40 Fantastic Open Source WordPress Plugins
There is an ever-growing library of plugins to be found in the official WordPress directory. These plugins are all free to download and many have also been submitted into Github as open source. It can be fun prowling the Newest and Recently Updated plugins to look for any gems. There are already so many solutions to various problems, but finding new stuff is always fun.
I have put together 40 new WordPress plugins for managing bits of functionality in your website. These are all free to download and you can even install them right from your WP Admin Plugins menu. Granted some of these examples may not prove useful to everyone. But it is encouraging to see lots of creativity from WordPress developers, along with the openness of sharing their efforts with the community.
WP Fancy Message Box allows you to quickly include various messages within your templates or page content. The fancy message boxes may be included via the shortcode [wpfmb][/wpfmb]. There are also some options you can set on the tags for updating the design. And if you are clever enough in CSS, it shouldn’t be much work to include your own custom message boxes.
The WordPress Simple Converter plugin is a strange release but it does provide some assistance with technical writing. It allows for easy conversions between various measurements such as ounces, cups, liters, grams, etc. Plus you may install the widget anywhere in your WordPress site for easy frontend access.
Connecting with the visitors on your website is not always an easy task. One solution is to implement a small banner at the top of your page, updating with some news or resources. The Fluid Notification Bar plugin is a great choice for adding this functionality within a few minutes. The CSS is easy enough to update so you can design the bar to fit within any website.
How many business or professional websites have needed custom testimonial support? There are some premium WordPress themes which come pre-built supporting this functionality but they also cost a bit of money. Easy Testimonials is a free WordPress plugin for quickly including a number of client/customer testimonies. Check out the plugin homepage to learn a bit more.
Right after launching a new site online there may be a need for creating multiple posts/pages en-masse. This is where the Bulk Creator plugin may come in handy. It creates a custom interface where you may quickly add new posts, pages, and custom post types without needing to use the slower WP Admin links. All of the content is displayed on the same page which makes this process even quicker and hassle-free.
For any WordPress users who are also on Bitbucket and want to showcase their latest projects, this plugin is for you. WP Bitbucket is a quick way to import project data and display this onto your website. You can embed any project’s summary block or the activity feed taken right from Bitbucket. Definitely an odd plugin with a small demand but I was surprised enough that I felt it had to be included.
The WP Ultimate Recipe plugin is a great way to include recipes onto your posts or pages. The general fields include utensils, ingredients, course types, and many others. This can also include photos and Microdata formatting to aid with SEO in Google. For a completely free plugin this is an impressive feat and provides one fantastic interface.
Lots of developers have released plugins for adding button widgets like Facebook, Twitter, and other social news websites. Well this Pinterest “Pin It” Button allows for easy customization of the image and description. Plus you can choose between adding a post counter, the category, and other types of metadata. It is worth trying if you have an audience with Pinterest users.
Other services like twitterfeed allow users to auto-publish new RSS blog posts onto networks like Facebook and Twitter. This Microblog Poster also has similar features which are built right into the backend of WordPress. You can choose between a number of URL shorteners which auto-publish to news feeds of your choosing. It can save a lot of time with marketing your new content.
You can already find a large collection of WordPress image gallery plugins out there online. This is another really interesting choice because it is built as a new widget in the Post or Page editing interface. So you can select or upload new images to include within the gallery and they are automatically included into the content. Very easy to configure and not too much technical stuff.
Simple Socnets(Social Networks) is a newer plugin for displaying social media icons for any posts or pages. Merely call the function socnet_display_links($post_id) within your template or remove $post_id if inside the loop. The plugin may be automatically included at the top of each post, but if you do not like this behavior simply disable it within the WP settings page.
Hashtags have been oddly popular first appearing on Twitter and then spreading onto Instagram. HashBuddy is a free WordPress plugin made for implementing with BuddyPress. It will parse user updates for the hash symbol and link to hashtags within the context. You can see what this looks like on the examples page full of alternate screenshots.
Another BuddyPress feature which has been overlooked is the banning/blacklisting functionality. When you have a user who is constantly publishing spam it can be annoying to go into the admin panel and find their profile to remove it. This BuddyPress Instaban plugin will include a button right on their profile page to instantly delete unwanted user accounts.
One other really awesome BuddyPress plugin is called BuddyPics – really just simple photo albums for BuddyPress users. The plugin offers member comments, privacy controls, and other sharing options. And the default template is really nice which makes uploading photos that much more exciting.
New comments added onto your site may be accessed then displayed anywhere on the page. WP Recent Comments with Avatars has a long name but it works great! You can setup the widget in your WP Admin area which will then pull out user comments along with their avatar photo, displayed anywhere you like. The plugin offers some example source code which makes restyling a whole lot easier.
There are plenty of rating posts already out there in the plugins repo. But Rate Own Post is certainly worth consideration with the ability to sort posts/pages by their ranking in the Admin panel. You can setup a 5-star rating system with the shortcode [nyrating] located anywhere in the post content.
Galleria uses thumbnails to display an image gallery right within any post or page. These can be included via shortcode or using the admin panel editor. The older versions of WordPress do not support the admin editor but you can list out image IDs into the shortcode tag. The interface is so easy to use and the gallery looks fantastic on nearly every website.
If for some reason you really need to remove those custom author archive pages from your blog, then this plugin is a great solution. It is very simple to install and may redirect to any other page you choose. Some blogs would just rather not publish author names and thus try to keep the publishers obfuscated from the content.
AwesomePress is a custom plugin for adding unique icon fonts anywhere in your content. The designs are built using Font Awesome which is a free open source icon font. These look fantastic in content lists and used within links or sidebar menus. But however you need to use them, AwesomePress is a simple way to add this content into any post or page on your site.
