My Personal Must-Have WordPress Plugins of 2017

Today, I present you the WordPress plugins that I just can’t live without anymore. They take care of a problem with only one click, or they are just very user-friendly, making them super easy to use.

I’m reasonably sure that you’ll be able to use some of these plugins as well.

1 – Post Type Switcher

Okay, it’s a bit of a niche plugin. But a beneficial one. I have used it a few times already, and I don’t want to go without it anymore. Sometimes, it makes a lot of sense to turn a post into a page. An example being the so-called cornerstone content.

Of course, the plugin also allows you to turn a page into a post. All of that in one click. The plugin stays in the publishing area of a page or a post. A short selection and a click is all it takes to transform it.

post-type-switcher

Select, Click OK, and Refresh. Done!

Post Type Switcher
Post Type Switcher
Price: Free

2 – WP Staging

WP Staging – DB & File Duplicator & Migration

Staging is a great thing. Imagine you wanted to fiddle with your website’s design. For that, having an exact copy of your site is advantageous, allowing you to rework all areas and elements with your new design without the risk of losing it all.

This copy can also be helpful for testing new plugins or updates. In just a few clicks, the plugin gets you an exact clone of your website, with all settings, contents, and plugins.

The approach is straightforward. Under WP Staging => Start, you call up the interface.

1 – Then, click on »Create new staging site«.

2 – Now, assign a name to your developer website. Just one word, please.

Namen vergeben

3 – Check, if you want to exclude folders from the cloning process.

WP Staging

Here, I would exclude the folder downloads, cloud, and cdn from the cloning.

4 – Afterwards, click on »Start Cloning«.

The process of cloning can take a while depending on the size of the website, and the potency of the web hosting. My website (94 posts, 38 pages), is cloned and ready to use after three minutes.

Another advantage of this way of copying a website is that it can only be viewed when you’re logged in. This way, Google is not able to index the copied website, preventing it from punishing you for duplicate content.

3 – AH Code Highlighter

AH Code Highlighter WordPress Plugin

In your articles, you often work with code snippets, and you’re looking for a neat way to display them? If so, this plugin should be just right for you. Code highlighting is a great thing. However, most of these plugins are not light.

On top of that, there are user-friendly controls in your daily usage. The AH Code Highlighter scores in both of these areas. The plugin is lightweight and does not slow down your website.

On top of that, it is super easy to use. You can also choose from seven themes to display the code. By the way, Noupe is also using this plugin.

It’s that simple:

1 – Click on the code button

code-button

The Code Button Calls up the Generator

2 – Select the language of your code

sprache-auswaehlen

3 – Implement code, display line numbers, and click on »OK«. Done!

Zeilennummern eingeben

Demo:

<?php

if ( ! function_exists( 'evolution_page_loop' ) ) :
/**
 * Display page content
 * Hooked into the `evolution_page` action in the page.php
 * 
 * The action hooks called are:
 * 
 * 'evolution_before_page_loop' 
 * 'evolution_after_page_loop'
 *
 * @since  1.0.0
 * @return  void
 */
function evolution_page_loop() {

        do_action( 'evolution_before_page_loop' );

          while ( have_posts() ) : the_post();

                evolution_content_page();

            do_action( 'evolution_before_page_comments' );

        // If comments are open or we have at least one comment, load up the comment template.
        if ( comments_open() || get_comments_number() ) :
        comments_template();
        endif;

      endwhile; // End of the loop.
    
     do_action( 'evolution_after_page_loop' );
 }
endif;
AH Code Highlighter
AH Code Highlighter
Developer: Andreas Hecht
Price: Free

4 – Contact Form by WPForms

Contact Form by WPForms – Drag & Drop Form Builder for WordPress

Until recently, I was a convinced user of Contact Form 7. But then, I wanted a more extensive contact form for my website, including many different elements, and I quickly pushed the plugin to its limits. Admittedly, it would have been doable. But user-friendliness is different.

The search for a suitable alternative made me test the »Contact Form by WPForms« plugin. A fast test convinced me quickly. The plugin is easy to use, and you can even create complicated forms very quickly. On top of that, it comes with a sufficiently nice design for the finished form.

Under the menu item WP Forms => New, you can customize a contact form with a comfortable drag and drop generator.

1 – Enter a name and select a template. I have chosen an empty form.

WP Forms Lite

2 – Select the fields you need. Drag them to the right.

Die Drag and Drop Felder

3 – Edit the fields and make use of the many options.

Ein Feld bearbeiten

4 – Pick up the shortcode, and implement it on the page of your choice. Done!

Shortcode abholen und in Seite einfügen

If you want to, you can see the result on my website.

5 – AH Display Widgets

AH Display Widgets WordPress Plugin

Recently, the Display Widgets Plugin was on everyone’s lips, because it had a backdoor, through which the (new) developer was able to distribute spam and malware over the websites that had this plugin installed.

One of my clients had the particular plugin version too but wanted to keep the excellent functionality. Thus, I searched for the last version without a backdoor (v2.05 or v2.7) and ran some in-depth checks on the code. I rewrote a few lines and made the plugin available to the community again.

By the way, the code can be viewed on GitHub (or maybe improved).

What Does the Plugin do:

With the help of the plugin, you can completely customize your sidebar and only display contents where you want them. For example, if you have a blog and a WooCommerce shop on your website, you can have just one single sidebar displaying the store widgets on the shop pages, and the blog widgets on the blog only.

Each of your widgets has additional options that let you steer exactly where which widget is displayed. View Screenshot:

Die Optionen des AH Display Widgets Plugins

AH Display Widgets
AH Display Widgets
Developer: Andreas Hecht
Price: Free

Conclusion

Each of these plugins is dear to me, and I don’t want to forgo any of them. I already used the “Post Type Switcher” to turn one or another post into a page. I use “WP Staging” to test updates and design new layouts for my website. The “AH Code Highlighter” makes my snippets neat.

Contact Form by WPForms” provides my contact form, and I use “AH Display Widgets” for any website with a WooCommerce shop. This saves a lot of time, as I don’t need to alter the WooCommerce templates.

 

Andreas Hecht

Andreas Hecht is a journalist and specialist for WordPress and WordPress Security. He roams the web since its inception. He has published an ebook on WordPress Security, which you might want to take a look at.

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