11 Free WordPress Plugins Every Niche Site Blogger Needs to Install [2023]

best free wordpress plugins for bloggers

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something through the links below, I will receive a commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

There are literally hundreds of great free WordPress plugins that can help bloggers manage, enhance, and optimize their website.

But rather than give you a giant list of all of these free plugins, I’m going to share with you the best free WordPress plugins for bloggers that I personally use and recommend.

Best Free WordPress Plugins

1. Rank Math – Best SEO Plugin

rank math wordpress plugin

In my experience, if you have a WordPress blog, the best SEO plugin to use is the Rank Math plugin.


  • Easy to follow setup wizard
  • Simple user interface
  • AI-generated content suggestions
  • Advanced Google Search Console integration
  • Best schema generator

Rank Math is my favorite plugin in my WordPress stack. It is super easy to set up and really helps structure your site for SEO best practices right out of the box.

The best part is it’s completely FREE!

2. Akismet – Best Spam Protection Plugin

akismet spam plugin

Nothing is more annoying than having to moderate spam post comments every day. 

Akismet is a free plugin that helps cut down on spammy comments.

In fact, Akismet reports that they block around 7.5 million pieces of spam per hour!


  • Been fighting spam since 2005
  • Integrated with top contact form plugins
  • Effectively fights WordPress comment spam
  • Personal Use license is FREE

Setting up Akismet is one of the first things you should do after installing WordPress.

3. Sucuri Security – Best Site Security Plugin

sucuri security plugin

The reality is that websites get hacked every day, and you are going to want to have protection from intruders.

Sucuri Security is a free plugin that will give you some basic protection against attacks.


  • Activity auditing
  • File integrity monitoring
  • Remote malware scanning
  • Security hardening

There is a paid version of Sucuri as well, but the only time I suggest upgrading to the premium version is when your site starts making money because by default that means there are more eyes on you.

Remember to always protect your investments.

4. Really Simple SSL – Best SSL Plugin

really simple ssl wordpress plugin

Want to make sure you have the little lock next to your URL when someone visits your site? 

Of course, you do!

First, you need to make sure that your site has a valid SSL certificate installed.

Thankfully most web hosting companies make it easy to install one for free.

Just install the Really Simple SSL plugin, and it will scan your settings and configure your entire site to run over HTTPS.


  • Easily migrate your site to SSL
  • Improves security for visitors
  • All incoming requests are redirected to HTTPS

Now you will have a secure website (and the little lock).

5. W3 Total Cache – Best Caching Plugin

w3 total cache homepage

Making sure your page loads quickly is directly correlated to your page’s bounce rate (% of users who leave a page without taking an action), which is in turn correlated to the number of pageviews.

More pageviews = MORE MONEY!

There are many different caching plugins, but W3 Total Cache is free and does an amazing job of speeding up sites for most configurations.


  • Significantly improves Google Page Speed performance
  • Compatible with all hosting
  • Improves Core Web Vital scores
  • Defers off-screen images using “lazy loading”

Pairing W3 Total Cache with the next free plugin on this list will give you a website that is blazing fast!

6. Autoptimize – Best Optimization Plugin

autoptimize optimization plugin

Most bloggers aren’t advanced coders. We need a little help getting all of the under-the-hood styles and scripts loaded correctly for optimal performance.

Autoptimize is the best free plugin to optimize your site’s code for speed.


  • Optimize JavaScript and CSS code
  • Aggregate JavaScript files
  • Inline and defer CSS
  • Optimize HTML code

Setting up Autoptimize on your website will most likely yield an immediate speed increase.

7. ShortPixel – Best Image Optimization Plugin

shortpixel image plugin homepage

The #1 culprit of slow-loading sites is unoptimized images!

The good news is that there is an excellent free plugin that will optimize your images on the fly. 

Shortpixel is free for up to 100 image optimizations per month which should be fine for most bloggers that are only publishing a handful of posts monthly.


  • 300,000+ active installs
  • Compress all image formats
  • Serve WebP image format
  • Optimize thumbnails and featured images
  • Bulk optimize existing images

WebP is a next-gen image format developed by Google that is smaller in size and will help your site load faster.

SEO is the art of making Google happy, so why not use their own image technology on your blog.

8. ThirstyAffiliates – Best Link Tracking Plugin

thirstyaffiliates wordpress plugin

If you are planning to promote products as an affiliate marketer on your blog then ThirstyAffiliates is a must-install plugin.

ThirstyAffiliates is a free plugin that lets you insert, cloak and manage your affiliate links.

You can easily take a long ugly affiliate link like:


and convert it into a branded easy to read link such as:



  • Cloak ugly affiliate links
  • Easily insert affiliate links into blog post
  • Never manually replace links again
  • Create link categories
  • Safe redirects and uncloaking

If you need to make a change to your affiliate link, ThirstyAffiliates make it easy to manage your link in the WordPress backend and automatically updates them all at once instead of having to manually change every single instance.

9. Advanced Custom Fields – Best Custom Fields Plugin

advanced custom fields ACF

Advanced Custom Fields is a WordPress plugin that allows you to add user-defined fields to any part of your site, including posts.

These custom fields let you store and display additional data on your website.

This type of functionality elevates your WordPress blog into a flexible content management system.


  • 30 different field types
  • Add fields on demand
  • Display data anywhere on your site
  • Intuitive user interface

Not every blogger is going to need Advanced Custom Fields, but if you are finding that WordPress isn’t giving you enough control over your posts, give ACF a try.

10. UpdraftPlus – Best Site Backup Plugin

updraftplus homepage

Wanna sleep better at night? Making sure your website is being frequently backed up will give you the ultimate peace of mind.

UpdraftPlus is a robust website backup solution, that sends a duplicate copy of your site to the cloud, so you never have to worry about losing all of your hard work in case of a disaster.


  • Restores as well as backs up
  • More cloud backup options than any competitor
  • Setup scheduled backups
  • Server resource-friendly
  • Used on over 3 million websites

Don’t simply rely on your webhost to backup your creation. Make sure you have an updated copy of your site in your possession at all times.

11. WP Word Count – Best Word Count Plugin

wp word count plugin

How many words do you have published on your site?

If you ever find yourself asking that question, WP Word Count has the exact answer for you.

WP Word Count is a free plugin that provides you a full breakdown of the total word count of your blog.


  • Quickly see # of posts and their word counts
  • Get estimated reading times for your content
  • View monthly writing output
  • See word counts broken down by post type

WP Word Count is the perfect example of a free tool you never knew you needed, but won’t be able to live without.

In conclusion…

As well as the plugins listed here, there are plenty of other great free options for WordPress users.

What are your favorite free WordPress plugins? Let us know in the comments below πŸ‘‡

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *