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How To Find Essential WordPress Plugins for Your New Blog

How To Find Essential WordPress Plugins for Your New Blog

This is a guest post contributed by C. Edmiston, who writes for TechTorpedo.

WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for publishing your blog online. It’s a content management system (CMS) that has a super large following of fans, and to help make WordPress life easier, there is a huge library of plugins to give you new features for your WordPress website.

When you first install WordPress, it comes only as a basic blogging platform. There isn’t any real security features, or plugins that help make blog publishing life all about publishing, instead of technical administration.

There are a number of plugins you can install to help you ,though, and this is a roundup of the very best plugins to save you time. It’s recommended to get these plugins installed on your blog as soon as you set it up, or as soon as you can if your blog is already live.

1. Akismet

Akismet is a plugin that is dedicated to stopping comment spam that you receive on your blog. There are many people that use automated tools to find WordPress blogs automatically, and then post comment spam on them. This can cost you lots of precious time, as it’s a good idea to allow comments on your blog, so you’re actively engaging with the community and fans, but you don’t want to wade through all the generic “visit my blog” comments.

This is where Akismet comes in.

In April 2015, there was one day alone that 177 million attempted spam comments were blocked by the system.

Since you’re probably just running a personal blog, you can use their free plan. You will have to sign up on their website for the API key that is required for the plugin, but this is easy and the instructions are given to you when you install Akismet.

Once it’s installed it works silently as the Akismet system monitors spam globally, so offenders are caught quickly, and you will never see the spam. If you have a look at the settings after running Akismet for a couple of months, it will tell you exactly how much time it has saved you by cleaning up spam automatically.

2. BackWPup

This is the plugin you need to make sure that your WordPress installation and database is backed up securely, if you ever happen to fall victim to a hack, or maybe your accidentally lose your site due to your web host’s fault.

Normally if you don’t have your site backed up, you’re going to have to start from scratch again, and this can result in so much lost time trying to get your blog up to where it was before. With BackWPup, you can instantly restore your complete website from your archive, as long as you have it.

It takes a few minutes to install this plugin, but you’ll save all the time in the world when it comes to headaches and sleepless nights.

You have the option to set up where backups should go, and this can be sent to an email address, or even stored externally on Dropbox. If you choose Dropbox, it will work with the free 2GB version, and asks you to connect a Dropbox account with just a click.

You can then schedule how often the backup is performed, and you get to choose the day and time. You can set it up for a weekly backup, and also set it to backup the website data slowly, as sometimes the operation is intensive on your server’s resources, so this is a handy feature.

The plugin will also email you automatically if there are any errors, so you can be assured that as long as you don’t receive any emails, the backups are performing nicely, and you can be more productive with blog posts instead.

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3. BruteProtect

Malicious attempts at accessing your blog will happen every day. Hackers try to disturb your workflow by finding ways to get into your blog, and leave links to their spam sites. Some people do it just for fun, and this can cost you lots of downtime – and even an expense – if these hackers use botnets, which are groups of slave computers, to attempt to break into many WordPress sites at once, which can result in your host provider charging you for the traffic.

It’s easy to stop all of this with one flick of the BruteProtect plugin switch. It allows your site to be included in the entire BruteProtect network, and with the help of all the other BruteProtect users, track and ban all the IPs that are attempting to use botnets to bring your site to it’s knees.

You even get to see the number of attempts to your site that have been stopped by BruteProtect on the dashboard of your website. Just to give you a sense of the scale of these hacking attempts, the count for thwarted attacks stands at more than 1.2 billion.

4. Wordfence

There are many ways that hackers can break into your WordPress blog and, for some, if they manage to do so, they will quietly place a link to their spam site inside your theme or plugin. This way you won’t easily see it, and it can be difficult to remove. This can cause your site bad rankings and will make it harder for all your good publishing work to be spotted by potential readers. Wordfence saves the day.

This is a plugin designed to compare the installed core files with the official WordPress repository. It does much more than this, though; it also includes a firewall to block malicious scans from attackers and even scans for malware that might be installed on your site.

The plugin tracks the attempts by hackers to gain access to your website and blocks their IP addresses, while also giving you a review of what is going on in a handy dashboard interface on the admin section of your site.

Once you have these main security and backup plugins installed, you are free to discover some of the other great plugins that WordPress has to offer, knowing that your site is protected, and your data is backed up. Now, you can get back to being a productive blogger.

Do you use any other WordPress plugins to keep your new blogs secure? Tell us about them in the comments section below!

Image by Viktor Hanacek

 

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C. Edmiston
TechTorpedo is an online digital blog specializing in everything from networking news, to business, social media, and lifestyle information. We like to create entertaining and relevant posts, and cover a range of interesting topics.
C. Edmiston

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