Wondering what the best free WordPress plugins are?
We’ve got you covered.
Because in this post, we’ve curated a list of 17 must-have plugins to get the most out of your WordPress site.
And best of all, they’re all free.
We’ve also added suggestions for a premium alternative or upgrade for some, in case you want to explore plugins with extra features.
Let’s dive in.
17 Best Free WordPress Plugins
This list of the best free WordPress plugins isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are the essentials for most WordPress users. Let’s take a look.
1. LinkWhisper – Best Free Internal Links Plugin
LinkWhisper is the best free WordPress plugin for creating internal links on your site. It speeds up the process by finding relevant articles to link between.
There are tons of benefits of internal linking. Not only does it save you time, but it improves Google rankings by developing topical relevance between your content.
With the free version of the plugin, you get an internal links report to see all the links on your site from one screen.
It also provides suggestions for articles you can link to at the bottom of every page and article.
Clicking the copy button copies the URL and highlights the anchor text on the page. All you have to do then is paste the URL to make the text a hyperlink.
Other LinkWhisper features:
- Jump to pages quickly that need internal links added
- Search for a keyword or URL to find out if they need more links
- Only show link suggestions from the same category
- Advanced settings to refine how links are suggested
Upgrading to the premium version of Link Whisper adds way more features. Like inserting multiple links at the same time with one click
LinkWhisper Premium has three plans starting from $77 per year for a one-site license.
2. RankMath SEO – Best Free SEO Plugin
Next up is Rank Math, which is vital for improving your ranking positions in search engines.
The Rank Math SEO WordPress plugin is great because it offers so many features for free.
It allows you to set custom meta titles and descriptions, which are necessary for optimizing organic CTR. This improves the amount of people who click through to your site from Google results.
Another feature of RankMath is its search engine optimization analysis, which gives your content a score out of 100. It provides suggestions to help the content rank higher in the SERPs.
Rank Math SEO Features:
- Google Search Console stats
- 404 monitor
- URL redirection
- Automatically add ALT and Title text
- XML and HTML Sitemaps
- Improved local SEO
- Schema for structured data
- WooCommerce SEO
For a premium option, we recommend RankMath Pro, which starts at $59 per year for one site.
3. Fluent Forms – Best Free Contact Form Plugin
Every WordPress site needs a contact form plugin, and FluentForms does an excellent job.
Its drag-and-drop builder makes it easy to add the fields you need, and you can add forms anywhere on your site with a shortcode.
You can also use FluentForms to collect email addresses for a newsletter, which will help you grow your business.
- Form templates
- Conversational forms
- Integrates with FluentCMR or MailChimp
- Saves entries in WordPress
A premium alternative is GravityForms for highly sophisticated forms to take payments, conditional logic, and more. Other alternatives include Formidable Forms or Ninja Forms.
4. FluentSMTP – Best Free SMTP Plugin
An SMTP plugin uses a server to send emails from your site instead of the default PHP mailer.
This is where FluentSMTP comes in, as it’s a more reliable way to send email.
This free WordPress plugin is made by the team who make FluentForms, and they work perfectly together.
Setting things up requires an SMTP service, many of which have free plans. You can also do an email test to make sure everything is working fine.
Connections available in FluentSMTP include:
- Amazon AWS
- Custom SMTP
5. WooCommerce – Best Free eCommerce Plugin
Need to turn your WordPress site into an online store? Then you’ll want to install WooCommerce.
This is the best WordPress plugin that has everything you need to sell physical or digital products online.
It’s super easy to use, and you can take payments with Stripe and PayPal.
Products can be straightforward or include variations such as color and size. Furthermore, you can sell in any currency or to any country worldwide.
- Inventory management
- Shipping calculations
- Analytics and reporting
- Control tax settings
- Offer coupons
- Product reviews
WooCommerce also has a wide range of premium add-ons in case you need more functionality beyond the free version. Another paid alternative is Easy Digital Downloads.
6. Elementor – Best Free Page Builder Plugin
Tired of your WordPress theme and want to design something without coding? Then Elementor is an excellent option.
Elementor is one of the best drag-and-drop page builders for WordPress, and the free version offers a lot of features.
It can be used with any WordPress theme to create stunning designs without writing a single line of code.
If you haven’t found a theme you like, then why not design your own with Elementor?
