My Top 10 Best WordPress Plugins

I get many people emailing me about all the various plugins I run on my blog. The emails come so often that I have decided to compile a list of the 10 WordPress plugins I am running. I also provide links to where you can download the plugins. Enjoy!

Sidebar Widget

The Sidebar Widget is one of the most useful plugins made for WordPress. The Widget allows you to customize the look of your sidebar without having to edit the PHP files. With Sidebar Widget, you just drag and drop items you want included in the sidebar and the Widget does the rest. The only downside is the Sidebar Widget only works with Widget compliable WordPress templates. If the template you are using is not Widget friendly, you cannot use it.

AdSense Deluxe

The AdSense-Deluxe WordPress Plugin allows you to add Google AdSense or Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) ads to your WordPress posts. The plugin is extremely easy to install and use. Just download, unzip and upload to your plugins folder. The plugin will place an AdsenseDeluxe screen to your WordPress options panel. From there you can create multiple AdSense ad units and decide what parts of the site should have or not have ads, and what ad size to run. You can even add it within your WordPress templates. An AdSense SandBox preview tool is also included.

The cool thing about AdSense Deluxe is it keeps tracks of the number of Google ads displayed and limits that number to three (the maximum number of ads Google allows on a page). That is why you may see a 300×250 box ad in a blog post but that ad disappears when the post is viewed from the front page.

Digg This

Digg This is a plugin that detects incoming links from and automatically display a link back to the Digg post, for people to Digg your story. When a Digg is first recognized, an email lets you know that someone has Dugg your story. The detection of the Digg comes from the referring Digg URL. In case there are more than one Digg posts to your page, only the first one is considered.

There are many options to choose from in order to display the Digg link. The most popular is the Digg button that displays the number of Diggs a story received. You can see this Plugin in action at this post. Alternatively, you can Digg this story and see the button show up here. 🙂

The Plugin is very easy to install and use – just upload the file to your Plugins folder and activate it in your WordPress Plugins control panel. Then add < ?php digg_this_button(); ?> to the part of the blog template where you want the button to appear.

Feedburner Feed Replacement

I recently updated my blog RSS feed to FeedBurner because it gives a ton of information about my RSS subscribers. Not only can FeedBurner tell you how many people read your feeds, but it also tell you what RSS readers they use, what posts they read, where they come from, etc.

The easiest way to install FeedBurner on a WordPress blog is to use the FeedBurner Plugin. This Plugin direct 100% of your feed traffic through FeedBurner, ensuring accurate readership stats. To install, all you need to do is upload the file to your Plugins folder, then activate it in your WordPress control panel. Then just enter the FeedBurner URL for your RSS feed and you are all set. The cool thing about this Plugin is that it automatically converts any existing subscribers from the old feed to the FeedBurner one.

Related Posts

This Plugin, available from Mr. Wasabi, will find other blog posts that are related to the current post. This is a good way to generate extra page views and keep readers on your blog. The Plugin allows you to set how many related posts to display and gives you options for displaying them. There are also options to exclude excerpt and password protected pages. The performance of the Related Post Plugin is pretty good. For example, in my Dinner At Tropika post, it found these related posts:

Dinner With The Parents
$20 To Stamp Your Papers
Dinner With Mom & Dad
The Observatory Had No View
Dinner With VIA & S3

Recent Comments

This plugin comes with WordPress and retrieves a list of the most recent comments. You can see it in action on the right menu. Like the Related Posts plugin, Recent Comments can help increase blog page views. It also encourages people to comment more, which is always a nice thing.

Optimal Title

Optimal Title mirrors the function of wp_title() exactly, but moves the position of the separator to after the title rather than before. This allows you to have your blog name tacked on to the end of the page title instead of having it appear first. In other words, instead of John Chow dot Com >> The Title Of The Blog Post, it will show The Title Of The Blog Post < < John Chow dot Com.

Why would you want to do this? Because having your page information appear before your blog name in the title provides more meaningful search engine results. It is very helpful when the title of your page is very long since most search engine place a limit on the number of charters to display. Having the title go first allows the search engine user to get a better idea on what the page is about. I modified the codes so that the home page displays both my name and the blog description. Before it just displayed my name.

