8 Most Downloaded WordPress Plugins (Expert Choice)
The WordPress Plugin Directory contains tens of thousands of WordPress plugins and the most favorite ones were installed more than a million times. In this series we will check which the most popular plugins are and what the reason for their popularity is.
In this article we will write about Wordfence Security, Google Analytics by MonsterInsights, Advanced Custom Fields, WP Super Cache, WP-PageNavi, WooCommerce, Google XML Sitemaps and Really Simple Captcha plugins.
Wordfence Security is the most popular security plugin for WordPress; the newest 6.1.8 version was launched at the end of May 2016. There are more than a million active installations of Wordfence worldwide and almost all users rated it with 5 stars.
The plugin is updated continuously and defends the WordPress powered websites against being hacked. The Live Traffic feed helps to monitor the website traffic, DDOS or other attacks and traffic spikes. It comes with a huge collection of other useful security tools as well.
The Wordfence plugin is free for everyone; however, you can also choose to buy the Premium version. This version offers a Premium API key which costs $59 per year. There are discounted prices available, for example a Premium key for 5 years costs only $44.25 or 1000 keys for a year costs only $7.82/key (quantity discount).
The newest version of Wordfence Security is compatible with WordPress 3.9 and above.
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights is definitely the most popular Google Analytics plugin in the WordPress Plugin Directory. It was written and is maintained by Chris Christoff and currently there are more than a million active installations in the World.
The average rating of the plugin is 3.9/5, based on 353 reviews, which is a bit strange, considering this GA plugin is really easy to use and has a very used friendly interface.
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights can be installed very easily, you just need to install the plugin then allow it to use the Google Analytics data. After making the initial steps, the statistics and user data will be stored directly in WordPress backend.
MonsterInsigths provides different paid options as well, like MonsterInsights Pro for $89/year and Ecommerce Addon for $49/year. MonsterInsights Pro is able to show which posts are the most popular and there are many advanced methods of generating reports. The Ecommerce Addon can be paired with WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads and it helps you track your e-business’ performance and goals.
The newest version of the plugin is compatible with WordPress 3.9 and above.
Advanced Custom Fields
Advanced Custom Fields plugin is the number one customer fields for WordPress, the newest version is 4.4.7 which was launched in April 2016. There are more than a million active installations of this plugin.
With Advanced Custom Fields you can create nice and useful custom fields so your WordPress installation will be more advanced compared to the core version. There are 22 field types, like text, text area, checkbox, Google Maps, etc. that can be added visually.
There are about 850 reviews of this plugin on WordPress, and almost all of them rated Advanced Custom Fields with 5 stars. The high number of positive feedbacks also implies that this plugin is very easy to understand and no one will have difficulties with it.
Advanced Custom Fields comes with a PRO version as well and it is available in 2 versions. The Personal license is valid for 1 site and costs $25 while the Developer license can be used on unlimited sites and costs $100. Both versions offer a great list of extra features, like repeater field, gallery field, flexible content field and many more. Lifetime updates are also included in both licenses’ price.
The current version of Advanced Custom Fields requires WordPress 3.5 or higher.
WP Super Cache
Without cache plugin, any bigger WordPress website would kill the server resources, so it is essential to use an advanced solution. WP Super Cache is one of the most useful and most downloaded cache plugins on WordPress Plugin Directory.
The current version is 1.4.8 and was launched in May 2016. Surprisingly, there isn’t only one author, as it was written by Donncha O Caoimh, Automattic and Brandon Kraft
WP Super Cache generates static HTML pages and stores them on the webserver for a fixed amount of time. During this time the visitors will be served with these pages and the WordPress PHP files won’t be used. This solution is server and resource friendly, since there is no need of static WordPress content, only the cached files should be updated regularly. In case any WordPress post or page is being created or updated, the cache is refreshed automatically, so the visitors can always see the newest version of the content. Caching the content can significantly improve loading time resulting in a faster website.
There isn’t a paid version of WP Super Cache and the newest version requires WordPress 3.0 or higher. Please check out our collection of best cache plugins if you are looking for something else.
One of the weakest parts of WordPress is older posts. WP-PageNavi replaces this section with a more advanced navigation solution which can be set by the site owner.
The plugin was written by Lester Chan and scribu, the current version is 2.90 and has more than 1 million active installs worldwide. To add this plugin, you should simply download it from the WordPress Plugin Directory, then install and active it. Once this is done, you should find the old navigation section in your WordPress theme and replace it with WP-PageNavi’s HTML code.
After doing this, you should visit the WordPress admin’s Settings – PageNavi menu where you can set the details. This interface is really simple; you can set the text for number of pages, current page, page, first page, etc.
WordPress.org users are not so active when it comes to rating plugins; WP-PageNavi also only has 101 reviews so far. About 85% of them are rated with 5 stars and only 6 reviewers gave 1 star to this plugin.
There is no paid version of WP-PageNavi; the project is made in the creators’ free time, so you can support them with a few bucks if you want.
WP-PageNavi 2.90 is compatible with WordPress 3.2 and above.
WooCommerce is definitely one of the most well-known WordPress plugins, almost all people who have e-businesses have heard about it. It is an awesome ecommerce plugin which allows you to create professional web shops, 30% of all online stores are powered with it.
There are free WordPress themes which were created to be used with WooCommerce; the creator team’s official theme is called Storefront. By using Storefront with WooCommerce, building an online shop takes little to no time.
Professional but still free extensions are also available for WooCommerce at WordPress.org, like extensions for Google Analytics, creating invoices, making affiliate system, etc.
You can buy premium extensions as well, for example WooCommerce Subscriptions, WooCommerce Memberships, Dynamic Pricing, Table Rate Shipping and more. You can get these extensions, as well as all WooCommerce products and updates for a year for $149. There are quantity discounts as well, like a subscription for up to 5 sites for $199 or for up to 25 sites for $249.
The plugin is installed on more than a million websites worldwide and the current version requires WordPress 4.1 or higher.
Google XML Sitemaps
Having sitemaps is vital since it is a big help to Google and other web search engines to index your website easier and faster. It is also important to have a good plugin, so you do not forget to add new content to the sitemap.
Google XML Sitemaps is definitely one of the best sitemap plugins, as there are more than a million active installs of it around the World. Arne Brachhold updated his work in April 2016 last time, the current version is 4.0.8. He is a really committed author; he continuously supported his plugin during the last 9 years.
The sitemap plugin’s official homepage is part of the author’s personal website, where you can read the latest related news and development details. Google XML Sitemaps is free and there are no paid versions. You can support the author via Paypal, through the author’s website.
The plugin’s official language is US English but fans made the UK English, Canadian English, German, Spanish, Venezuelan Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Turkish and Japanese translations.
The current version is compatible with WordPress 3.3 and above.
Really Simple CAPTCHA
Really Simple CAPTCHA is not a standalone plugin, as it gives captcha support for other plugins. It was created to Contact Form 7 but you can use it with any other plugins, even if you write your own one.
The plugin is used on more than a million websites around the globe; however, it is not using PHP sessions for showing and checking the captcha. Really Simple CAPTCHA uses PNG and TXT files, so it is not an advanced solution, however in most cases this protection is also enough against spam robots.
The author, Takayuki Mitoshi gives detailed explanation on how to use the plugin code and also updates it regularly. The current 1.9 version of the plugin is compatible with WordPress 4.4 and above.
So here you have the collection of the most downloaded WordPress plugins of all time. Dow you know or use any of these plugins? What other plugins you are using on your WordPress website or blog? Share your thoughts in the comments below.