24 Essential WordPress Maintenance and Security Plugins

24 Essential Maintenance and Security Plugins for your WordPress Site

Here at Headway, we feel there are just certain plugins that you need to have in your arsenal. While you may not need a plugin from every category for every site, these are the Maintenance & Security plugins we think you should be aware of!

SEO

Both All In One SEO and Yoast are free and boast a lot of features so which one you prefer mostly comes down to personal preference.

The free version(s) of the plugins both offer:

  • Sitemap
  • add Social Meta data
  • Automated Meta tag creation
  • Works out of the box
  • And more!

Each plugin’s free version then has some specific features not found in the other so you’ll have to review them to find the one that has what you’re looking for. Both also offer premium versions.

In addition to unlimited usage and premium support All In One Premium boasts:

  • Feature Manager and plugin modules
  • Video XML Sitemap module
  • Advanced custom post type options
  • Control SEO for categories, tags and custom taxonomies

Yoast Premium offers premium support and

  • a redirect manager
  • tutorial videos for the plugin

But there are different licenses to purchase and that determines how many sites you can get updates and support for.

Spam Protection

While Akismet seems to be the most well-known spam protection plugin, it also is not free for commercial use.  Non-commercial use you can name your own price, which as of this writing, can be $0.

However, a real hidden gem is WordPress Zero Spam which is not only free, it does a better job than Akismet.

Speed/Loading Time

We’re big fans of W3 Total Cache and we’ve heard wonderful things from our community about WP Rocket.  W3 Total Cache is free and has a lot of options but takes some time to configure well.  WP Rocket is premium but works out of the box with no confusing configuration.  Both help tremendously with loading times.

If you use CloudFlare, we recommend checking out the CloudFlare plugin for best results with your WordPress site.

One thing that often creates loading time for sites are large images not optimized for the web.  For that job, we can recommend EWWW Image Optmizer or WP Smush.   Both work really well.

Lastly, we also really like the Heartbeat Control plugin for helping decrease requests/loading time.

Thumbnail Regeneration

If you change image sizes in your WordPress settings or various other changes, you will need to regenerate some thumbnails.  For that task, we like Onet Regenerate Thumbnails or Force Regenerate Thumbnails.  Both do the job very well and are a must!

SSL

If you install an SSL certificate on your site, then you’re going to want to look at Force HTTPS which forces all pages/posts to load via HTTPS.  It just works and there’s an option to make the admin load over HTTPS too.

Role/Capability Management

We’ve been big fans of Justin Tadlock’s Members but there are times when you need more control.  For those times, we recommend Users Ultra and User Role Editor.

Backups

Backups are so very important and we have some tools that will make your life easier.  Both Duplicator and WP Clone are free and offer restoration and migration with its backups.  Duplicator takes a full backup of the entire WordPress install while WP Clone only backs up the user files.  Because of this, WP Clone requires a fresh WordPress install at the new location but no FTP access.  Neither supports scheduled backups, however the premium version of Duplicator (Duplicator Pro) DOES support scheduled backups but we have not tested it.

And then you have BackupBuddy which while premium, is worth every penny.  We also have a discount code that is available only to Headway customers.  BackupBuddy offers:

  • scheduled back-ups
  • remote destinations, including FTP/SFTP, S3, Dropbox, Google Drive and more.
  • Database rollback
  • Restore/migrate sites
  • Deploy selected changes from a dev site to a live site and vice versa (downside is that this is not a full staging environment because it will overwrite data instead of only merging)
  • And more!

Security – Prevent Hack

You’ve got so many options here so you’ll need to research which one fits your needs.

iThemes SecurityAll in One WP SecurityWordfence Security and Sucuri are all great options.  You really need a security plugin these days to try to prevent a hacking or malicious user.

We also like Clef because it lets you choose to allow login via your phone (using Clef) or require it.  A downside is that if you are admin and something happens to your phone, you’ll need to modify the database to allow entry.

Security – After a Hack

After you discover a hack, you’ll want to scan your site.  We have a few tools we really like for this. Sucuri SecurityWordfence Security and Anti-Malware and Brute-Force Security by ELI are free and allow you to search for malware and/or changed files.

You’ll want to have at least one of them on hand at all times.

And that’s a wrap.  Stay tuned to the next post in this series where we go over the essential plugins that add features to your WordPress site!

 

Headway Themes Extend: Our Marketplace for Headway Add-ons

We’d like to introduce or re-introduce you to Headway Themes Extend.  Read on for explanations of what it is, how to sell on Extend, why you should use it, and how to use it.

What is Headway Themes Extend?

It is our add-on marketplace for Headway.  It features products released officially from Headway and also products from our wonderful community members.

Why should you purchase from Headway Themes Extend?

You can purchase a Template to jump start your design or a block or plugin to extend the functionality of Headway.   We work with our 3rd party developers/designers to ensure compatibility with new Headway releases.

All items added to Extend must meet certain standards and requirements.  Each item is tested by the Headway Themes team to ensure those standards and requirements are met.  Additionally, each product is required to be updated regularly to address any issues reported and to maintain compatibility with the latest release of Headway and the designer/developer must maintain support for the product. Finally, and probably most importantly, by purchasing from Extend, you are supporting and cultivating the marketplace.

Purchase from Headway Themes Extend

It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Login to your members dashboard.  This ensures that all of your purchases are under one account
  2. Find the item in extend and add it to your cart
  3. Proceed to checkout (don’t forget to add any discount code)

Once the purchase is complete, you will then receive a confirmation email with download links to your purchases.  You can also always access your downloads in your members dashboard.

Sell on Headway Themes Extend

We would love to keep adding more items to our marketplace for our community to purchase.  If you are interested, please make sure you read our documentation including the checklist for the type of item you are submitting (Templates or Blocks).  Additionally, you can review the items already on Extend to get an idea of the types of Design/Block standards we have.

While we do not add every item submitted to us, we will definitely work with you to get your product to meet the standards set out.

We are a small team and as we test each and every item there can be a waiting period for testing your product for inclusion in Extend.  We thank you in advance for your patience.

So what are you waiting for?  Head on over to Headway Themes Extend now!

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