- Customize every aspect of your design
- Templates library
- Fully responsive
If you want to try a different type of website builder, we highly recommend the GeneratePress Pro plugin. This is an add-on to the free WordPress theme GeneratePress, which is extremely popular.
7. Beautiful Cookie Consent Banner – Best Free Cookie Consent Plugin
Beautiful Cookie Consent Banner is an essential plugin to keep your site compliant with privacy laws.
This is one of the better-looking cookie notices and less intrusive to the user. All the settings can be changed to adjust the layout, design, colors, and text, making it match the branding of your site.
If you get traffic from countries that require strict privacy policies, then this plugin helps you abide by those laws.
Here are the laws it covers:
- GDPR: The General Data Protection Regulation
- CCPA: The California Consumer Privacy Act
- PIPEDA: The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
- LGPD: The Brazilian General Data Protection Law
- OAIC: Australia’s Privacy Principles
Beautiful Cookie Consent plugin offers a paid upgrade from 8 Euros (around $8.50 USD) per year, but the free version will probably suffice for most users.
8. Site Kit by Google – Best Free Google Analytics Plugin
If you want to see your Google Analytics stats inside WordPress, then you’ll want to check out Site Kit by Google.
This free WordPress plugin shows you how much traffic your website is getting, as well as insights into how people interact with your content.
Knowing how your site is performing in terms of traffic and engagement is essential to maintain growth in your business.
Google Site Kit Features:
- Fast and easy setup without leaving your site
- Traffic graphs and reports
- View clicks and impressions from Google Search Console
- Display stats over the last 90 days
- Page speed insight
- Connect using Google Tag Manager
For a premium and more advanced Google Analytics plugin, you might want to try MonsterInsights, as it gives you more control over settings without needing to leave your site.
9. WP Fastest Cache – Best Free Page Caching Plugin
WP Fastest Cache is a great free plugin to speed up your site and give users a better experience.
This is important because if your site is too slow, potential customers might leave your site.
Features included in WP Fastest Cache:
- Enable preloading creates the cache before links are clicked
- Auto-clear the cache on new and updated posts
- Gzip compression
- Integrate CDN networks
An excellent premium alternative you might want to consider is WPRocket, which offers more advanced features such as Lazy Load for images.
10. Wordfence – Best Free Security Plugin
This next free WordPress plugin is vital for keeping your site secure from hackers: Wordfence Security.
Wordfence is one of the best security plugins WordPress has to offer. It also won the WordPress awards for best security plugin in 2022.
Setting up the plugin can be a little daunting, but its default settings should be good enough for most website owners.
However, if you want a more hardened WordPress website installation, we recommend following this in-depth tutorial.
Wordfence key features:
- WordPress firewall to block malicious traffic
- Security scanner scans for malware
- Two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Live traffic monitoring
For even more WordPress security, you might consider Hide My WP Ghost, which hides the fact you’re using WordPress, making it more challenging to break in. Another paid alternative is iThemes Security.
11. Antispam Bee – Best Free Antispam Plugin
Antispam Bee is a completely free plugin to prevent spammers and bots from leaving comments on your articles.
This is a vital plugin to install if you start a blog on WordPress and accept comments because you’ll be bombarded with spam otherwise.
Antispam Bee is easy to set up, as its default settings are good to go from the moment you install it.
However, there are some features you can tweak yourself:
- Accept from approved commenters
- Accept commenters with a Gravatar
- Block or allow comments from specific countries or languages
- Automatically delete spam after a certain time period
If you want a more advanced antispam plugin that works for registrations and content forms, you might consider CleanTalk as an option.
12. PublishPress – Best Free Author Box Plugin
Displaying author details of your articles has become more important than ever before, and PublishPress helps you accomplish this.
Not only does PublishPress display an author box, but it also allows you to add multiple authors to posts.
This is great if you have an expert fact-checking your content. Which, depending on your niche, can be increasingly important as it shows readers and search engines that accurate claims and unbiased opinions back your content.
- Display an author box after the content
- Multiple authors assigned to posts
- Author box templates
- Custom author fields
- Author pages to show all authors on your site
To get the full benefits of this, PuplishPress Pro has a premium plugin with even more features.
Simple Social Media Share Buttons by WPBrigade adds social media share buttons to your WordPress site for free to help you generate more traffic from social media sites.
