Why this list?
As a WordPress developer, I’m often asked for advice when people have been struggling with an issue for a long time. As widespread as WordPress is, there is almost always a tool that fits the task perfectly. Usually, there are actually many possible solutions, but it’s time-consuming to try them all.
Hence, this list. All the plugins mentioned are, in my opinion, the best in their field. I use them on at least a handful of websites, and have done so for a long time. The vast majority have thousands of users and active support.
Technical requirements for all recommended backend plugins
Backend plugins should save you hassle, not the other way around. That’s why I set some technical requirements, and if a plugin doesn’t meet them, I phase it out and find an alternative. All the listed plugins currently meet the following:
- WordPress 6.2.x compatible
- PHP 8.1 compatible
- Sets no cookies by default – GDPR-compliant
- Does not introduce any unreasonable performance loss
- Can be enabled/disabled as needed without breaking your website
- Any HTML output is valid according to validator.w3.org
But, isn’t it a bit frontend too?
The listed plugins improve your WordPress dashboard by adding functionality not built into WordPress core, but of course – translating texts with Loco Translate, uploading SVG image files with SafeSVG or changing the order of your posts with Simple Custom Post Order – affects the display of your content on the frontend. So depending on how they are used, most plugins can also be categorized as frontend plugins.
The list – with links to WordPress.org
Monitor and track WordPress activity. Be able to find out who did what when, via this great logging tool.
Customize lists of posts, pages and media to your needs. Add columns with featured image, excerpt, etc.
Export a complete website to a file and import it to a new address – perfect cloning or backup.
Remove comment spam without captchas or sending data to 3rd parties. Free and GDPR-compliant.
Search and replace text on your site, e.g. URL’s that have changed from HTTP to HTTPS. Use with caution.
Create custom block patterns easily, just like you design a blog post or a page with the block editor.
An safe way to add PHP snippets to your site, without having to modify functions.php or child theme.
Translate texts in your theme and plugins, directly in your dashboard. Create .PO files that survive updates.
Enable HTTPS once your web host has generated the SSL certificate and get the green padlock, simple.
Further reading: SSL certifikater and WordPress
Manually create 301 (permanent) and 404 (not found) redirects if you changed URL’s or have broken links.
Upload SVG image files to your media library. SVG scales perfectly, making it suitable for logos and illustrations.
Create small CSS and JS snippets, and turn them on/off as needed, in the header or footer, so handy,
Does your site work perfectly on mobile? Turn it into a Progressive Web App for Android and iOS,
Firewall and malware scanner for your website. Keeps hackers out and alerts you if vulnerabilities are discovered.
Further reading: Wordfence Firewall and Security Scanner
Use GDPR-compliant Matomo statistics instead of Google Analytics and view key metrics in dashboard.
Experience selected plugins in action
I test these and other plugins at oldrup.net with the latest WordPress and PHP versions.
If you manage a WordPress website, you’ll probably find a few useful plugins on this list. Remember: if you enjoy a plugin, let the developer know – at least with a proper review on WordPress.org. You can also contribute in support, it’s free – or donate an amount to the developer, it’s often a pat on the back they appreciate.
Was there anything you could use? Or do you know a good backend plugin I should check out? Then leave a comment below.