As I spend 85% of my working life using WordPress, I’ve used an absolute ton of plugins. Some of them have been excellent, some of them… not so much.

Part of speeding up my dev workflow has been setting up a boilerplate WordPress dev environment that I can just clone ad infinitum to have all of my go-to plugins installed and ready to go. So, without further ado… here they are; the plugins I cannot live without.

  • Contact Form 7 – The simplest, and in my opinion the best contact form plugin out there, CF7 just works. With loads of add-ons available, and a code editor that allows you to set up the form exactly how you want it, I really don’t know where I’d be without it. Add on the database, Campaign Monitor and honeypot extensions and you’ve got a seriously powerful plugin… and it’s free.
  • WP Smush It – We all want nice images, and we all want fast websites. Smush it gives the best of both worlds, automatically compressing any images uploaded to a WordPress site without any loss in quality.
  • WP Sync – The key to everything, WP Sync allows me to push and pull databases between dev environments, making sure everything is completely up to date, wherever I’m working. Add on the WP Sync Media Files extension, and I can take a complete copy of a site and move it wherever I want in one click.
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast – in my view, the daddy of all WordPress SEO plugins, Yoast makes getting a website to the front page of Google a doddle, with a simple editor and helpful tutorials for all users, Yoast is worth its weight in gold. Thankfully it’s also free.
  • WooCommerce – Ok, so this isn’t on every site I built, but if it’s eCommerce you’re after, look no further than WooCommerce. The base plugin comes with PayPal integration, SSL support and a pretty decent search, and it’s totally free. Add on any of the hundreds of available extensions, and WooCommerce is an absolutely incredible eCommerce platform that just works.