In 2021 the Internet celebrates its 52nd birthday. Over its not-so-long history, this human invention came a long way from the military intelligence network to the vast and universal tool, capable of exchanging massive amounts of information in a blink of an eye. And now it can force its own rules upon the world, overwhelming the individuals or even whole countries with its enormous collective consciousness.
Of course, world superpowers and prime IT companies are making their effort in taming it. And yet, the Internet already made us live in a cyberpunk world. Less noirish and not as much neon and wires, though. It crawled in the everyday life of common people, making it better, but at the same time making them dependent on it. If you are not using the web at all and your phone is something like a Nokia 3310, you are out of date.
However to make such a leap the Internet had to become easier to handle. There was a time when only specialists could use it properly. Now everyone can use it to the full extent. WordPress is a content management system that allows every person to build the website of their dreams. And plugins are tools to make that even easier. Although, there is one issue. It can be quite costly. Not everyone can afford a dozen subscriptions to get their website running.
And so, our team has made a list of free wordpress plugins that provide essential functions and don’t overload your site. Some of them are completely free, others provide all the necessary functions within a free version. Enjoy!
Elementor Website Builder by Elementor.com
Currently, there are two ways to build your website with WordPress. It’s either using a classic builder, where you need to actively write HTML code and CSS files. Which is not beginner-friendly. Or using a block editor. Elementor Builder is easy to grasp. It allows you to build sites as easily as drag and drop customizable blocks to adjust different elements on the page. What`s more important is it delivers most of its features for free. No wonder it is the top popular builder plugin.
WooCommerce by Automattic
When it comes to electronic trade, business means WooCommerce. If you want to turn your site into an online store, this plugin is by far the easiest solution. And it’s not like you have much of a choice. The only other option for WordPress is coding this feature directly into your site yourself.
To be fair it has no pro version, and it is a free plugin. However, some non-essential features are hidden behind a paywall in a form of paid addons. You can set up the store and start making money online and you really don`t need to know any code at all. It is integrated well into many other services, like PayPal. And what is even better is the most other companies must make WooCommerce compatibility for their plugins, since more often than not, their clients would need it.
PixelYourSite – Your smart PIXEL (TAG) Manager by PixelYourSite
“Pixels” are useful tools for gathering statistics about your site visiting. They are bits of HTML codes that need to be inserted into your web page. It allows them to connect with external services like Google Analytics or Facebook Event Manager. Nowadays they are necessary tools for every marketing team.
One of the plugins that allow you to manage all the “pixels” in a simple way is PixelYourSite. It has a premium version, but even the free one has all the necessary functions for the pixels of all the most popular services.
10Web Social Photo Feed by 10Web
In the modern world, social media are a force that should be reconned with… or should be abused. Among them, Instagram is particularly famous for how much more “media” is in it compared to “social”. Photos, videos, stories are cornerstones of it. This is especially useful for people whose work revolves around digital media.
10Web SPF is a plugin that fits nicely for photographers, designers, travelers, and overall anyone who wants to spice up their blog with videos and images from Instagram. It is a highly customizable and resource-efficient plugin that translates feed from Instagram to your site.
Really Simple SSL by Really Simple Plugins
Rather than being a complex addition to your site, this plugin function is quite simple but important. It helps you change the HTTP connection protocol of your site into HTTPS. The change seems rather small, but in reality, it can be a significant boost. First, it gives a layer of protection for data transmitted between sites via third-party encryption. Which in turn is supposed to protect the personal data of your visitors. Second, it makes the site higher in the google ranking and removes the annoying “your connection is not private” message whenever someone tries to access it.
Cookie Notice & Compliance for GDPR / CCPA by Hu-manity.co
Since General Data Protection Regulation was implemented in 2018, it becomes mandatory to include cookies notifications on your site. The countries that joined this regulation include the USA, most of the European countries, also Brazill, Kenya, South Korea, Chilly, and many others.
This plugin implements such a function into your site within a couple of clicks. It is easy, and you have an option to customize the banner. For example, you can add a localization, depending on the region your site visitor lives in.
Redirection by John Godley
Redirection is the most popular free WordPress plugin to clean up the site. Literally to fix the problems with 404 or 301 errors your site might possess. You can install this to keep an eye on your 404 errors and for creating a permanent redirect on the website level – from one web page on your domain to another in the same domain. It comes highly customizable and has different functions. Like transferring your permalink structures between sites. The value of this plugin lies in ranking up your site.
reCaptcha by BestWebSoft
No site can survive the Internet unspammed if it doesn`t have at least minimal protection. There are plugins like Wordfence or WP Cerber that constantly monitor your site, looking for threats. But it isn’t cheap and that kind of plugin will slow down your site.
For WordPress users, BestWebSoft offers our reCaptcha plugin, which allows you to implement a reCaptcha system into your site. It is a bare minimum passive defense against bots.
Managing this plugin does not require any coding experience. In-built settings allow you to implement any form of reCaptcha: “invisible” v2, checkbox v2, or reCaptcha v3 and tweak them as you see fit. User Guides are there to help you out with any issues you may encounter.
As you can see, all the necessary functions can be found within the free or at least freemium plugin range. It is possible to run your site just fine without a single penny of investment into them. Sure they will never be as powerful and as versatile as premium plugins. After all, their developers are making sure it is a profitable business for them. Sure, “100% free” plugins are quite simplistic in most cases.
But in reality, the web technologies are developed well enough that even a common user can create a site for pretty much any purpose. And WordPress can provide them with all the vital instruments to do so.