These best free WordPress plugins were hand-picked because they were deemed the most flexible, usable, stable and just plain useful for a wide array of use cases. Most of them are relevant to almost any type of WordPress website.
Best Free WordPress Plugins in 2014
Since Flare is no longer being maintained, I needed a new social sharing plugin that looks sexy and has a total shares count feature. Thankfully Juiz saved the day with this epic plugin! The only feature missing that drives me a little crazy is that you can’t customize the order of the share buttons. Hopefully he’ll add that feature soon.
A simple, but incredibly useful plugin that allows you to clone existing posts and create new drafts out of them.
Want your search bar to have auto suggest functionality without any additional load on your web server? Swiftype Search is your ticket.
Provides interesting stats by author about word usage. Particularly helpful if you want to ensure your site’s content has good readability.
This is by far the best option for enabling social sharing and following features on websites with responsive designs.
The best syntax highlighter there is. It supports the most coding languages, the best code theme monokai, and even offers the best presentation.
Easily add Google-friendly rich snippets to your site, for all the most popular types of content.
This is the best question & answer plugin I’ve found that’s free, depending on your need it’s potentially better than the paid options as well.
If your theme doesn’t come with a scroll up button, this is the best plugin I’ve found to add in this lovely feature.
If you’re running a company website this is the best plugin available for posting & managing job listings on it.
If you want to show related posts, without adding load on your web server or providing a third party service link, Related Posts by Zemanta is your ticket.
If you want to get an overview of how your entire website performs in terms of load time and mobile-friendliness, as well as what you can do about it, check out this killer plugin.
Quickly see which of your posts perform best on various social channels.
Want a simplistic notification bar in which to place a call-to-action? Here’s the best free alternative to foobar.
Want a plethora of options as to when & where any of your widgets are displayed. Dynamic Widgets is probably your best bet.
Best Free WordPress Plugins in 2013
Flare is by far the sexiest social sharing plugin and it’s total share tally feature is particularly awesome.
If you’re not using DISQUS for your WordPress site’s comments you’re pretty far behind. DISQUS makes commenting super easy and elegant, as well as provides additional exposure and advertising revenue opportunities (if wanted).
My Shortcodes makes managing your own shortcodes super easy and does so in a beautiful, user-friendly interface.
This is the sexiest Twitter feed widget out-of-the-box that I’ve come across.
This is the most comprehensive social tally widget there is and it’s default design options aren’t too shabby.
This is an absolute must for any WordPress website, no question.
Why not making it harder for people to hack your site? It runs on WordPress…enough said.
This plugin remains the most flexible, powerful and reliable contact form framework of them all!
Why wouldn’t you promote your most popular content? It’s clearly what everyone wants, so make them aware of it!
This plugin allows you to easily make any widget sticky, so when you scroll past it, it then sticks in the window.
This plugin is a great replacement for Feedburner. Rather than paying for a new third-party service you can simply just track your subscriber stats on your standard WordPress feed locations.
Use Dropbox? Why not automatically backup your WordPress site to it for safe keeping?
Tired of the lame default WordPress login page? Easily customize it for a more personalized look and feel.
Keep your readers engaged by automatically recommending related posts.
The Yahoo! Smush.it service may be very unreliable, but when its functioning this plugin makes life really easy when it comes to optimizing your website images.
Easily cross-link your blog posts with keyword based automation for enhanced SEO and cross-promotion benefits.
This plugin may come with a less user-friendly and less sexy interface than W3 Total Cache, but it does what it’s designed to do better (loads websites faster), so I remain a loyal advocate.
You don’t want your visitors clicking on broken links, so scan for them automatically and address them ongoing for a better user experience.
Okay this one’s not very exciting, but why not make your widgets more flexible? This one comes in handy more often than you’d think it would.
This plugin makes it very easy to set your website’s public favicon, admin favicon, iOS web clip icon, iOS boot image & feed image.
This plugin allows you to make a professional maintenance landing page with ease.
Had to add this one to the list since it’s a WordPress Plugin I created. People liked how my author bio looked on this blog (like below), so I made it into this plugin called Sexy Author Bio. It comes with a lot of customization options if you don’t like it as is.
Did I miss any great free WordPress plugins?
If so, feel free to share any great free WordPress plugins I missed in the comments down below!