A couple of years ago I wrote a list of 20 basic WordPress plugins and how you can install them on a new WordPress website in 5 minutes.
Here is a complete explanation of that list and what each plugin is used for.
The Basic WordPress Plugins List
This plugin can create a database back-up, back-up your files, optimize your database and store in somewhere in the cloud for you.
Contact Form 7
Elementary plugin to create an email form for your contact page
Fancybox for WordPress
Shows media file in an overlay instead of separate pages, you can click through all linked images on a page
Google XML Sitemaps
Creates an XML sitemap file that makes sure that search engines now what to index. Make sure you make this file link is in your Google Webmaster Tools account.
Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin
Blocks all kinds of automated spam comments that can fill up an unprotected site with all kinds of bad unrelated comments.
Limit Login Attempts
Secure your WordPress site for hacking attempts by limiting the number of login attempts. Too many attempts will block access for a set time.
No Self Pings
Do not ping back to your own site if you link to previous posts. This plugin prevents trackback links to your own site.
nrelate Related Content
Great plugin for showing related content with thumbnails. Good option for getting visitors to read more on your website.
PS Auto Sitemap
Can create a well-formatted sitemap page for your visitors. You can disable the link back to the developer, something that is harder to do with the Dagon Design sitemap plugin.
Not just for automatic placement of AdSense code on your page, you can also use it for affiliate links and even HTML coded text blocks. Also, it has a built-in Widgets function.
Limits the number of post revisions that will be stored in your database. This will help to keep your database running fast.
Simple Trackback Validation with Topsy Blocker
This plugin checks of trackback (backlinks) to your posts are valid and blocks them if they are spammy.
Subscribe To Comments
Keep your visitors updated on new comments or replies to their comment if they choose to get those updates.
W3 Total Cache
The speed of loading time is essential for both your visitors as for search engines. This caching plugin makes sure that the pages are presented fast. Needs some configuration for best performance.
Keeping your site secure and up-to-date is needed for every WordPress website. Wordfence will check your site for changed files, can compare files with the core WordPress plugin and theme repository and send you a notification if it finds problems.
WordPress Popular Posts
A good way to show you visitors that there are other well-perceived articles by showing the best ones in a sidebar widget.
A most have plugin if you are serious about getting better rankings in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Is also gives advice for on-page SEO improvements and keywords to use in your pages and articles.
WP Updates Notifier
Send you an email if your WordPress website is in need of core, plugins or theme updates. Very good for WordPress site owners that don’t log in on a regular base. Helps to keep your site secure by getting the updates done on time.
Keeping your WordPress database optimized is a good thing and this plugin does that very well and is easy to use. You can also clean out old post revisions and spam comments.
After you installed and sometimes configured these basic WordPress plugins you are set to go. Get a good theme for you site layout and start sharing your passion, products and or services by writing great content.
If you are running a WordPress website for a longer period of time you might have your own basic WordPress plugins list. If there is anything you are missing on this list, please let us all know in the comments below!