Top 10 Underrated WordPress Plugins
There are several lists of “Top 10” WordPress plugins around the Internet. Most of them, however, refer to the best or most popular plugins. Guess what, I’ve had enough of Akismet, Adsense Deluxe, Related Entries and company!
Jokes apart, those plugins are certainly awesome, but there are many others out there that can be life savers, and people often neglect them. Below you will the Top 10 Underrated WordPress plugins; if you think there is a plugin missing on the list just post a comment.
1. Custom Querry String
WordPress is a very flexible platform, but regulating the number of posts that are supposed to be displayed on the different pages is quite difficult. Most of the times you will want to display a limited number of posts on the Homepage while displaying a larger list for the categories, archives or search results pages, and this is not possible through the control panel. The solution for this problem is the Custom Querry String plugin, which allows you to configure this number individually for each page type.
2. Head Meta Description
While the Meta Keywords Tag is no longer used by most search engines, the Meta Description Tag still has some influence. Having the same Description Tag on all your pages, however, might be inneficient and send part of your website to the supplemental hell. This plugin is extremely easy to install and it will create a dynamic Meta Description Tag for every page on your blog, based on post excerpts or on the first words of the page.
3. Clean Archives
Most blogs have a “Monthly Archives” section on their sidebar, displaying a huge list of months and wasting some precious space. A more efficient structure for your archives would be a single page where all the posts are displayed, month by month. That is exactly what this plugin will do (you can see an example here). Notice that you might need the plugin below to install this one successfully.
Many plugins or WordPress features require that you run some PHP code. When you need to use those features or plugins inside static pages or posts, however, WordPress will not recognize the code. The solution for this problem is the Exec-PHP plugin. Once installed the plugin will enable PHP code on virtually all the pages of your blog. There are similar plugins available, but this one is the most reliable.
5. Enforce www. Preference
If your site can be accessed through http://www.domain.com and http://domain.com you might have some problems over the long run. Most search engines treat those addresses as two different domains, spliting your backlink count. In order to solve this issue you need to setup a 301 Permanent Redirect. The are several ways to setup this redirect, but if you are not familiar with PHP or if your host is not Linux based (for the .htaccess file) this plugin represents the simplest one. You just need to activate it and all the visitors and search bots will get redirected to the address that is specified on the WordPress control panel.
6. Chunk URLs
Ever experienced someone posting a huge URL on your comment section? Those long strings are not only ugly, but they might also break the design of your website on certain browsers. This plugin will trunk those long URLs into smaller ones, and you can even specify the amount of characters that the output should contain.
Sploggers are feed stealers are spreading out like fire. The first measure to protect your content is to add a copyright notice to your feed, possibly with a link pointing to your site. Sig2feed is a very light plugin that will do just that.
This plugin used to be called Feedburner Feed Replacement. It was so popular and efficient that Feedburner itself decided to buy it from the developer. Basically it will forward all the requests for your WordPress feed to Feedburner. It is very useful if you started using Feedburner after having some subscribers, or if you want to make sure that your feed statistics are completely accurate.
9. Jerome’s Keywords
This plugin is very similar to the Ultimate Tag Warrior, but it is much more user friendly. Once the plugin is installed you will be able to tag individual posts and to create an internal tag system and tag clouds. Secondly you can also use it to generate a dynamic Meta Keywords Tag.
WP-Cache is a very robust plugin that will increase the responsiveness of your website and reduce the server load. It is also very useful to handle sudden burts in traffic coming from social bookmarking sites. The plugin basically creates static versions of your pages and serves them without querrying the MySQL database.
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181 Responses to “Top 10 Underrated WordPress Plugins”
Google “how to blogger wordpress” or something along those lines :). There is plenty of advice on how to do the switch.
Go with your own domain, that is a must.
Great post. Just installed a couple of them. Head META Description should be very useful, thanks!
Cool, thanks for this!
Thanks very much for this! I just set up FeedSmith and the “www” preference plugin, and I’ll probably do a few of the others as well…
Delez, WP-Cache does not interfere with dynamic descriptions. It will cache every page individually, so they keep their unique description.
I did a similar list about a week back. The only plugin that is common to both the lists is SRG Clean Archives.
Many thanks for compiling this list. I’ve been looking for the functionality offered by the Custom Query String plugin for ages.
I recently wrote a WP stats plugin that you can use to display the number of posts, post wordcount, comments, comment wordcount, and more on your blog… Sorry for the shameless self-promotion, but I thought someone might be interested :). You can grab it at
Patches and hacks
I use Jerome’s keywords because I like it’s simplicity . I have even created two other pluging one for integrating google sitemaps with jerome’s keywords so that the tag pages will be included in the sitemap generated by the google sitemap plugin and and modified another to integrate the optimal titles plugin with jerome’s keywords so that the tag pages will have nice titles
Phil, check the bottom of the “source code” of your pages. There should be a message there saying “static page served by WP-Cache in 0.123 seconds”.
Alternatively you can use the service
Phil Van Treuren
I just installed the WP-Cache plugin and activated it, but I have to admit that I don’t really understand what it does. I’m not noticing any difference in load time or anything.
dalez, WordPress has a fast structure out of the box. Therefore if your web host is a top notch company maybe you will not need it.
If your server is not that fast though or if you want to save bandwidth or CPU usage than WP-Cache is an efficient solution.
I have been considering WP-Cache. Is the added speed really worth the effort?
Unique descriptions are a must have.
Daniel, installing the plug-in is on my to do list for today. Unfortunately I’ve misplaced my to do list so i’m in stuck in a productivity limbo!!! I read that its installed in over 2,700 blogs already.
Since I do a lot of series, I set up Custom Querry String to show categories in chronological order, so that new visitors can read the posts in order.
Dave, thanks for that one.
I had seen when they released that. Are you using it? I still have to play with it to see if it is worth.
WordPress recently released a wordpress.com stats plug-in. All the details are available
Great list. I actually didn’t know about a few of these. They will soon be implemented on my blogs! Thanks.
Yeah I use 5 on the list….
Ok great list Daniel 😀
I already use 7 of them
Out of all of those plugins, the clean archives definitely works the best for my blog.
Great list, Daniel.
I am using 4 of those. I haven’t heard of the sig2feed plugin. That sounds excellent. I’ve had several posts ripped off before, it’s always a bummer.
Then you have to take a look at
Francesco, thanks for the suggestions! If we end up with lots of plugins I will update the post with a “runners up” section!
Great post. Thanks for the tips. Now I just have to find time to implement!
I am biased, but here are two plugins I developed:
1) Category Cloud: show a colored tag cloud using categories as tags.
Fully customizable with css
2) FeedCount: shows your feedburner subscriber count without that ugly feedburner chicklet.
Fully customizable with css
I also find very useful iMP download, that handle and count the downloads.
Agreed on them being lesser rated than others, but wp-cache.. its on everyone’s list 🙂
I agree that WP-Cache is the “least” overrated from the list, in fact I placed it on the last position :).
CQS and Jerome’s? There are people recommending them, but I don’t think they are “mainstream” as some other plugins out there, despite being equally useful (the guy that developed Custom Querry String even stopped supporting it hehe).
Examples: Subscribe to comments, ultimate tag warrior, contact form, adsense deluxe, akismet, top commentators, and so on!
Based on my experience, I wouldn’t agree with some of the plugins on your list being underrated.
e.g. WP-Cache is always on everyones list. So is CQS and Jerome’s who are dedicated users of both.
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