The Best WordPress Plugins (Updated)

Here are the best WordPress plugins that will add new functionality to your WordPress websites that is otherwise not available in the vanilla version of WordPress software. These are all free and open-source plugins and you can download them from the official WordPress plugins repository.

  • Search Regex – This adds extremely powerful search and replace capabilities to your blog. You can find and replace almost any kind of data stored on your WordPress site including post titles, excerpts, comments, and meta data. It even supports regular expressions.
  • Redirection – If the URL of an existing post has changed or if an external site is linking to a non-existent page on my site, I can create redirection rules and automatically forward all the incoming traffic to the right pages. Simple 301 is also a good alternative.
  • Yoast SEO – This is probably the only SEO plugin you need for your WordPress blog. It helps you create better titles, you can block duplicate pages (like archive pages) from search bots, and it also adds the necessary meta tags required for more search-friendly Google snippets. The new releases also integrate Twitter Title Tags and Facebook Open Graph tags.
  • W3 Total Cache – This is possibly the best caching plug-in for WordPress and it will definitely help improve your site’s page speed score. I was previously using Hyper Cache but W3 Total Cache does much more – it lets you minify scripts, cache database queries, add expiry headers to static images and more.
  • 404 Email Notifier – This sends you an email notification as soon as a visitor lands on a 404 page on your WordPress website. The email messages have details about the visitor’s IP address, what browser they are using and the referral URL that led him to that broken link.
  • SlideShare – This helps you easily embed SlideShare presentations in blog posts with the help of short codes – see samples. Update: This maybe optional as WordPress core itself supports SlideShare embeds through oEmbed.
  • Smart YouTube – This lets you embed YouTube videos in blog posts using standing video URLs and the embedded player can be customized. It adds a thumbnail of the embedded video in the RSS feed and the same plug-in can also be used to embed videos from Facebook and Vimeo.
  • YARRP – The related posts plug-in adds links to old stories that may be contextually related to the content of the current article. It also helps expose your archived content to search bots.
  • WP Optimize – Use the WP Optimize plugin to clean-up your WordPress database tables. It can remove post revisions, trash spam comments and also optimize your MySQL tables so that it works more efficiently and also consumes less space.
  • Adminer – This will help you manage your MySQL databases from the WordPress dashboard itself. You can run SQL queries, browse tables or perform database optimization. Less complicated than phpMyAdmin.
  • Authenticator – Enable 2-step authentication for your WordPress blog, similar to Dropbox or your Gmail account. Authy is also a good alternative for enabling 2-factor authentication in WordPress.
  • WP-DBManager – This plugin will help you backup your WordPress database manually or you can set up a scheduled job for automatic backup and the database files will be sent to your email address at set intervals. Advanced users can use WP-DBManager to run SQL queries against their WordPress database without the phpMyAdmin tool. There are other plugins that can save backups to Amazon S3 and Dropbox.
  • Debug Queries – Is your blog slow? Use the Debug Queries plugin plugin to determine which MySQL queries are taking more time to execute and thus slowing down the blog.Debug Bar is another related plugin org that shows PHP warnings, queries and other helpful debugging information in the WordPress admin bar.
  • P3 Profiler – Use the profiler plugin to figure out which WordPress plugins are slowing down yor website. It generates a pie chart detailing the time it takes to run each plugin while loading the various pages of your site.
  • Auto Post Thumbnail – WordPress added support for Post Thumbnail Images in WordPress 2.9 but if you have been using WordPress for long, thumbnails may not be associated with your old posts. Use the Auto Post thumbnail plugin to automatically generate thumbnails for such posts using the first image found in the post content.
  • Regenerate Thumbnails – When you change the default size (height and width) of post thumbnails (or featured images) on your blog, you can use this plugin to regenerate thumbnails with the new dimensions.