Google Sitemap Generator

This plugin generates a Google Sitemaps compliant sitemap for your WordPress blog. A sitemap helps Google to index all the pages on your blog. Whenever you update, or add new content to your blog, the plugin will generate a new sitemap for Google to use. In addition to saving you time, this plugin will help get your site indexed by Google much faster.

Akismet Comment Spam Killer

This Plugin comes preinstalled with WordPress and I highly recommend it. When a new comment, trackback, or pingback comes to your blog, it is submitted to the Akismet web service that runs hundreds of tests on the comment and returns a thumbs up or thumbs down. There is no blacklist because part of the idea of Akismet is that you are always protected up-to-the-second from the latest dirty tricks of spammers.

To turn on Akismet just go into the Plugins section of your WordPress control panel and activate it. The software does require an API key however. You can get a free key by signing up for a WordPress account.

WordPress Database Backup

This plugin comes installed with WordPress and provides an easy way to backup your WordPress database. You may download the backup file, or have it emailed to the address of your choice. I know how bad I am about keeping my stuff backed up so plugins like these are a Godsend. The plugin is very easy to use – just activate and then select “Backup” under “Manage” in your WordPress control panel.

116 thoughts on “My Top 10 Best WordPress Plugins”

  1. ralphieb says:

    Looks like you forgot to close one of your tag , rest of your blog are in bold :p

  2. John Chow says:

    WordPress is screwing up. I did close the tag but WordPress is not including it! This is messed up!

  3. John Chow says:

    Finally fixed! Man, that was a major headache!

  4. Matt says:

    Nice list here John.

  5. Steve says:

    I find that the Heat Map plug-in is one of those plug-ins that you can live without but definitely adds to our Sharepoint BUZZ site.

    “Displaying a heat map (aka weighted list) of your categories and your monthly archives. Activity in any given category or month can be indicated by varying font sizes, color intensities or both.”

    Heat Map Plugin

    Sharepoint BUZZ

  6. Eli says:

    I need to check out if that sitemap generator works.. like now 😛

    Nice list, I’ve got a few plugins on my main wordpress site at the moment.

    On another note, I think you site might have a few too many ads for a personal blog.. just my thoughts.


  7. mac says:

    Nowdays i really dont like your blog , bcoz now you are writing only for DIGG, it’s bad.

  8. John Chow says:

    Mac – I didn’t do this article for a Digg, and I wasn’t the one who submitted it. As I stated at the beginning, I get emailed about these plugins daily. Now, they don’t have to email me. 🙂

  9. MaxPower says:

    The ordered list plugin has a security issue that has been identified which would allow someone to redirect your feed to anywhere they want. Bad news. Opt instead for the AntiLeech plugin which redirects your feed to feedburner and protects your blog from scrapers. Nice list nonetheless!

  10. chuwei says:

    congrats you hit the digg frontpage once again. =)

  11. Flashman says:

    Nice list, I’m seriously considering switching to WP from Drupal. Need to have a play around with it first and this list has given me a few things to think about.

  12. “WordPress is screwing up. I did close the tag but WordPress is not including it! This is messed up!”

    Chances are it was like <strong/> and you tried to close it with </strong>, which does nothing.

  13. artsky says:

    how about useronline and number of views plugin? i think they are also great

  14. you missed a lot ….

  15. John Chow says:

    I’m sure I missed a ton of plugins, but this is a list of plugins that I am currently using. I would love to find more. If you come across a great plugin, please let me know.

  16. 3stripe says:

    Nice list, Optimal Title is a new one to me.

    Personally I would include Role Manager in this as well ( as it a) lets you hugely simpify the admin menu and b) stops users messing with things they shouldn’t

  17. Adam says:

    Wow these lists keep being made and people actually dig them when they are forgetting one key plugin.

    “Viper’s Video Quicktags”

    Google this plugin if you want a way to add YouTube, Google Video and other videos to your site it is very easy to use.

    I run it on my website

    That’s all I have to say.

  18. The “mullet layout” plugin also deserves a mention. It shows more posts on your wordpress frontpage — in a very usable way.

    The recent posts has an excerpt, and older posts are only showed with a title. That increases findability and makes frontpage better layed out.

    We use it at and are very satisfied with the layout. Currently our frontpage show 5 recent articles with excerpt, and 35 following with title only (the “Mullet”: longer in the neck).

