11 Best Free WordPress Plugins For Blogs (2023) – Must-Have

Last Updated on August 10, 2023 by Jordan Alexo

Hey there, WordPress enthusiasts! So, you’re on the hunt to supercharge your blog this year, huh? Well, you’ve landed in the right spot.

I’ve cherry-picked 11 best free WordPress plugins for blogs. These aren’t your everyday plugins; they’re the top-tier, best of the best.

Whether you’re looking to stop spam, improve your SEO, or speed up your blog – You’ll find the right plugin in this guide. So, let’s roll.

What Are The Best WordPress Plugins For Blogs?

Let’s check the top WordPress plugins for your blog. These are plugins I usually use over here.

1 – Akismet (Best Spam Blocker)

akismet plugin front page. Best spam blocker

Ever launched a blog and got bombarded with spam comments? It’s like opening your door to a flood of junk mail. That’s where Akismet steps in. This tool isn’t just popular; it has reached legendary status in the WordPress community.

And guess what? It’s so essential that WordPress decided to pre-install it on every site. Its mission? To shield you from the relentless barrage of spam, whether it’s churned out by bots or humans.

And the best part? It’s all cloud-based. So, while Akismet’s out there wrestling with spam, your site’s performance doesn’t even break a sweat.

Now, let’s talk setup. If you think it will be a tech nightmare, think again. See, Akismet is the brainchild of Automattic, the same genius minds behind

Just activate the plugin, snag an API key with a free account, and you’re off to the races.

No complicated settings to navigate. And if you’re the curious type, there’s a stats page that’ll show you just how many spammy invaders Akismet’s kept at bay. Here’s mine:

Akismet spam report

It has blocked a good chunk. But, a word to the wise: always keep an eye on your comments. Akismet’s sharp, but sometimes a few sneaky spams might slip through.

Or otherwise, it may consider comment spam when it’s not.

2 – Rank Math SEO (On Page SEO Plugin)

rankmath front page

Rank Math SEO is one of my favorite plugins for on-page SEO.

Why? Because it comes jack packed with features that can give your site the edge it needs.

Now, let’s dive into the meat of it. Rank Math SEO, developed by MyThemeShop, has quickly grown in popularity, and for a good reason.

It isn’t only about optimizing your content. But it also gives you insights that can transform your approach to SEO. From its intuitive layout to its ability to optimize for up to 5 keywords per post.

Oh yeah, and most of the features that premium plugins charge for, Rank Math offers for free. Also, what I truly enjoy about Rank Math is its integration with Google Search Console.

Imagine having all your keyword data, CTRs, and rankings in your WordPress dashboard.

rankmath dashboard

No more toggling between tabs or using third-party tools. Plus, with its advanced schema generator, you can make your content stand out in the SERPs without needing extra plugins.

In a nutshell, if you’re looking for an SEO plugin that’s feature-rich, user-friendly, and free, Rank Math SEO is the way to go. It also has a premium version if later you decide to upgrade to get more advanced features.

3 – LightSpeed Cache (Feature Rich Cache Plugin)

lightspeed cache

Another favorite of mine is LightSpeed cache. See, this isn’t just another caching plugin; it’s a performance beast. With over 2 million active installations, LiteSpeed Cache is a server-level cache faster than your typical PHP cache. The result? Blazing fast page load times.

And nowadays, every millisecond is crucial. People don’t want to spend all day waiting to open your site. No one has time for that!

lightspeed cache dashboard

But here’s the pick LiteSpeed Cache isn’t just about caching. Instead, it’s a full-fledged optimization suite. From Image and database optimization to critical CSS generation and even WebP Image conversion, LS Cache has got it all.

And guess what? Most of these premium features are free. But, like all things in life, there’s a catch. To unlock its full potential, you’ll need a LiteSpeed server. However, don’t sweat it. Even if you’re on Nginx or Apache, many of its features will still work wonders for your site.

4 – Scriptless Social Sharing (Lightweight Social Sharing Plugin)

scriptless social sharing buttons

Ever felt the weight of those bulky social sharing plugins? Yeah, me too. That’s why Scriptless Social Sharing is great. It’s a minimalist social sharing plugin that is pretty straightforward.