  • Google XML Sitemaps – Since you want Google and other search engines to know about each and every page of your WordPress website, you need an XML sitemap and this plug-in lets you generate one in a click.
  • XML Video Sitemap – The plugin generates an XML Sitemap for your WordPress blog with all the YouTube videos that are embedded in your blog posts. I am also using XML Sitemap for Images and XML Sitemap for Mobile.
  • Date in a Nice Tone – This plugin offers an alternate way to display dates in your blog posts. It displays the amount of time – like “a few days ago,” or “in the last month,” or “over a year ago” – that has passed since a post or page was published.
  • SyntaxHighlighter Evolved – If you regularly embed code snippets in your WordPress blog posts, this plugin will help you highlight the syntax of the source code in different colors for more comfortable reading. Supports all popular programming languages.
  • Pubsubhubbub – This will help you beat content scrapers using Fat Pings. When you publish a blog post, it will instantly ping Google and that is a strong signal to the search engine that you are the original author.
  • Bing 404 – If someone lands on a 404 page for which redirection is not yet enabled, this plug-in will display links to relevant article on the error page. For example, a 404 page will have links to my Google Docs articles.
  • WP-Associatizer – This plug-in will automatically rewrite any Amazon URLs in your posts to use your Amazon Associates ID.
  • Template Tag SC – WordPress offers numerous template tags – like wp_list_pages() or wp_tag_cloud() – that you can use in your theme files. The plugin will help you insert the sam template tags directly in your blog posts or pages using Short Codes.
  • Limit Login Attempts – It logs the IP address and the exact date & time when a user is trying to log into your WordPress and also keeps track of unsuccessful login attempts. You can automatically lock out users after they have made ‘n’ unsuccessful login attempts.
  • CF Shortcode – This helps you insert custom fields inside your WordPress posts using the visual editor. This comes extremely handy when you want to add custom JavaScript inside your WordPress posts.
  • Advanced Excerpt – The post excerpts in WordPress are fixed at 55 words and often displayed with [...] ellipsis at the end. This plugin lets you to specify a custom length of excerpts, you can get rid of the ellipsis and the excerpts can be configured to have full sentences so that there are no weird cuts.
  • Threat Scan – If you are every notic any suspicious activity on your WordPress site, use the Threat Scan plugin to automatically scan your PHP files and your WordPress databse for any malicious code that may have been injected through the backdoor.
  • Nice Search – This creates neat permalinks for your WordPress search pages. For instance, /?s=wordpress%20plugins will be redirected to /search/wordpress+plugins.
  • AssetsMinify – Google’s Page Speed guidelines suggest that the best way to make your web page more responsive is to minimize the number of files that must be downloaded when the page is loaded. You can use the Minify plugin to combine and compress all the JavaScript and CSS files and make your website faster.
  • Options Optimizer – As you install plugins, new entries are added to the wp_options table. When plugins are uninstalled they are supposed to clean up their options but some may skip that part eating memory. The Optimizer plugin will help you get rid of these orphaned entries.
  • File Monitor – The plugin will monitor your WordPress installation folder and will send email alerts when any file is added, deleted or modified on your server. Use this with Senitelfor complete peace of mind.
  • Quick AdSense – While the title is AdSense, this plugin can be used to insert JavaScript based ads from any network anywhere on your blog pages including middle of the content. This can also be used for serving responsive Google Ads.
  • CodePress Admin – The Posts screen inside your WordPress dashboard display the post name, category, tags but with CodePress, you can add new columns to the view displaying meta data associated with the posts. For instance, you may show featured images next to the post title or even the value of a particular custom field.
  • Site Monitoring with Google Docs – This isn’t a WordPress plugin but should be a part of your WordPress arsenal. When the site goes down, you will get an instant email notification and an SMS alert through Google Docs.

