The best free WordPress plugins (2021)

April 27, 2023

If you’re a WordPress beginner or you’re not an advanced coder, setting up and operating your WordPress site can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, there are many plugins at your disposal that will help you create a beautiful and functional website without a single line of code. Of course, the cost of multiple plugins can build up fast. So here is our compilation of the best free WordPress plugins that are guaranteed to make your life a little easier.

Design & functionality


If you want to build a beautiful website but have no coding experience, Elementor is one of the best visual page builders for WordPress –  and it’s free. It’s equipped with various widgets you can drag and drop and arrange in sections and columns, with lots of options for customization. You can build a completely custom design for your web pages without using a single line of code. 

Elementor offers more advanced plans, including more templates, widgets, and WooCommerce features, but their free plan has more than enough for most users, whether you’re operating a blog, a site, or a store.


With over 4,000 five-star reviews on WordPress, this one is one of the most highly rated WordPress plugins out there. TablePress simply allows you to create and manage tables on your site without any code. It has an interface reminiscent of Excel spreadsheets and allows you to import data into your tables and embed your table into pages, posts, and widgets.

If you want to display a large number of images on your site, Envira Gallery is for you. While WordPress does offer some basic gallery templates, they’re not exactly awe-inspiring. Envira Gallery is a drag-and-drop gallery builder so that you can build beautiful, custom galleries easily.

Smart Slider 3

Similarly, if you’d like to spruce up your site with a visual slider, Smart Slider 3 is an intuitive slide editor. It offers great design tools such as templates, layers, customizable controls, and more.


This one is obvious. WooCommerce is the eCommerce plugin that turns your WordPress site into an online store. It’s one of WordPress’ most popular plugins of all time. It’s completely free, and you can use it to sell just about anything – from variable products, memberships, bookings, digital content, and so much more. It comes equipped with multiple payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe.

Oliver POS

If you’re using WooCommerce, there are a ton of free plugins specifically for WooCommerce as well. Oliver POS is a completely free point of sale plugin that helps you sell your WooCommerce products in-store and online and offers a magnitude of reporting tools and store management capabilities. Try it here.


WPForms is a useful plugin that offers various form types from login forms, contact forms, order forms, and more – you can even build your own form. It’s intuitive and easy to use,  with a drag and drop builder to create your custom forms.

Insert Headers and Footers

Insert Headers and Footers are great for site owners with little to no coding experience. This plugin makes it easy to insert code into your site’s header and footer, which is a common practice when adding, say, a Google Analytics tracking code or some custom CSS.

Shortcodes Ultimate

This free WordPress plugin offers a collection of visual and functional elements to add to your site with a shortcode. While more advanced coders might be able to figure it out themselves, it’s easier for everyone (coders and non-coders alike) to create what you want with Shortcodes Ultimate. With over 50 shortcodes ready to go, a custom CSS editor, custom widget, this is a great one for customizing your site.

Code Snippets

If you want to add custom PHP code snippets into your WordPress site, things can get a little bit complicated, as you’ll need to add it to your WordPress theme’s .php file. With Code Snippets, you can add each code snippet separately and enable it on different parts of your site.

Security & performance

Yoast SEO

Search engine optimization is essential for any website. Yoast SEO guides you through your on-page SEO and provides live feedback to help you improve. Yoast helps you implement keywords, alt text, and breadcrumbs to ensure search engines easily understand your site. Yoast gives you tips for improvement and ranks your SEO score as you’re working in the backend.

You can download Yoast SEO for free on WordPress, but Premium versions are also available. 

There are several other options for a free SEO plugin, such as Rank Math SEO and All-In-One SEO, but I think Yoast is the best of them all. 

WP Smush

Striking visuals and images are what make your site beautiful and inviting to your visitors. Unfortunately, images can often take up too much space and can slow down your site, which can have a huge impact on your traffic and your SEO. That’s why Smush is such a great resource – it compresses and resizes your images to keep your site speed as fast as possible without compromising image quality.

WP Fastest Cache

Another great free plugin for optimizing your site speed and performance. A cache stores data temporarily so that when your browser is loading a web page, it will borrow data from your cache instead of loading it from scratch. WP Fastest Cache increases your site speed significantly and creates a better user experience and SEO score.

Wordfence Security

With over 3,000 five-star reviews on WordPress, Wordfence is WordPress’ most popular security plugin for a reason. When you’ve got a WordPress site, it’s up to you to make sure it’s secure. WordFence’s free plugin protects your site from attackers using a powerful Firewall, a malware scanner, and login security.

Akismet Spam Protection

If you’re operating a blog or website with comments enabled, you should have Akismet. One of the most popular plugins, Akismet, is an anti-spam plugin for your comment section. It will block any kind of suspicious, malicious, promotional, or irrelevant content in your comment section. It even checks your contact form submissions and filters out the spammy ones.


Redirection comes in handy when you change the URL or slug of one of your pages. If you have no technical knowledge, this plugin will be a lifesaver. It lets you easily redirect your pages, manage all of your redirects, and even helps you detect posts and pages on your site that aren’t loading correctly.

Really Simple SSL

Having a secure site is essential for building trust with your site builders, SEO, and your website’s general health. If you’re a beginner and you’re not with a hosting provider that provides an SSL certificate, it can be tricky to secure your site on your own. Really Simple SSL allows you to secure your site in one click. It will redirect and update your entire site to reflect your SSL certificate.


Jetpack is a very functional free WordPress plugin that offers a variety of features. It allows you to back up your site and restore it to any point, migrate to new hosts, scan for malware, blocks spam comments, and so much more. The features are modular, so you can select which features you’d like to use for your site.

Monster Insights

To understand how your site is performing, you’ll need analytics to keep track of your website visitors and how your marketing campaigns impact your traffic. MonsterInsights lets you install a Google Analytics tracking code into your site so that you can view your website analytics directly in WordPress.

Marketing & social media

MC4WP: Mailchimp for WordPress

With over 1,000 five-star reviews, Mailchimp for WordPress is one of the most popular marketing plugins. Create sign-up forms with custom fields to get your customers to sign up for email newsletters and segment your customers into different groups for more effective targeted marketing. 

Shared Counts

Similarly, if you’re operating a blog or site with shareable content, Shared Counts is a great one that allows you to add social share buttons to any page with a simple shortcode. There are other social sharing plugins out there, but I like Shared Counts because it doesn’t use cookies or tracking scripts. 

Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed

Display your Instagram feed on your site with Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed. You can display your own photos or photos from other (public) accounts and add a call to action to get your visitors to follow you on Instagram. You can customize the look of your feed as well. 

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