We’ve been using WordPress to build our websites for years now and it is definitely still our CMS of choice for a number of reasons. One of which is the vast array of free themes and plugins available to improve the look and functionality of your website.

Here at amplify we use a premium theme called Divi by Elegant themes, purely due to its powerful drag and drop page building tools. But aside from that we look to a standard set of free plugins for every wordpress site we build.

So without further ado here’s our list of essential free WordPress plugins:

Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode

by SeedProd
Switch your site into ‘Under Construction’ or ‘Maintenance Mode’.

404 Page by SeedProd

by SeedProd
Plugin to create custom 404 error page.

Akismet Anti-Spam

by Automattic
Anti-spam plugin.

BackWPup

by Inpsyde GmbH
Automated full site backups to Dropbox, S3, FTP or locally.

Contact Form 7

by Takayuki Miyoshi
Create multiple and improved contact forms. supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and more.

Duplicate Post

Enrico Battocchi
Easily Clone posts and pages.

Jetpack by WordPress.com

by Automattic
Jetpack enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users.

MailChimp for WordPress

by ibericode
Adds various highly effective Mailchimp sign-up methods to your site.

WPBruiser

by Mihai Chelaru
Provides useful security and anti-spam features.

iThemes Security

by iThemes
Offers 30+ ways to lock down WordPress in an easy-to-use WordPress security plugin.

Yoast SEO

by Team Yoast
The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

by Alin Marcu
Connects Google Analytics with your WordPress site. Displays stats to help you understand your users and site content

W3 Total Cache

by Frederick Townes
Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress.

These plugins should help you add some key functionalities missing from your default WordPress website. Let us know if you think we’ve missed any noteworthy additions.