The 101 Most Useful Websites

ere are the 101 most useful websites. An expanded and annotated version of this list is now available as an ebook.

The Most Useful Websites and Web Apps

The sites mentioned here, well most of them, solve at least one problem really well and they all have simple web addresses (URLs) that you can easily learn by heart thus saving you a trip to Google.

01. – record movies of your desktop and send them straight to YouTube.
02. – for capturing screenshots of web pages on mobile and desktops.
03. – shorten long URLs and convert URLs into QR codes.
04. unfurlr.come – find the original URL that’s hiding behind a short URL.
05. qClock – find the local time of a city using a Google Map.
06. – copy special characters that aren’t on your keyboard.
07. – a better search engine for twitter.
08. – create flowcharts, network diagrams, sitemaps, etc.
09. – the best place to find icons of all sizes.
10. – download templates, clipart and images for your Office documents.
11. – the easiest way to setup email reminders.
12. – scan any suspicious file or email attachment for viruses.
13. – gets answers directly without searching   – see more wolfram tips.
14. – print web pages without the clutter.
15. – reformats news articles and blog content as a newspaper.
16. – a search engine for RSS feeds.
17. – a simple online timer for your daily needs.
18. – if a site is down due to heavy traffic, try accessing it through coral CDN.
19. – pick random numbers, flip coins, and more.
20. – lets you can quickly edit PDFs in the browser itself.
21. – Preview PDFs and Presentations directly in the browser.
22. – simultaneously upload videos to YouTube and other video sites.
23. – your virtual whiteboard.
24. – share you email address online without worrying about spam.
25. – now get read receipts for your email.
26. – visualize and compare the size of any product.
27. – quickly determine the font name from an image.
28. – a good collection of open source fonts.
29. – find data hidden in your photographs – see more EXIF tools.
30. – broadcast events live over the web, including your desktop screen.
31. – helps you search domains across all TLDs.
32. – design from scratch or re-model your home in 3d.
33. – share you screen with anyone over the web.
34. – recognize text from scanned PDFs – see other OCR tools.
35. – Track flight status at airports worldwide.
36. – for sharing really big files online.
37. – best-sellers that are currently free. More ways to download free Kindle books.
38. – check your writing for spelling or grammatical errors.
39. – easily highlight the important parts of a web page for sharing.
40. – work on the same document with multiple people.
41. – planning an event? find a date that works for all.
42. – a less confusing view of the world time zones.
43. – the perfect tool for measuring your site performance online.
44. – print music sheets, write your own music online (review).
45. – chat with your buddies on Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, etc. from one place.
46. – translate web pages, PDFs and Office documents.
47. – create paintings and sketches with a wide variety of brushes.
48. – discover new sites that are similar to what you like already.
49. – quick summarize long pieces of text with tag clouds.
50. – create mind-maps, brainstorm ideas in the browser.
51. – get color ideas, also extract colors from photographs.
52. – share your photos in an album instantly.
53. – when your friends are too lazy to use Google on their own.
54. – when you need to find the name of a song.
55. – automatically find perfectly-sized wallpapers for mobiles.
56. – send an online fax for free – see more fax services.
57. – get RSS feeds as an email newsletter.
58. – quickly send a file to someone, they can even preview it before downloading.
59. – transfer files of any size without uploading to a third-party server.
60. – setup a private chat room in micro-seconds.
61. – create text notes that will self-destruct after being read.
62. – track the status of any shipment on Google Maps – alternative.
63. – when you need to raise funds online for an event or a cause.
64. – find if your favorite website is offline or not?
65. – find the other websites of a person with reverse Analytics lookup.
66. – find the web host of any website.
67. – found something on Google but can’t remember it now?
68. – an online audio editor that lets record, and remix audio clips online.
69. – create a temporary web page that self-destruct.
70. – find definitions of slangs and informal words.
71. – consult this site before choosing a seat for your next flight.
72. – download stock images absolutely free.
73. – view very high-resolution images in your browser without scrolling.
74. – create custom Google Maps easily.
75. – quickly setup email reminders for important events.
76. – Picnik is offline but PicMonkey is an even better image editor.
77. – you can ask or answer personal questions here.
78. – an excellent layer-based online image editor.
79. – find if that email offer you received is real or just another scam.
80. – master touch-typing with these practice sessions.
81. – send video emails to anyone using your web cam.
82. – create timelines with audio, video and images.
83. – make a movie out of your images, audio and video clips.
84. – check the trust level of any website.
85. – a beautiful to-do app that looks like your paper dairy.
86. – you’ll need this when your bookmarked web pages are deleted.
87. – quickly capture effective notes during meetings.
88. – Watch YouTube channels in TV mode.
89. – quickly create a video playlist of your favorite artist.
90. – Send tweets longer than 140 characters.
91. – create a free and simple website using your Dropbox account.
92. – find the technology stack of any website.
93. – research a website from the SEO perspective.
94. – broadcast live audio over the web.
95. – bookmark online videos and watch them later (review).
96. – add QR codes to your documents and presentations (review).
97. – the easiest way to write short text notes in the browser.
98. – send rich-text mails to anyone, anonymously.
99. – hire people to do little things for $5.
100. – easily manage your online files on Dropbox, Google Docs, etc.
101. – create a connection between all your online accounts.

