templates included for common scenarios.
  • Live entries editor for real-time updates and modifications.
  • Security features like honeypots, CAPTCHAs and inline validation.
  • Form entries are given a unified object model for building custom listing and display blocks
  • Conditional logic compares entry values and performs custom actions based on conditions
  • Field validators check various data formats, character counts on the client side
  • User registration integrates signup with profile fields for complete membership solutions
  • Development APIs for deep custom integrations with websites and apps.

As needs for advanced data capture increase, Gravity Forms will enable non-coders to build solutions previously requiring custom plugins or coding.

Backup Buddy

In today’s fast-paced digital world, website bugs and hacks are an unfortunate reality. This is why having a solid backup and restore solution is critical to business continuity. As the most popular WordPress backup plugin, Backup Buddy checks all the right boxes for peace of mind in 2024:

  • Automatic full website backups including database, files, plugins and themes.
  • Securely store unlimited backups on remote servers with versioning.
  • Intuitive restoration from any previous backup point in time.
  • Migration capabilities to easily transfer sites between servers.
  • Integrations to backup services like Dropbox, S3, Rackspace and Email.
  • Caching and optimized incremental backups for performance.
  • Developer APIs and tools for automated management in multisite networks.
  • Comprehensive support directly from the makers of the plugin.
  • Backups are encrypted both in transit and at rest for bank-level security and compliance
  • Rollbacks are streamlined with an intuitive timeline view of recent backups
  • Notifications flag issues during backups for quick troubleshooting and support
  • PHP 8 compatibility ensures future-proofing against WordPress updates

Considering how much time, work and money goes into websites, Backup Buddy is an important investment for disaster recovery protection against potential failures or attacks.

Word fence Security

Security will always be a top priority for any website, especially as cyberattacks rise. As the #1 WordPress security plugin, Wordfence aims to block, throttle and warn against all forms of malicious activity through:

  • Advanced firewall blocking common exploits and layer 7 attacks.
  • Scanning of posts, plugins, themes for malware or suspicious code.
  • Live traffic monitoring alerting on brute force login attempts.
  • Two-factor authentication enforcement for improved admin security.
  • Automatic updates for core, plugins and themes to cover vulnerability gaps.
  • Search engine blacklist integration to flag hacked sites for Google.
  • Real-time crash protection and debug logging for rapid issue resolution.

By offering both free and paid tiers, Word fence empowers all website owners to proactively lock down their WordPress installs in the new year.

Site Kit by Google

As Google continues integrating with the open web, Site Kit has emerged as one of the most useful analytics plugins directly from the search giant. Some top reasons to utilize Site Kit in 2024 include:

  • Real-time Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics data connection.
  • Search Console reports and direct fixes for crawled issues and errors.
  • Tag Manager integration for easily managing additional tracking codes.
  • Rich Google results and rich snippet testing tools.
  • Enhanced Google Ads signups and conversion tracking.
  • AdSense earnings tracking and optimization recommendations.
  • Optimized Image dimensions analysis to focus on ideal image sizes
  • AMP stories capabilities and accelerated mobile pages validation.


Which plugins get the most frequent updates?

The top WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO, Elementor, and WooCommerce receive updates on a near weekly basis to constantly squash bugs, add new features, and keep pace with WordPress core updates. Plugins like Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms and BackupBuddy typically see bi-weekly or monthly upgrades as well. The makers of these widely used plugins are incentivized to actively maintain and improve them on a consistent schedule. Security-focused plugins like Wordfence also prioritize rapid patching whenever vulnerabilities are discovered.

Are any of these premium plugins worth the investment?

While many plugins listed here have generous free versions, their premium upgrades offer advanced capabilities that can ultimately save time and reduce frustrations compared to juggling multiple add-ons. Gravity Forms and BackupBuddy Pro plans in particular stand out, providing huge value for specialized form needs and enterprise-level backups respectively. WooCommerce and Elementor also have rich addons for growing eCommerce stores and feature-packed page builder workflows. For high traffic or client-focused sites, a premium plugin or two can pay off versus managing patches and updates yourself long-term.

Which plugins should be installed first on a new WordPress site?

On a fresh WordPress install, priorities would typically be Yoast SEO, a security solution like Wordfence, and a page builder like Elementor to start designing the site architecture. Once pages and sections have been built, adding Contact Form 7 helps enable early site interactivity. As content grows, automating backups is critical so installing BackupBuddy at this stage is wise too. And finally, as monetization options are explored, WooCommerce or membership plugins would round out the initial stack to pave the way for future revenue.

Is it bad to install too many plugins?

While plugins extend functionality, each additional one increases the security surface and slows page loads slightly due to extra code processing. As a general rule, keep active plugins to a minimum required to achieve your goals. Disable and remove anything not currently in use. Also be mindful of plugin dependencies – avoid those relying on outdated or unmaintained code libraries. And never install plugins from untrusted third-party sources. Stick to ones from reputed developers with comprehensive support. Regular scans with Wordfence help uncover any dormant vulnerabilities too. Overall, quality over quantity ensures the best outcomes.

Which plugins have the best developer support?

Plugins from companies primarily focused on WordPress tend to offer top-notch developer support by nature of their business model. Gravity Forms, BackupBuddy, and WooCommerce all employ dedicated support teams that quickly respond via ticketing systems. Yoast, Elementor, and Top10 likewise have strong knowledge bases and active forums for troubleshooting issues. Makers of smaller utilities like Contact Form 7 remain responsive viaPlugin forums. And paid plugins typically get priority over free ones. If having direct access to engineers is important, premium plans offer the swiftest resolution of edge cases or custom integrations.

How do I keep my plugins secure and updated?

The built-in WordPress plugin updater automatically retrieves the latest versions in most cases. However, periodically check your dashboard or server files directly to ensure nothing is skipped over. Disable and remove unused/unnecessary plugins too as these introduce vulnerabilities. Apply security hardening with a plugin like Wordfence and always keep WP, PHP and extensions current. Monitor activity logs to preempt any unusual behavior. Consider coding best practices like escaping output. And run backups often via a plugin like BackupBuddy to enable quick restoration in case of faults. With proactive maintenance measures, you can keep your plugins and site reliably safeguarded.


In summary, the top 10 plugins discussed cover core functionality areas that every WordPress site can benefit greatly from – SEO, eCommerce, forms, page building, security, analytics and backups. Regularly updated by dedicated developers, these plugins provide robust features that empower users to easily build, manage and monetize their sites without advanced technical skills. While the free tiers already offer excellent value, premium upgrades are worthwhile in many cases too for advanced workflows or high traffic applications. With just a few strategic installations and ongoing updates from this list, site owners can create thriving digital presences backed by market-leading WordPress extensions.