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The Best Theme and popular Plugins for WordPress

category:  WordPress

As a WordPress developer, you want to deliver the best solution for your client. Choosing the best and perfect theme and plugins for the clients’ site, is something I always do. Today I will share with you what theme and plugins I normally choose for my quality clients.

Note

Themes and plugins are changing from time to time. You must check the compatibility, loading performance, and securities issues before using them for your clients’ sites.

Astra theme

Astra theme is my favorite theme so far. The theme has been improved since it is released. With the Astra theme, you easily change the header and footer section via the Customizer section. Astra theme also provides an online document which is very useful.

Astra theme offers Free and Paid packages. The Paid package has two choices to choose from. One is an annual renewal and another is a one-time payment. For the paid version, you can cancel anytime. After cancel, you still can use the theme but you can not update to the theme in the future.

Astra child theme

I always create the child theme if I don’t create the theme from scratch. For the Astra child theme, you can simply generate your child theme from this link. The child theme is a MUST if you need to add the custom code that needs to hook into the “functions.php“.

Personally, I don’t add all custom code into the “functions.php” if I can add them to the custom plugin. This’s way, I can disable and enable the functionalities I want or the client wants easily via the plugins page.

Themeforest by EnvatoMarket

Themeforest

Themeforest is run by Envato market. The platform offers large collections for WordPress. The price is a one-time payment. Many digital agencies use the theme from Themeforest. However, not every theme in Themeforest provides well-documentation and code quality. You will need to pick the theme wisely.

Template kits for Elementor

Since Elementor is the most popular page builder nowadays. Just like the Astra theme, Elementor has been improved since it is released. There is one cool feature from Elementor called “Template“. Elementor allows you to save your design from Elementor editor as a template. You can either save the whole page as a page template or select only one section and save it as your section template. Then on your website, you can load your saved templates and reuse them on any page and posts via Elementor editor.

Furthermore, Elementor allows you to export your saved templates and use them on another WordPress website. It is so convenient and time-saving for web designers or developers.

So if you already have your favorite theme and don’t want to change the theme, you can use the Elementor plugin as well as the Elementor template feature. Together, you can create new designs with your existing theme. If you want to start the new design faster, you can buy template kits for Elementor from Themeforest. It will boost your productivity.

Plugins

There are almost 50 plugins I use. But I don’t add them all to one site. Basically, I pick only the necessary plugins that the site needs regarding the requirements. Also, don’t forget to check the compatibility, loading performance(both frontend and backend), and security issues before using them on the site.

Security plugins

It is the most popular WordPress firewall & security scanner. It is easy to configure. Plus, you can create a new account and then use Wordfence central to control all WordPress sites in place.

This plugin simply renames the default login URL to something else. You can rename the new login slug you want but it should not predict easily.

Image optimization plugins

The Smush plugin is very handy for the client. It will optimize the image when the user uploads the image via the Media library. For me, I like to optimize the images via Adobe Photoshop before uploading them to the site. It is up to you.

Another alternative from the Smush plugin is EWWW Image Optimizer.

Cache plugins

WP Rocket is the best cache plugin in the market. If you have some budget for the loading performance, I recommend trying WP Rocket.

It is one of the most popular free cache plugins for WordPress. It provides a lot of options to configure. It is friendly with developers.

Using SiteGround for your WordPress hosting, you have a lot of benefits. One of the benefits is a built-in caching solution. I recommend you enable Caching feature from your SiteGround dashboard. You don’t need WP Rocket if you enable Caching feature in SiteGround.

If your web server is a LiteSpeed server, this plugin may fit you.

Improve loading speed plugins

The Asset Cleanup plugin is for developers. The plugin allows you to the CSS and JS files to load or unload on each page. In order to do that, you need the developing knowledge. Otherwise, your site may break. The result is the loading speed faster.

Form plugins

The WPForms plugin is easy to use. It is a drag and drop form builder. If you are looking for a simple contact form, this plugin may fit your need.

The Fluent Forms plugin is another drag and drop form builder. It is super easy to use. The free version comes with a ton of features.

Social Sharing plugins

The Sassy Social Share plugin lets your viewers share the content over Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linkedin, Whatsapp, and more. The admin interface is simple and easy to use.

The Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed plugin lets the display Instagram posts from your Instagram accounts.

ShareThis is not a WordPress plugin. You can generate the code based on your settings from the ShareThis website and add the code to your site.

AddThis is not a WordPress plugin. It works similarly to ShareThis.

Slider plugins

The Smart Slider 3 plugin is my favorite slider plugin. The plugin provides the pre-built sliders that make you start your own slider quickly. This slider is a layer slider. It is easy to use. The loading performance is fast. The slider sometimes can slow down your site but with Smart Slider 3, it doesn’t. The plugin offers both Free and Paid versions. The Paid version is a one-time payment.

Page Builder plugins

As I mentioned earlier, Elementor is my favorite page builder plugin nowadays. I used other page builder tools in the market before but Elementor really stands out. If you need some new Elementor widgets, you can create one as well. Elementor provides the API doc for it.

The Elementor Header&Footer builder plugin works with the Elementor plugin only. Mostly I will use this plugin with the Free Elementor plugin. It allows you to create the header and footer section you want.

The Essential Addons for Elementor plugin works with the Elementor plugin. It is a ton of Elementor widgets you can use via Elementor editor.

Translation plugins

The TranslatePress plugin is the one that I think is easy to use and translate the content. The plugin offers a Free and Paid version. The Free version doesn’t come with SEO URL translation.

WPML plugin is another popular translation plugin in the market. There is only Paid version. The most popular package is Multilingual CMS.

