In this post, we recap cool and useful (oh, and free!) WordPress plugins available on the WordPress Plugin Directory. This month’s list includes everything from a new way to track down plugin conflicts to a way to control file downloads from your WordPress site.
1. Plugin Detective
By N Squared
Plugin Description: The Plugin Detective plugin helps you troubleshoot issues on your site quickly and easily to find the cause of a problem. Once the culprit is found, the problem plugin can be quickly deactivated. You can even fix your site when it has the white screen of death (fatal error).
- Winner of the 2018 WordCamp Orange County Plugin-a-palooza.
- This plugin is essentially a nice graphical wizard to help you step through the process of troubleshooting a problem plugin.
- It’s well executed and very friendly even for those with minimal technical knowledge.
2. WordPress Download Manager
Plugin Description: The WordPress Download Manager plugin is a Files/Documents Management plugin to manage, track and control file downloads from your WordPress Site. Use Passwords, User Roles to control access to your files, control downloads by speed or by putting a limit on download count per user, block bots or unwanted users or spammers using Captcha Lock or IP Block feature, you may also ask users to agree with your terms and conditions before they download.
- Probably the most well-executed and feature-rich document and download manager for WordPress.
- Can be something simple like a download list for all site visitors, or something as complex as a digital product sales platform.
- There are many settings that are not terribly intuitive, so plan on spending some time configuring this plugin. But chances are it will be worth it!
3. Query Monitor
By By John Blackbourn & contributors
Plugin Description: The Query Monitor plugin is the Developer Tools panel for WordPress. It includes some advanced features not available in other debugging plugins, including Ajax and REST API debugging, and the ability to narrow down its output by plugin or theme.
- A very useful tool to look inside each page of your site to see what’s happening on your site and identify any bottlenecks.
- See how quickly each page is generated, number of queries involved and peak memory usage.
4. Yoast SEO: Search Index Purge
By Team Yoast
Plugin Description: The purpose of the Yoast SEO: Search Index Purge plugin is to purge attachment URLs out of Google’s index as fast as possible. This helps sites that might have suffered from having too many thin content pages in the search index by removing them in the fastest way possible.
- This is a plugin you should consider adding to every site where you’re concerned with SEO.
- Returns a 410 status to all WP media attachment pages so that you don’t get a thin content penalty. Google has OK-ed this method.
- This is an add-on to Yoast SEO, so it must be active for this plugin to work.
- See settings under SEO > Search Appearance > Media
5. WP Easy Login
Plugin Description: The WP Easy Login plugin remembers the username of each user who logged-in to the site. Usernames are stored in the browser and displayed when you visit default login page of the website using the same browser. It is a very useful plugin when users have many accounts on the same site.
- Adds a cookie that remembers all the users that logged into a site on a particular browser. Select your user and enter the password to login.
- Settings page allows you to configure cookie lifespan and text labels.
- A very handy feature for scenarios where multiple users are logging in from the same computer.
6. Confetti Word Count
Plugin Description: With the Confetti WordCount plugin, you can get a quick overview of how much you’ve written weekly on your WordPress dashboard. Set a word count goal for your post and get a sense of how far you have written with a visual word count meter just below the text editor. Celebrate with confetti shower on the visual editor when you reach your word count goal.
- Nice little motivator for bloggers to reach content length goals.
- Dashboard widget showing historical writing stats is a nice addition as well.
- Access plugin settings from the Dashboard menu.
7. Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
By Brainstorm Force
Plugin Description: With the Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg plugin, you can supercharge Gutenberg with custom blocks. We have Advanced Heading Block as a start. We will add more blocks soon.
- Brainstorm Force has produced its Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder, Visual Composer / WP Bakery, Elementor. They’re now rolling out blocks for Gutenberg.
- Only the Advanced Heading module is currently available, but this is a nice peek into the kinds of things Gutenberg will enable for WordPress.
8. Gutenberg Ramp
By Automattic, Inc.
Plugin Description: Activating the Gutenberg Ramp plugin adds a settings screen where you can enable Gutenberg selectively (for specific post types). For even greater control, you can specify Gutenberg loading behavior in code. Ramp works with both the plugin version of Gutenberg, and the core version, providing a seamless transition.
- This is the official Gutenberg management plugin from Automattic.
- Installing and activating this plugin turns off Gutenberg completely until it is enabled per post type in the Settings > Writing area.
- Only post types that support Gutenberg will be listed here.
- Note: Pods custom post types by default are not compatible with Gutenberg unless the REST API is enabled for them in the Pod settings.
- We’ve previously talked about the Classic Editor plugin as the go to option to remove Gutenberg. This one is now the better option.
- Currently, when activated, Classic Editor requires that you uncheck a box manually in the Classic Editor Settings at Settings > Writing to disable Gutenberg.
- Currently, Gutenberg Ramp only requires installation and activation in order to disable Gutenberg completely. Then you can enable it gradually. This is a much better option.
9. Admin Live Search This Month’s Simple but Useful Plugin #1
Plugin Description: With the Admin Live Search plugin, you can live search pages and posts in the admin area as you type using the internal WordPress search.
- Adds “live” search to the page and post search box so that results are updated in real time.
- Works with standard custom post types (including WooCommerce products).
10. User Switching This Month’s Simple but Useful Plugin #2
By John Blackbourn & contributors
Plugin Description: The User Switching plugin allows you to quickly swap between user accounts in WordPress at the click of a button. You’ll be instantly logged out and logged in as your desired user. This is handy for test environments where you regularly log out and in between different accounts, or for administrators who need to switch between multiple accounts.
- This is a plugin I’ve mentioned a few times on plugin roundups in association with other plugins, but I’ve never included it on its own.
- Fantastic little plugin for quickly swapping to another user and back to test site content restrictions, or troubleshoot an individual user’s issues.
- This is a plugin that’s in my base stack for every site.
- You can also remotely log in and switch between users from iThemes Sync.
11. WPImager This Month’s Good Idea or Bad Idea Plugin
Plugin Description: The WPImager plugin is an image editor that lets you create all kinds of images like the logo and cover banner for this plugin shown above. The logo and cover were made with WPImager using circular text, gradient background, gradient text and a screenshot of the editor.
- This is a reasonably powerful image editor accessible from within WordPress.
- Interface is a little clunky (okay maybe a lot).
- Edited images can be sent to the Media Library with a click.