No JavaScript, no flashy animations, just pure, clean links. And the best part? It’s built with accessibility in mind. Even if you opt for the “Icons Only” style, the network names are still neatly tucked away.

scriptless social sharing buttons in site

The plugin offers a neat settings page, letting you decide where and how your buttons appear.

So, if you are looking for simple social sharing plugins that won’t drag down your site’s performance, Scriptless Social Sharing is your go-to.

5 – Pretty Links (Best Link Manager)

pretty links front page

Let’s face it, those long, ugly affiliate links? They’re not doing anyone any favors. That’s where Pretty Links comes in.

Not only does it let you cloak those unsightly affiliate links, but it also lets you track, manage, and even brand them.

pretty links dashboardjpg

And here’s the thing: it’s not just for affiliate links. Whether you’re sharing content on social media, sending out an email campaign, or just want a cleaner URL for your latest blog post, Pretty Links has your back.

With features like link cloaking, redirects, and even QR code generation, it’s a tool that every serious blogger should have in their arsenal. Besides, if you’re not ready to jump to the Pro version, the free version still packs a punch.

In fact, I still use the free version of Pretty Links.

6 – Easy Table Of Content (Top TOC Plugin)

easy table of content

This plugin is your secret sauce for making your posts and pages easily navigable. With a few clicks, it automatically generates a table of contents by parsing your content headers. And the beauty? It’s not just for tech nerds.

Whether you’re using the Classic Editor, Gutenberg, or even page builders like Elementor, this plugin seamlessly integrates.

easy table of content on a blog post

Plus, it’s packed with customization options. For instance, want to choose which headers to include? Done. Need to exclude certain headers? Easy. And for those

who love to tweak, there are many settings to get the look and feel just right.

Bottom line: if you’re serious about improving user experience and reducing bounce rates, Easy Table Of Content is a must-have.

7 – Kadence Blocks (Lightweight Page Builder)

kadence blocks

Now, I’ve dabbled with many WordPress tools, and while Elementor has its merits, I’ve got a soft spot for Kadence Blocks. Why?

Well, Kadence is lightweight, agile, and doesn’t bog down your site. But here’s the catch: to truly harness its power, you’ve got to pair it with the Kadence theme.

A small price to pay for the performance boost, if you ask me. Beyond that, Kadence Blocks transforms your standard WordPress editor into a design maestro.

kadence blocks builder

Offering a suite of design blocks that put Gutenberg’s default ones in the shade, it empowers you to craft stunning, functional websites without the coding drama. And the features?

Gosh! Come with a Google Maps block, advanced image options, Lottie animations, and more.

Plus, with the recent Kadence Blocks release, you got a sleeker design, enhanced performance, and groundbreaking features that put other editors in the shade.

So, if you’re like me, preferring efficiency without the bloat, Kadence Blocks is where it’s at.

8 – UpdraftPlus (WordPress Backup Plugin)

updraft plus

I know, I know most web-host backup your site. But guess what? You should never rely on them entirely.

That’s why UpdraftPlus is an essential plugin for your WordPress blog.

With this plugin, you’re not just getting a backup tool; you’re getting a full-service solution.

It’s not just about storing your data; it’s about where and how. With several storage options, from Google Drive to Amazon S3. And the cherry on top? The ability to set different backup frequencies for your site’s files and database.

But while UpdraftPlus is perfect for backing up your site, it has more. The premium version steps it up a notch with migration tools, cloning capabilities, and even staging sites. And for those who manage multiple WordPress sites, the centralized dashboard is ideal.

But there’s a little issue: The lack of real-time backups can be problematic for dynamic sites. So, if you’re running an e-commerce store or a bustling community, you might want to choose another option. But for the majority? Updraft is a great option to save your site from any disaster.

9 – EWWW Image Optimizer (Easy To Use Image Optimizer)

ewww image optimizer

Images can easily drag your website performance down to oblivion. But WWW Image Optimizer is a lifesaver.

This plugin isn’t just about shrinking image sizes but optimizing them without compromising quality.

And whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, EWWW makes image optimization a walk in the park. With features like auto compress, lazy load, and even next-gen WebP format conversion.

But while EWWW is a great plugin, well, let’s say it also has its quirks. For one, it runs on your server. So, if you’re on a shared host or have limited resources, bulk optimizing might slow things down a tad.

And while the free version is pretty darn good, if you’re after lossy compression, you’ll need to go premium.

So, if you’re serious about speeding up your site for free, EWWW Image Optimizer is a solid bet.

10 – Broken Link Checker (Great Broken Link Hunter)

broken link checker

You know, broken links are those pesky things that can frustrate your visitors and hurt your SEO and blog’s reputation.

But Broken Link Checker scans every nook and cranny for any link that’s gone bad. And it also helps you fix them. Whether it’s a post, a comment, or even a custom field, nothing escapes.

Plus, with detailed reports and email notifications. Besides, it’s not only about internal links. Also, external links, missing images, and redirects.

And for those who like choices, there’s both a cloud-based and a local link checker, each with its own perks.

So, if you’re serious about keeping your site in shape, Broken Link Checker is a must-have tool.

11 – Elementor Page Builder (Powerful Page Builder)


Ever felt like designing a website was a task only for the coding gurus? Elementor flipped that script. It’s a visual, drag-and-drop page builder, meaning you can build a page right before your eyes any way you want. For instance, sales pages, contact forms, beautiful blog layouts, and more.

It also has a massive selection of widgets, responsive desights that look fabulous on any device, and templates that save you time.

And for those who want to take it up a notch, Elementor Pro lets you design your entire WordPress theme. Yep, headers, footers, single templates, the whole shebang.

Plus, if you’re into e-commerce, you can even design your WooCommerce store with it.

Now here’s the downside: Elementor is heavy on resources and can slow down your website if not optimized properly.

So, if you don’t need as many features and prefer something lighter, Kadence Blocks is a better choice.

Last Thoughts

So, we’ve uncovered some real gems in this post. From top-notch SEO plugin Rank Math to your site’s design with Elementor.

Go through the list and try a few of them today. I’m always looking for the most effective plugins for my blog. I like to keep things minimalist and running smoothly. I avoid heavy-loading plugins.

And from my testing, these plugins will do exactly that. You’ll get the best bang for your buck (well, they’re free!) without overloading your site. Here’s my site speed test:

One final note: always keep the least possible number of plugins on your site. This will keep your blog running fast and efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

1 – How Many Plugins Should I Use In WordPress?

With WordPress plugins, it’s easy to go overboard. I mean, who doesn’t want to add all those cool features to their site? But here’s the thing: while plugins can supercharge your site, going having too many can backfire.

Too many plugins can slow down your site, and let’s be real, nobody’s got time for a sluggish website. Plus, there’s the whole security aspect. Some plugins, especially outdated ones, can make your site vulnerable to hacks.

So, what’s the magic number? Well, it’s not set in stone. But a good rule of thumb? Try not to exceed 20 plugins. If you’re on shared or budget cloud hosting, maybe even stick to 5. Remember, it’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. Choose wisely, and keep them updated.

2 – Do More Plugins Slow Down WordPress?

Every time someone visits your site, WordPress has to load up all those plugins. Some plugins, especially those that add features to the front end of your site, can make your server work overtime.

They might be making database requests, running background processes, or adding extra HTTP requests. And all that extra work? It can slow things down.

But it’s also about how they’re coded. A well-coded plugin is like a well-oiled machine, efficient and smooth. But a poorly coded one can be a resource hog, even if it’s the only one you’re using.

So, the next time you add a new plugin, always test your site performance afterward. This way, you’ll get an idea of how it impacts your blog.

3 – What Free WordPress Plugin Speeds Up Website?

Litespeed Cache is your go-to. This isn’t just your regular caching plugin. It’s a server-level cache, meaning it can sidestep PHP and database queries to supercharge your site.

But to squeeze the most juice out of it, your hosting needs to be running on LiteSpeed. If you’re scratching your head wondering if your setup’s compatible, you might want to double-check or consider another plugin.

However, if you’re on board, you’re in for a treat. From advanced image optimization features like WebP conversion to HTTP/2 Push (which lets the server send extra assets to the client even before they ask for it), this plugin’s got your back.

And if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, Litespeed Cache has presets to get you started. Just pick one, and it’ll optimize your site based on what works best for most users. But hey, if you’re the DIY type, feel free to customize your own presets.

I use this plugin on my blog despite not running it on the Litespeed host. And it still works great!

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