This Ajax-powered search plugin is actually a useful frontend widget for your layout. It is made to allow deeper and more intricate search dynamics for users. They can select between custom taxonomies, tags, post types, and many other features. The interface appears somewhat complex but this can be altered with just a little tinkering.
BasicSlider is a common jQuery plugin as with many other image sliders. This is super easy to install and provides the generic functionality you would expect. The benefit is how all the code is fairly standard, easy to understand, and easy to play with. You can see a better preview on the plugin’s screenshot page.
ezRedirect can help when reorganizing pages or switching from an older URL structure. There is a small admin settings menu where you can choose a current URL scheme and where that should redirect towards. It can be an internal or external address which is great for affiliate marketing.
The Featured YouTube/Image Slider is a complex name for a very simple plugin. This slider is different in that you see all the contents listed out in a vertical menu. This can include post featured images and will update the content as users click between the values. It offers support for embedded YouTube videos as well as regular images.
Not every WordPress blog runs an archive page, but this does help users to find what they are looking for. Categories, tags, and author pages are just a few examples of alternate archives. The WP Sort Posts plugin will allow users to change from most recent to oldest, and go through archives pages with this new sorting method. The only downside is that you will have to copy/paste some function codes into your PHP template files but if you want to try this out it doesn’t take very much time.
When you need to check out a preview of your current post this requires opening a new tab and waiting for it to load. Now in reality this does not take much effort, but Inline Preview offers another solution. This plugin will load your page preview inline with the Admin editor, so you can see the changes without refreshing your page. The plugin screenshots page offers a good preview of how this could work in your WP website.
Simple Twitter Tweets will pull your latest updates from Twitter’s API and display them onto your website. It does require a new API key by registering your own application. But this should only take up 5-10 minutes of your time and definitely offers a great solution for a free plugin.
How many times have you needed to create a custom FAQ page for your new website launch? This WP Awesome FAQ plugin will create a new custom post type where you can manage FAQs from the backend. Plus the frontend design uses question/answer formatting with hidden content so the page is really simple to browse.
Gravatar is a fantastic and easy solution for WordPress publishers but it can also be limiting. The Easy Author Image plugin allows authors to upload their own image from within WordPress. If they don’t then it will automatically default back to Gravatar. Take a look at the plugin screenshots to see more details.
Another API-based Twitter plugin which can perform a whole lot of unique functionality. Once you register an application you can add that key into Tweeple and start pulling results for any type of searches. These could be users, hashtags, favorite tweets, or any other common Twitter feed. If you are a fan of Twitter this is a really simple way to include various updates on your website.
For anybody who has needed to clean out major spam comment spam in WordPress, please check out this plugin. I had switched over to Disqus on my main website and one day I noticed over 2,500 comments in the database. These were all spam that were somehow still posting into WordPress. Using Delete All Comments saved me at least an hour of time. I know one day there will be other developers facing a similar problem and this plugin is for you!
Copy URL Button is a much-needed plugin allowing users to quickly grab a copy of the current permalink. This can be added into posts or pages, and there are 2 different badges you can choose from. They look like typical social media sharing badges, so it can blend nicely within a layout using other sharing buttons.
Ajaxed Comments is actually not just a pagination system for user comments. This grants comment authors the ability to edit their posts for a small amount of time, which you can set in the WP backend. Also the error handling and inline editing are all managed via Ajax requests. This is a very smooth plugin for user interaction since it offers a whole bunch of extra functionality.
.htaccess rewrite rules can be a huge pain if you are not familiar with the syntax. There are some rewrite rule webapps where you can quickly generate redirect codes but it is still difficult to edit the file. Using this Rewrite WordPress plugin all of these more complicated features can be managed right from the backend. Granted you will still need to understand these rules and make sure the syntax works properly, but the plugin is a lot easier for directly managing your own custom WordPress rewrites.
Here we have just a simple bbPress plugin for adding notices to the top of forum pages. As you can see in the plugin screenshots, these appear like typical WordPress notifications you might see in the backend. Super easy to install and customize within any bbPress page.
The YouTube Master is a lite version of the pro plugin built to include YouTube videos and playlists. This can also include a subscribe button which leads directly back to the uploader’s YouTube profile page. The free lite plugin is still worth trying out, but if you really enjoy the functionality it is probably worthwhile to upgrade using the full version.
This WP Client Portal is a brand new plugin which does need a bit of testing. The current version at the time of writing this article is 0.0.6 which means we haven’t even reached v1. So far I have been really impressed with the functionality and it seems like very few other developers are trending into the area of client management for WordPress. I am excited to share this and hope to see more advances in the future.
Casengo FAQ/Knowledgebase plugin allows for content accessible through Casengo to be included within your own website. The Casengo webapp is a cloud-hosted knowledgebase for managing FAQs and customer relations. It may not be useful in every website and there are certainly alternatives to adding frequently asked questions. But check this out if you have an interest in Casengo and would like to implement the same features into WordPress.
Another online web service HootSuite is very popular for social media account management. This WP HootSuite Dashboard plugin connects into your HootSuite account and allows you to edit settings and check statistics all within WordPress. The installation does not require much setup and the whole process is very simplified. Check out the plugin screenshots to see more of how this works.
As you might expect the Move Login plugin will update the WordPress login page to lead somewhere else. This also updates the logout page and you can setup the custom values from your WP backend settings page. This is a fantastic method to combat hacker/cracker bots looking to expose weak WordPress logins.
Although the list of new WordPress plugins will be growing everyday, this collection includes some really interesting choices for webmasters. I think a number of these plugins are worth trying and possibly keeping as a staple in future websites. But it certainly is not a complete compendium as the library is always expanding with new ideas. If you know about other recent WordPress plugins feel free to share in the discussion area below.