This is the first part of review about the WordPress plugins that we use and recommend. In this part of review we consider two groups of plugins.The first group is Performance plugins, describes how to speed up your WordPress with the help of W3 Total Cache and how to customize it using Redirection plugin. Generally speaking these plugins improve performance and make your WordPress interaction easier. And the second group is Security plugins and their necessity need no special introduction. Spam filtering Akismet service, WP Security Scan preventive measures, Automatic WP Backup which provides your actual data saving and backing ups.

Performance plugins

W3 Total Cache


This performance optimization plugin is a true champion among the other caching plugins. It improves server performance, which results in achieving the faster download times, and even increases the search engine ranking (even if not dramatically) and improves the content delivery network (CDN) integration by making it transparent. As per many reviews W3 Total Cache is a good substitute to other caching plugins. There is a certain issue with complicated customization option but, when configured correctly it will most likely upgrade the user experience and performance.

Redirection


The URL of your page/post/blog etc may change because of different reasons. So if you don't want to lose your potential visitors you need to manage 301 redirection to avoid the 404 error page. That is what Redirection plugin was made for. Its basic functions are: 404 error log monitoring, statistics of the accessed pages and redirection management. Redirection management includes: using authentication details, random pages and data of the referring page for custom redirecting to the other page, previously defined in the settings. An advanced feature includes possibility to add custom 301, 302, and 307 codes for any page – existent or not . What is more, Redirection plugin supports regular expressions for filtering URLs and has no dependency on .htaccess and also provides easy customization for detailed logging. Being multilingual it offers several language packs. Another good feature is that it doesn't affect the performance of your site.

Security plugins

Akismet


Developed initially for WordPress, this security plugin provides a spam filtering service. There are 2 main features Akismet provides. It scans the comments in your blog/site tracking the possible spam and compares it with their huge spam database which is as per Akismet statistics over 27 bln caught trackback pings and spam comments by now and keeps on updating every other second. It also tracks hidden links and highlights them avoiding redirection to the commercial sites. That provides a good anti-spam management. The comment status history which Akismet plugin also offers is visible in the comment log. There you can trace which and whose comments were marked as spam (either by you/moderator or by Akismet) or “cleared of all charges”. Since WP 2.0 version Akismet plugin has been included by default in all builds. Just get a WordPress.com API key. It is free for non-commercial sites/blogs.

WP Security Scan


WordPress Security Scan is first of all not a guard to protect your site from hacking. It is more like consultant whose experience and advice will help you to reveal the weakest spots and strengthen them. Its main point is scanning the system and your web host completely to check the passwords complicity, access permissions, version visibility, database protection etc. and verifies their vulnerability. Then reports the results back with the instruction how to strengthen the weak points. That will reduce the possible virus and hack attacks greatly.

Automatic WordPress Backup


Regular automatic backups will reduce your worries about an unexpected loss of the whole work you've done. Automatic WordPress Backup provides a space in the Amazon S3 service, which is easy to install, already set up to your needs and for a really moderate price. Your backups will be kept safely there. How does it work? This plugin backups your blog/site completely, meaning your WP settings, uploads, plugins and of course your database with entire content. The backups are created automatically, you don't have to wake up at night sweating when you remember you haven't done it for ages. : ) Just install and set it up. The backups are saved at Amazon S3.

Note:

  • this plugin is currently integrated only with Linux server and PHP5.
  • It is important to permit writing-in the needed folders (content and upload) so that the plugin was able to zip your files there.

Second part of this review:
Part2. Plugins that Improve your WordPress blog

Third part of this review:
Part3. Social & SEO WordPress Plugins

We hope you'll find this article useful.
Remember that it's only our opinion/choice and we would be pleased to know yours! So feel free to comment.