Today we are going to showcase our top 8 choices for the best WordPress plugins of 2016. The utility of these plugins range from dynamic, to social media and even developer focused plugins; and are based solely upon our opinions and experience with them as developers.
While there are a number of reasons why developers may choose to utilize WordPress as the foundation to base their custom designs upon, as developers, our reasons for choosing to utilize the WordPress ecosystem include: ease of use for our clients, proper security updates, as well as plugin maintenance for sustainability and long-term performance. Many designers and developers (like us) choose to utilize the WordPress ecosystem because of its vast array of open-source options for extendable API’s and programs, as well.
Please note, these recommendations are merely our opinion. Imagine Monkey, Inc is not affiliated with any plugin developer or company referenced in this article, and is not being paid to give these opinions. Without further adieu, here are our choices for our favorite WordPress plugins of 2016 (thus far)…
Ah, ACF… a plugin that should be in every WordPress web developers tool-belt. By default, WordPress pages and posts have a limited amount of data-input fields. However, there are times when you may be required to collect and display more data than what is available. This is where the widely popular WordPress plugin, Advanced Custom Fields, proves useful. By utilizing this extremely versatile and powerful plugin, you can generate new custom fields for your pages, posts, and custom post types. Unlike other plugins, the barrier of entry is fairly low – and even non-technical users may find its user-interface and online documentation fairly straight forward and easy to learn.
You may be wondering what a “post type” is, and why should it matter how it’s ordered? Well, it’s simple really: a custom post type is a regular post that just has a different
post_type value stored in the database. For instance, the post type of regular posts is
post, and pages use
page, attachments use
Two–factor authentication (also known as 2FA) is a method of confirming a user’s claimed identity by utilizing a combination of two different components. Generally, this includes either an email sent to the user, or a phone-call or text message sent in order to verify the authenticity of the user requesting special login permissions. Cleff is a mobile app which provides a password free way to security authenticate users to your WordPress website.
A few notable features of this plugin/app are (from the plugin description page):
Clef stores the encrypted private key on your phone rather than in a central database. Thus even in the unlikely event of a catastrophic security breach on Clef’s servers, your login credentials remain secure on your phone.
Every Clef login requires two identification factors: your phone and a fingerprint or PIN. So even if your phone is lost or stolen, your Clef profile and logins remain safe and sound.
Clef disables passwords for all three WordPress authentication points: Dashboard access, API access (XML-RPC), and password resets. Thus it protects WordPress’s front door and back door against the full spectrum of password-based attacks:
Brute-force and botnet login attacks
Weak, leaked, and recycled passwords
Sending login credentials in plain text via an insecure (non-SSL/TLS) connection
Account takeovers via email breaches
While the Redux Framework isn’t a “plugin” in the traditional sense, it is installable and configurable the same as any other WordPress plugin. And, it’s even hosted on the official WordPress plugin repository. The Redux framework is built on the WordPress Settings API, and it supports a multitude of field types as well as: custom error handling, custom fields & validation types, and import/export functionality.”
The Redux Framework aims to help alleviate some of the code overhead that developers face when developing custom solutions for WordPress. Through its extensible documentation, wide user-base, and multiple use-case examples, the Redux framework is a greate choice for any developer who’s looking to get their feet wet by developing their own bespoke themes.
The Recent Facebook posts plugin is a WordPress plugin allowing you to list the most recent Facebook posts from public Facebook pages directly onto your website. This plugin includes the ability to display Facebook posts via a WordPress widget, embedable shortcode, as well as a theme function which you can add to your themes function.php file.
Some notable features to this plugin are (from the plugin description page):
Facebook posts are cached for a customizable period.
Easy Configuration, the plugin comes with a comprehensive installation guide and screenshots.
We recently covered the Simple Custom CSS plugin in great detail on our blog – but in a nutshell, if you’re a web designer who constantly finds themselves needing a quick way to test CSS modifications or an easier way to over-write previous CSS (such as in a theme or plugin), then a custom CSS plugin like Simple Custom CSS is a great way to add additional CSS without modifiying core files.
Well, that wraps up our short list of the most useful WordPress plugins that we’ve used so far this year. We’ll most likely come back around to this blog post to add different plugins as we come across them later down the road. We may even amend this blog if our opinion on one of the aforementioned plugins changes. Feel free to contact one of our web developers if you would like assistance in configuring or customizing any of the WordPress plugins above, and even those which we haven’t covered in this blog. Until next time, code well!