Custom Post Type plugins

Custom Post Type UI plugin is awesome. It lets you create any custom post type you want in the friendly user interface. Of cause, you can create by your own code. But using the plugin is time-saving.

Custom Fields plugins

Advanced Custom Fields plugin is the best custom fields plugin by far for me. It is easy to use. If you need to add the custom code by using the custom fields, you can get the data via API. The plugin provides the well-documentation so you won’t have any issues. The plugin offers Free and Paid versions.

Login and Customize the login form plugins

Nextend Social Login plugin allows the users to log in to the site via their social login (Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Linkedin, Amazone, Paypal, Line, WordPress.com, Disqus, Yahoo, Discord). The plugin offers both Free and Paid versions. The Free version allows only Facebook, Google, and Twitter login. The Paid version is a one-time payment. Using social login is another convenient way for the end-user. Since they don’t need to have another login and remember it.

The Custom Login Page Customizer plugin allows you to custom the login form. You can custom logo, background, button, and more. Make the login is unique for your client.

The Custom Login Page Customizer by Colorlib plugin allows you to custom the login form as same as the one above.

Custom fonts plugins

If you need to add custom fonts to the site, the quick way is using the Custom fonts plugin(support woff2, woff, ttf, svg, eot, otf). Some clients need to use the font that comes with the brand identity. So you must use their fonts. The uploaded font will work with the Elementor plugin and Astra theme as well.

Upload SVG plugins

The SVG Support plugin allows you to upload the SVG file to the Media library. The main purpose of this plugin is to allow you to style and animate your SVG elements.

Custom CSS and JS plugins

Simple Custom CSS and JS

The Simple Custom CSS and JS plugin allows you to add the custom CSS and JS and set the position you want to add the custom code (Header or Footer). The custom code will stay if you change the theme. If you add the CSS in the additional CSS via Customizer, the custom CSS will disappear when you change the theme. It is handy when you want to add the custom CSS and JS to tweak your site or add the Google Analytics script.

Reset WordPress plugins

The WP Rest plugin lets you reset the WordPress database to the default installation without modifying any files. It is helpful when you test and debug the site.

Import and Export Customizer plugins

The Customizer Export/Import plugin is useful when you forget to create the child theme and you already configure the site via Customizer. Before you activate the child theme, just export the customizer settings using this plugin and then activate the child them. Finally, import the customizer settings back to the activated child theme.

User Role Managment plugins

The User Role Editor plugin allows you to change user roles and capabilities easily.

Migration plugins

The WP Migration DB plugin lets you migrate the database from the old site to the new site easilies. I never have any problem using this plugin before. It is working 100% perfectly. For other files, you must migrate manually from the old site to the new site, and don’t forget to change the config file on the new site as well.

Backup and Restore plugins

The UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup plugin allows you to create the backup file and also restore it from the backup file. You can set the schedule for backup or do backup manually.

Redirection plugins

The Redirection plugin allows you to set the redirect page to another. You can manage all redirections in one place. I don’t recommend to beginners using this plugin.

Coming soon page, Maintenance mode, Landing page plugins

This plugin allows you to create the coming soon page and landing page easily and fast. Also, it lets you create and enable the maintenance mode quickly.

Replace Image plugins

The Enable Media Replace plugin allows you to replace the existing image in your Media Library. You don’t need to delete and reupload in order to replace the old image anymore. Time-saving!

SEO helper plugins

The Yoast SEO plugin is the top SEO plugin for WordPress. It helps you focus on the keyword and write quality content in order to support the focus keyword on your page. It works with Elementor editor as well.

The Rank Math SEO plugin is another popular SEO plugin. It is similar to the Yoast SEO plugin. It also works with Elementor editor.

Pop Up plugins

The Popup Maker plugin allows you to create a simple popup for your site.

Post Views Counter plugins

The Post Views Counter plugin allows you to display how many times a post, page, or custom post type had been viewed. The counter can display on the frontend and backend. You can hide the counter from the frontend if you want.

Search plugins

The Ajax Search Lite plugin is a live search for WordPress. You can filter the results with category and post type as well. It works with WooCommerce. It is compatible with WPML and QtranslateX.

Duplicate Post and Page plugins

The Yoast Duplicate Post plugin lets you clone posts of any post type or copies them to new drafts.

MISC plugins

The Post Types Order plugin allows you to change the post order by drag and drop.

The Category Order and Taxonomy Terms Order plugin allows you to change the order by drag and drop.

The To Top plugin adds the arrow up when users scroll down. When users click on the arrow, the page will move up to the top. It is useful for the desktop and the page has long content.

The Call Now Button plugin does as it says. It is a Call Now button that shows on the mobile. Let users call you easily.

The Dashboard Widget Suite plugin provides useful widgets to add to your dashboard. The most useful are User Notes, Debug log, and PHP error log.

The Download Monitor plugin provides the interface for upload and managing the downloadable files. It also supports versioning.

The Post SMTP mailer/Email Log plugin replaces the default WordPress SMTP library and PHP Mailer with the Zend_Mail. If you have any issues with sending out emails, this plugin may solve your issue. Apart from that, the plugin logs your email as well. For every email that sends out from WordPress, the plugin will log them all.

If you use Block editor(Gutenberg Blocks) which is a default text editor from WordPress, the Kadence Blocks plugin is very useful for you. It comes with a bunch of blocks you can use including a “Table of content” block.

Conclusion

Choosing the theme and plugins is very important as same as choosing the web hosting. The choices you make affect the whole site performance. Helpfully, my post will be useful for you. Have a nice day!