I’m often asked for advice and help from both experienced and new WordPress users and the questions mostly involve themes and plugins. In this post I’ll give my top 12 plugin picks. My favorite plugins are always changing as I learn of new ones and find that I cannot live without them. Plugin needs also vary depending on the project.
To me this is the one essential plugin that every WordPress installation MUST have. In fact, it should be your very first plugin and the only one you need to install via FTP. Why? Once you install this plugin, you never need to use FTP again to install plugins. I realize that WordPress 2.7 has some functionality to automatically download plugins, but it doesn’t compare to Plugin Central. Plugin Central is very simple and straightforward. You simply enter the name of the plugin you wish to install and that’s it. Plugin Central does all of the heavy lifting by downloading and installing the plugin for you. You do need to get the name right and you also need to go to the main plugin page once the plugin is downloaded and be sure to ACTIVATE it.
You can enter as many plugins as you want in the form and all will be downloaded and installed at the same time. One great feature is the ability to list all plugins (or active plugins) in your WordPress installation. By doing this on existing installations, you can simply copy and paste the names into a new installation to get all of your favorite plugins downloaded and installed at one time.
When I first discovered this plugin I was amazed it was free. If you don’t already have it RACE to download and install it immediately. WP-DBManager essentially does what the name implies — it manages all aspects of your WordPress MySQL database. The plugin allows you to optimize, repair and drop tables, backup the database to a directory and best of all, send you a backup copy on a scheduled basis. The backup can be compressed at your option.