Book: The Most Useful Websites

The Most Useful Websites book offers a collection of 150+ undiscovered and incredibly useful websites to enhance your productivity.
You can enjoy my book on your Windows PC, Mac, Phone or Tablet without requiring a Kindle.

Changelog and Updates

The following websites were part of the original list that I published in December, 2010. Unfortunately, these sites are either no longer available or have been replaced with better alternatives.
01. – scan any suspicious file or email attachment for viruses.
02. – when you wish to share a NSFW page but with a warning.
03. – the best place for searching web videos.
04. – your favorite blogs delivered as PDFs.
05. – you’ll need this when your bookmarked web pages are deleted.
06. – generate temporary email aliases, better than disposable email.
07. – send an email without using your own account.
08. – find whether a photo is real or a photoshopped one.
09. – get word meanings, pronunciations and usage examples.
10. – unzip your compressed files online.
11. – when you need to find the name of a song.
12. – use email on your phone to find sports scores, read Wikipedia, etc.
13. – the site has been blocked in India.
14. – Google now redirects all logged-in users to the https version of by default so this is no longer necessary.
15. – replace this with a version that works on mobile.

How to create A Huge File

You can create a file of any size using nothing more than what’s supplied with Windows. Start by converting the desired file size into hexadecimal notation. You can use the Windows Calculator in Scientific mode do to this.
Suppose you want a file of 1 million bytes. Enter 1000000 in the calculator and click on the Hex option to convert it (1 million in hex is F4240.) Pad the result with zeroes at the left until the file size reaches eight digits—000F4240.

  1. Now open a command prompt window.
  2. Enter the command DEBUG BIGFILE.DAT (replace the name of the file as you want) and ignore the File not found message.
  3. Type RCX and press Enter. Debug will display a colon prompt. Enter the last four digits of the hexadecimal number you calculated (4240, in our example).
  4. Type RBX and press Enter, then enter the first four digits of the hexadecimal size (000F, in our example).
  5. Enter W for Write and Q for Quit.

You’ve just created a 1-million-byte file using Debug. Of course you can create a file of any desired size using the same technique.

Who is Still Using Windows XP, and Why?

The launch of Windows 8 is on the horizon, releasing later this year. Microsoft assures us the user experience with their new OS will be better than ever before, however; would it surprise you to learn that more than 3 out of every 10 PC users are still using Windows XP, an OS that is a full decade old? It’s true, and here’s why.

The Prodigal Software

Following in the footsteps of Windows 98 and 2000, which each had their share of issues, XP was hailed as being the most stable and easy-to-use product Microsoft had put out since Windows 95. In the five years between XP’s release and Vista’s, it lived up to its hype through regular and convenient software updates.
If It Ain’t Broke…

As both home and business users became used to XP, it became less and less likely that any significant improvements could be made with new software. This was reflected in the widespread release of office technology that was compatible with XP. The more invested corporations and individuals alike became in its use, the harder it would be to convince anyone a shift was worthwhile.

Vista Backlash

The only criticisms many had for XP were security issues. Microsoft promised a serious security upgrade with Vista, and for the most part, they delivered. But after word got out about the incorporation of intrusive DRM technologies, the higher system requirements, and the incompatibility issues with pre-Vista hardware and software, adoption was extremely reluctant. Many never “upgraded” at all, and for those that did, it was once bitten, twice shy.
Time to Change

Windows 7 resolves nearly all of the problems with Vista, but there’s a lot of work to be done to convince XP users to make the switch. XP has become expensive to maintain compared with upgrading to 7, however, and this may be the driving force behind a shift in the market. Another factor will be Microsoft’s removal of support for XP, including security updates and hotfixes, in April 2014. Anyone who relies on a computer knows how important it is to stay current when it comes to potential security problems.

In the tech world, you can’t stay behind for long, and many who mistrust Windows 7 will likely change their tune once they give it a shot. Hopefully the transition will be more painless than it has in the past!