If you want to offer your readers the ability to easily share your content to their social media channels, then you’ll need this plugin.
WPBrigade is easy to use, and you can select which buttons you want to display on posts and pages.
Free buttons available include Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, WhatsApp, Linkedin, Reddit, and more.
- Different button layouts and designs
- Custom button positions
- Button animations
- Display share counts
WPBrigade has a premium upgrade for features like popups and fly-ins.
14. GenerateBlocks – Best Free Gutenberg Blocks Plugin
GenerateBlocks is a free page builder plugin for creating high-quality designs using the Gutenberg block editor.
It works with any WordPress theme but is best paired with GeneratePress, as they’re made by the same developer.
The free plugin gives you 6 extra blocks in Gutenberg to give you more control over your page designs.
- Container to create rows and sections
- Grid to create advanced, flexible layouts
- Headline for more control over typography
- Button to create high-converting calls to action
- Query Loop lists articles and custom post types
- Image to make them stand out on the page
GenerateBlocks Pro is the highly recommended premium upgrade that starts at $39 per year.
15. EWWW – Best Free Image Compression Plugin
EWWW is a free image compression tool to improve the page speed of your site.
It works by lowering the file size of images you upload to content without decreasing image quality.
EWWW also converts images into WebP, which is supported by most browsers. This is a new image format that loads a lot faster than other formats.
Moreover, EWWW gives you the option to use their server for conversions or use your own.
You get some credits for free on their servers, but it’s completely free when using your own server.
- No speed limits and unlimited file size
- Optimize everything else, such as theme images
- Bulk-optimize all your images from a single page
EWWW has premium plans starting from $7 per month, which includes a CDN for images.
16. Hustle – Best Free Popup Optin Form Plugin
Email marketing is one of the best ways to grow your blog and business online. And Hustle is a free opt-in form plugin to help you do that.
With Hustle, you can create different types of popups to entice readers to subscribe to your email list. This free plugin has made our list of the best WordPress popup plugins.
One great feature is exit intent popups are free, which is rare in other free popup plugins.
This is effective because it doesn’t annoy the WordPress user while they are on your site, but it can convert subscribers before they leave.
Other Hustle features:
- Store your email list locally
- Send an automated welcome email to email subscribers
- Embed opt-in forms within your content
- Lots of email integrations
- Conversion tracking
17. FluentCRM – Best Free Email Marketing Plugin
FluentCRM works the same as any other email marketing software, but it’s a plugin on your site, plus it’s free!
This is the perfect solution if you’re eager to build an email list and start a newsletter and you’re on a budget.
With FluentCRM, you can send email marketing campaigns, target segmented audiences, and create email automations to keep subscribers engaged.
- Analyze open rate, CTR, and revenue earned from campaigns
- Create lists and tags for advanced segmentation
- Send newsletters from inside the WordPress dashboard
- Nurture leads to move them down your sales funnel
For the ultimate email marketing solution, consider upgrading to FluentCRM Pro, which starts at $129 per year.
Do You Need All of These Plugins?
The short answer is no. You only need to install plugins on the WordPress CMS if you need the extra functionality they provide.
We go into this more in our post about how many WordPress plugins are there.
However, there are a few plugins every WordPress site should have to improve user experience.
- WordPress SEO plugins like RankMath or Yoast SEO
- An SMTP plugin to send emails from your site, such as WP Mail SMTP
- A security plugin to protect from hackers
- An antispam plugin to block spam comments
A caching plugin like WP Fastest Cache or W3 Total Cache might also be helpful when your site gets more traffic, but quality WordPress hosting is more important.
Are Premium Plugins Worth It?
In this post, we covered the best free WordPress plugins and provided a premium alternative or upgrade to the free version.
Even though free plugins are great and might be all you need, premium plugins do offer a lot more features.
Now, some premium plugins are worth the cost more than others. It’s recommended to do your own research before investing in a plugin. However, most plugins will offer a full refund if they aren’t right for you.
Conclusion: Best Free WordPress Plugins
Some of the best WordPress plugins are completely free but also offer reasonable updates to their premium versions.
Whereas other WordPress plugins are premium only and might offer better features than a free alternative.
That being said, if you’re on a budget, the plugins listed on this page will be more than enough for most people.