My favourite WordPress backend plugins in 2024

All the listed WordPress plugins are, in my opinion, the best in their field, and they are all tested with WP 6.4 and PHP8.2

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 6.4.x compatible
  • PHP 8.2 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.

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Activity Log

Monitor and track WordPress activity. Be able to find out who did what when, via this great logging tool.

Admin Columns banner

Admin Columns

Customize lists of posts, pages and media to your needs. Add columns with featured image, excerpt, etc.

All-in-One WP Migration banner

All-in-One WP Migration

Export a complete website to a file and import it to a new address – perfect cloning or backup.

Antispam Bee banner

Antispam Bee

Remove comment spam without captchas or sending data to 3rd parties. Free and GDPR-compliant.

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Better Search Replace

Search and replace text on your site, e.g. URL’s that have changed from HTTP to HTTPS. Use with caution.

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Code Snippets

An safe way to add PHP snippets to your site, without having to modify functions.php or child theme.

Banner showing a broom and the text 'Clean Image Filenames'

Clean Image Filenames

Ensures media file names work correctly on servers and in browsers. Supports images and PDFs.

Banner graphics for the accessibility checker plugin with the text: Find accessibility problems fast. Unlimited scans of post and pages. WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility guidance.

Equalize Digital Accessibility Checker

Provides accessibility error notifications and warnings directly in the block editor for your post or page.

Further reading: Accessible content with Accessibility Checker

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EWWW Image Optimizer

Automatic server-side compression and scaling of JPG, PNG and PDF image files.

Banner, der viser et skærmbillede af et WordPress admin dashboard, nu med en sidegenereringstid på ca. 300 ms.

Gentime

Shows administrators the time in seconds for how fast the page loaded in WordPress.

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LiteSpeed Cache

All-in-one site acceleration plugin with server-level caching and many optimisation features.

MRW Simplified Editor banner med teksten: 'Just write. Just right'

MRW Simplified Editor

Help your editor create semantic content and style it with the theme for consistent formatting and portable content.

Further reading: Improve block editor UX with MRW Simplified Editor

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Loco Translate

Translate texts in your theme and plugins, directly in your dashboard. Create .PO files that survive updates.

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Really Simple SSL

Enable HTTPS once your web host has generated the SSL certificate and get the green padlock, simple.

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Redirection

Manually create 301 (permanent) and 404 (not found) redirects if you changed URL’s or have broken links.

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SafeSVG

Upload SVG image files to your media library. SVG scales perfectly, making it suitable for logos and illustrations.

Simple Custom CSS and JS banner

Simple Custom CSS and JS

Create small CSS and JS snippets, and turn them on/off as needed, in the header or footer, so handy,

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Super Progressive Web Apps

Does your site work perfectly on mobile? Turn it into a Progressive Web App for Android and iOS,

Create secure, self-expiring, automatic login links for WordPress. Give them to developers when they ask for admin access to your site. Or an editor for a quick review of work done. Login works just by opening the link, no password needed.

Temporary Login Without Password

Create secure, temporary, automatic login links. Works without the need for a password.

The SEO Framework banner is a graphical representation of a night sky with stars, and a rising curve - maybe visitor count?

The SEO Framework

Fast and powerful SEO plugin that follows the recommendations of WordPress and the search engines.

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Wordfence Security

Firewall and malware scanner for your website. Keeps hackers out and alerts you if vulnerabilities are discovered.

Further reading: Wordfence Firewall and Security Scanner


In conclusion

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.

Bjarne Oldrup

Bjarne Oldrup

Bjarne is a web developer with a passion for a sustainable, inclusive and respectful internet.

With a background as a computer technician, graduating in 1992, he has worked as a programmer, system administrator and network specialist. Today, he focuses on website carbon footprint, web accessibility and GDPR compliance.

For the past decade, Bjarne has primarily worked for medium-sized companies until, in 2021, together with Lars Bengtsson, he went freelance at the company SustainableWeb.dk to help customers with their websites' carbon footprint and to further develop and communicate healthy web habits.

WordPress, HTML, CSS and LiteSpeed web servers are Bjarne's favourite tools, and the open-source community is his comfort zone.

kommentarer

  1. Thank you, this is a helpful list! I already use a handful but it’s nice to have a selection of sensibly vetted options. Now I’m off to read your WordFence post as I have been avoiding that plugin for a few years due to some terrible performance issues…

  2. I’m glad you like the list, Arp, and thank you for your comments. It is a great motivation to continue sharing what I learned.

    Regarding Wordfence performance issues, have you encountered any of these yourself? I haven’t been able to measure any noticeable performance hits on any installation, and I’ve been using Wordfence on many different hosts. You should make sure you meet the system requirements, and you can consider the “Use low resource scanning” option.

    Brute-force blocking and two-factor authentication are some of the strongest countermeasures you can implement to avoid hacking. Neither of these should introduce any performance overhead, whatsoever.

  3. It has been at least 3 and possibly 5 years since I’ve used WF, and iirc at the time it – like other security plugins – was known to affect performance. But things may have improved since.

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