    Actually, we’re thinking about making the mullet even longer — maybe 50-60 posts or so.

    Thomas Watson has made a good witeup on usability perspectives for “the Mullet” over at, and you can download it from brainspill: WordPress mullet plugin

  19. Brandon says:

    Very useful list. I’m downloading two of these plugins immediately.


  20. GM says:

    Thanks for the list. I already have some of them but gonna try the ones I don’t have.


  21. Uh.... says:

    Well here’s a blogpost made for digg if I ever saw one–another “top x whatevers” list where 3 out of your 10 come included with WordPress. Why even bother?

  22. Char says:

    Thanks for this list! I am going to look into using the related posts one ASAP.

  23. i also use and recommend all of these…

  24. Richard says:

    Sweeeet–Many thanks John! Nice site btw.

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  27. Eli says:

    600+ diggs, not bad man 😉

    I just went and installed the related posts thing. Wasn’t impressed at first because it wasn’t working properly, but it seems to be doing alright now. Tell me, do you add the keywords into your posts so the plugin picks them up or not?

  28. WTJ says:

    wp database backup provided a leak for hacker to hack into your wp.. so if you’re not using it, deactivate it for safety issue

  29. Justin says:

    @John Chow:

    I suggest you take a glimpse at my WWW Redirection Plugin. The entire mission of the plugin is to resolve the conflict of google contributing two seperate page ranks to our blogs. First, you receive a pagerank for which currently is 4 and you receive a page rank for without the www subdomain which is currently at a 2.

    If I link to your website utilizing the non www version than I am contributing a backlink to your non-www pagerank, so I’m increasing your 2 when you should want me working on the 4.. true?

    WWW Redirect solves this issue by adding or removing the www from your address URI prior to the user actually receiving any data from the server.

    It happens behind the scenes per se, anyways check it out and let me know what you think. I definitely believe it is essential for any blog!

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  31. Calvin Tang says:

    Thanks for the list John, I found at least a few of them to be immediately useful. Kudos!

  32. cordiaz says:

    Thanks John Cow, I made your posting as part of my new posting about 10 best plugin for wordpress. I’ll be install all plugin you’ve recommended.

  33. Thanks John! I uploaded quite a few of them. One I was looking for was a “recent posts” like you have in your sidebar.

  34. Keith says:

    Nice piece of information. But there are others too, such as Shoutbox and WP-online. I do agree that Google Sitemap plugin is a must-have. I have used some of those plugins at my WordPress sites.

  35. Lover says:

    why so many haters?

  36. another john says:

    hi, John Chow. just a simple question.

    how you manage to put on 3 google Ads on your front page.

    If I insert the code into every posting. then I got this problem , i gonna show more than 3 Ads on the frontpage.

    but you only showed 3. how you do that?

    thank you for helping me out.

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  38. Thanks for the tips!

    I already use many of the plugins you mentioned..a few I have never seen. I am going to check them out ASAP!

    also, I would recommend the google sitemap plugin to anybody running a wordpress blog. I have been using it for about 6 months and it has really improved my search engine traffic.

  39. techblology says:

    this is a great list. I’ll be using just about all of these

  40. also, a plugin I found that is pretty cool is the msn search stat plugin:

    It shows the number of search results that appear on MSN relating to your blog/site.

    I might consider it #11 in the list 😉

  41. sanford says:

    Thanks for the list- you mentioned that recent comments comes with wordpress. I recently installed, but can’t find this plugin.

    Any advice? Thanks,

  42. Tarik says:

    John, thank you for the list. I’m new to blogging and WP, so it was very useful to have a place to start.

  43. Bryan says:

    Excellent list John. Greatly appreciated.

  44. Thanks for the list. Gonna use some.

  45. Glenn says:

    Thank you. I will have to include this list on my new tool: It is a meta search for wordpress themes, plugins, and tutorials.

  46. John K. says:

    I wish that Digg licensed their technology to non-tech related sites. I’d even settle for some any did related sites to post storied to my website . Great wordpress tips, thanks!

    -John K.

  47. Mike Cherim says:

    Might I suggest one for your list:

    It’s pretty new. And since you don’t have a contact form plugin listed.


