What started in 2003 as a small project is now the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). WordPress is now used by more than 60 million websites, including 33.6 percent of the top 10 million websites.
What makes WordPress great is it lets everyone dig in and do their thing. That goes from writers and creatives to developers and testers. As far as plugins are concerned, there are more than 55,000 plugins available on the official website, each of which offers custom features allowing users to design their sites as per their specific requirements.
We have gathered some of the best WordPress plugins for developers to help them enhance their development workflow and do more with the CMS. They all available on the WordPress site: you can either download them and install the file manually via FTP or directly install through the WordPress dashboard.
14. Simple History
Best for: Tracking recent changes
Simple History keeps track of changes made within WordPress and shows directly on the dashboard. It could be extremely helpful, especially if you are designing a new website.
The plugin works as an audit log or version history of the key events that happen in WordPress. For example, it can show you what posts/pages have been recently added, updated, or deleted by which user.
It records changes made in various WordPress settings, including alterations in the permalink structure and site title. You can also see when privacy data export request is added, approved, and downloaded by admin(s), or emailed to users.
13. Theme Switcha
Best for: Switching to an alternate theme for development
This plugin makes it easier for admins to develop and preview new themes without changing the default theme. So your visitors can continue using your website without noticing the background changes.
Once you are done editing, you can add a shortcode on any page or post to allow visitors to preview and switch themes on the front-end.
Theme Switcha lets you make changes to your theme template files (directly from the dashboard) and it works with all kinds of themes, including both child and parent themes.
12. Htaccess Editor
Best for: Safely editing Htaccess file
The plugin provides the easiest way to edit the website’s .htaccess file directly from the WordPress dashboard. It generates a backup every time you make changes in the file.
If any error in the .htaccess file causes your website to crash, you can restore the recent working version of the file directly from the plugin or via FTP.
Furthermore, the plugin is fully compatible with a network of sites on a single WordPress installation.
Best for: Protecting sites against malicious attacks
Wordfence is built from the ground up to protect your website against malicious attacks. It is packed with the newest firewall rules, malware signatures, and malicious IP addresses to block requests that contain harmful content or code.
After installing the plugin, it starts checking your core files, plugin and themes for malware, SEO spam, URLs, suspicious redirects and code injections. It also checks files’ integrity by comparing them with WordPress.org repository.
The premium version of the plugin allows you to monitor hack attempts and live traffic in real-time, including their IP address, date, and time spent on your website. There is also an option to block attackers by hostname, IP range, or country.
Best for: Running performance analysis and keeping track of your site
GTmetrix WP plugin regularly keeps track of your website and sends you alerts if your site performance falls below a threshold.
The tool analyzes your page with Yahoo! YSlow and Google Pagespeed rulesets and shows the page load time, total size and the total number of requests. It also compares the website’s performance with the average of all sites analyzed on the platform. Clicking on ‘detailed report’ will redirect you to their official website.
You can run analyses, schedule reports on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis. The alerts about the site’s status are displayed on the WP dashboard.
9. File Manager
Best for: Creating, editing, and deleting files directly from WP admin panel
Although developers love FTP, having a fully-functional file manager inside your WordPress dashboard is quite useful. The plugin allows you to upload, edit, download, delete, copy-paste, and zip files and folders right from the WordPress backend.
Unlike FTP, it eliminates the need for managing and moving files from location to location.
The plugin is packed with integrated development environment (IDE) and syntax checker to review the code before saving files. Admin/users can upload files of any size and control what files can be up uploaded/downloaded. There is also an option to backup and restore database, plugin, theme and uploads folder on the server.
8. WP Reset
Best for: Quicky resetting and retesting code
Sometimes we make changes to improve things but end up crashing the WordPress installation and server, and no amount of modifications is good enough to bring it back to life.
This is where WP Reset comes in handy. It quickly resets the database of the website to the initial values, deleting all content and customizations. However, themes, plugins, media files, site title, and address remain unchanged.
Although the plugin is designed to help developers speed up their testing and debugging process, one should use it with caution because there is no UNDO.
Best for: Backing up your databases and files
Like other CMS, WordPress could be vulnerable to things like security flaws, insecure web hosts, bad theme or plugin updates, and server crashes. Altering crucial files without a backup is not a great idea: even a small error in code can cost you dearly in money, time, and reputation.
While security measures are necessary, backups are ultimate insurance. If things mess up, you can always restore databases and files in no time.
UpdraftPlus is currently the best plugin to do this job: it makes it easy to generate a full backup of your website and keep it into the clouds (compatible with services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Amazon S3) and restore with a single click.
6. Password Protected
Best for: Hiding your unfinished website from the world
If you are working on something that you don’t need the world to see, you can put a password on the whole website. Password Protected plugin provides a very simple way to do that.
The plugin uses a single password to lock your entire site. However, it only protects WP generated content, so images or uploaded files can still be accessed if someone enters the exact URL of the media file.
There is also an option to allow access to feeds and allow admin access without entering the password.
5. Elementor Page Builder
Best for: Creating stunning responsive sites in a whole new and visual way
With Elementor Page Builder, you can deliver high-end page designs with advanced features and capabilities.
The plugin comes with instant live edit, drag-drop page builder, and instant page load. The interface is easy to use and allows you to control every aspect of your site design workflow from one place.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, there are over 300 full-page, pre-designed templates to choose from. You can customize them as per your requirements and reuse them on different pages.
4. Loco Translate
Best for: In-browser editing for WP translation files
The plugin allows you to edit WordPress translation files right in your browser. It comes with useful localization tools, such as generating templates and extracting strings [from source code].
Loco Translate allows you to compile MO file with no Gettext on your system, and supports PO features, including references, comments, and plural forms.
It also features configurable PO file backups, some in-built WP locale code, and protected language directory for saving custom translations.
3. Health Check & Troubleshooting
Best for: Detecting conflicts between plugins, themes, and core code
As the name suggests, the plugin performs several checks on your WordPress install to find issues and configuration errors.
If informs you about how the server-side stuff is performing. For example, the plugin checks your MySQL and PHP versions, some extension required to improve your site, and whether the WordPress services are accessible to you.
There is a troubleshooting section that allows you to have a vanilla WP session in which you can run the default theme with all plugins disabled for certain users.
2. Theme Check
Best for: WordPress theme developers
Theme Check is a handy plugin to make sure your theme supports the latest WordPress coding standards and practices.
It offers a simple way to test your theme: the tests are run through the admin menu and all results are displayed in a single page. The errors separated in ‘Recommended’, ‘Required’, ‘Warning’ and ‘Info’. The plugin also provides the basic information about errors so you can figure out where the problem lies.
Overall, it helps you reduce the chances of your theme being rejected while adhering to the best coding practices.
1. Query Monitor
Best for: Working with AJAX calls, REST API requests, and database operations
Query Monitor is a simple yet powerful developer tool panel that allows you to debug PHP errors, database queries, HTTP API calls, hooks and actions, and enqueued scripts and stylesheets.
The plugin presents the information in a useful manner: it shows database queries categorized by themes, plugins, or functions associated with them. This helps you quickly detect poorly performing themes, plugins, or functions.
There is also an admin toolbar to provide you with a brief of the current page. Once you select a menu item, it takes you to the panel where you can find complete debugging information.