  48. Richard says:

    Here’s a WP plug-in that I suggest for easy installation of a hit-counter/stats-reporting:
    (uses the powerful GoStats reporting engine)

  49. Dj Flush says:

    Very Nice List There John 🙂

    I have all the plug-ins mentioned above on my site and they work awesome 😀

  50. Nick says:

    Very helpful John. Digg this, however, is awful and has a lot of bugs. Digg Click is a little bit more user friendly.

    But thanks for the list, i’ve implemented and used it all..

  51. Avi Alkalay says:

    I’d love to see the Inline Google Maps plugin on your list.

    Its easy easy easy to use and very well documented.

  52. Silly Jay says:

    great list, have you great done. Maybe you can make a second list with your hottest plugints right now?

  53. Roja Buck says:

    Good selection though i have to say i am a bit of a fan of fGallery too!

  54. Josh Kaufman says:

    Check out SEO Title. It may serve as a more customizable replacement for “Optimal Title”.

  55. Walter Ego says:

    Hey John,

    How do you get that 300×250 px adsense so neatly into your posts with the text wrapped around it? I’m a WordPress newbie, so i realize the answer may be obvious.


  56. John Chow says:

    I use a table. Like this <table align="right"><tr><td><!–adsense–></td></tr></table>

  57. Walter Ego says:

    Thnx for the reply, I already found another way though:

  58. Walter Ego says:

    There was some code in my comment, but appearantly it got blocked (or maybe there’s adsense in my post now). Here it is again:

    ” “

  59. Off topic, we’re using the same template! It’s a great one.

    I shared a common top 10 with you, I did not know of the Optimal Title plugin and am installing it now. Thanks!

    Have you considered using the widget to show users your favourite links as you’re browsing? This could be placed below your static links component.

    IMO, the WP-ExtremeVideo plugin tops my favourite, it’s amazing and adds a whole new element to your site for high-bandwidth visitors.

    Great list, look forward to another!

  60. Claude says:

    Wow John! This list rocks~!! Helped me a lot because I am kinda new to the blogging world. Thanks a bunch!

  61. Mitamins says:

    Interesting to see a compiled list of “trusted” and “good” plugins. Anyone can point me where I can get a list “popular” plugins like this ?


  62. Jitendra says:

    Great list and congrats on getting on Digg!.

  63. taoj says:

    I would look at Ultimate Google Analytics for your next list.

  64. Tarun Gupta says:

    Great Post, it sure can guide people into setting up word press correctly. By the way can you help with the plugin used to set RSS to Google, yahoo, My MSN etc..

  65. danmilward says:

    Don’t forget my WP e-Commerce plugin 🙂

  66. John Chow provided a list of his top 10 WP plugins – this is an excellent list of plugins for me to extend my WP installation capabilities.

    Sidebar Widget[…]

  67. Jermaine says:

    Nice collection of plugins, but i have a question to all the pro’s in here.

    What is the plugin called that makes the digg like comment counts on and the one on

    Thanks for your help

  68. Andy says:

    Thanks for the list – Installed a few of these

  69. teratai says:

    u miss spam karma 2, admin drop down menu, site map generator.

  70. John I was thinking you might like to do a summary of Feedburners info? I have thought about switching my RSS over, but never felt overly compelled to do so.

    Is it a huge improvement? I know it sounds good, but do you monitor the feedburner stats yourself?


  71. ff0ur says:

    Greate ! But im looking for plugin notify via email when add new comments.

  72. jason says:

    Brilliant, thanks for these plug ins. Some really usefully ones.

  73. Ms. Q says:

    John – the link to the Related Posts plugin is defunct. I found it here:

  74. HMTKSteve says:

    How about a plugin in that separates the trackbacks from the comments?

  75. If you’re using a lot of plugins you might find one of my new plugins useful…

    Update Manager helps keep all your plugins up to date with the latest versions available, allowing you to check with one-click whether you need to upgrade. New versions will support background checking & notification emails, etc.

    It’s so useful, even I use it 🙂

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  77. tech says:

    thanks for powerfull advices…


  78. Ravi says:

    A very nice compilation. Having been running a blog on, I am often tempted to get myself my own domain and buy a hosting plan. But I can’t make up my mind as to which content management system to use.

    This post could very well turn me towards wordpress for the CMS of my choice.


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