Must Have WordPress Plugins for 2021

Digital Marketing, RP, WordPress  |  December 10, 2021   | Ashton Principe


We have consolidated a list of must have WordPress plugins that’ll help optimize standard operating procedures while also protecting your site from spam, security breaches, legal troubles, and failed backups. If you feel like you’re not making the most of your WordPress website, this post is for you.

ManageWP Worker

ManageWP is an incredibly powerful tool for managing multiple WordPress websites. Popularly used among many digital marketing agencies to manage client websites, ManageWP provides for single login functionality and the ability to perform bulk maintenance across a group of websites. Plugin setup is fairly straightforward as well, create an account at, install the WordPress plugin on each site, then connect your account and wallah! Your site is now connected. Best of all, the basic software and functionality are available for free. Premium add-ons are available, but by no means are a requirement to experience the true value of this plugin.

Cost: Free, premium add-ons available.

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms, as the name suggests, is a WordPress form builder that is full of rich styling features and has a well-designed entry management system built in. GravityForms is the foundational plugin part of a larger ecosystem including GravityFlow, GravityView, and much more. GravityFlow in particular is an extremely powerful entry automation tool that saves time on repetitive tasks and elevates GravityForms with additional features.

Cost: Single Site Plan starting at a one-time fee of $59.

WordPress form plugins


Akismet is a super simple, yet very powerful plugin. Protecting your WordPress site from spam, Akismet has earned itself the reputation of being the #1 most popular spam protection plugin out on the market. Simply download and install the plugin, then enter your API key and just like that your website is protected. There are quite a few different plans available, for most businesses we would recommend the Plus plan.

Cost: Plus plan starting at $120 a year. 

Ensuring that your website is cookie compliant is a necessary step to take in protecting your business on the legal level. We recommend GDPR Cookie Compliance (CCPA Ready) as our plugin of choice. Many cookie compliance plugins do relatively the same thing, however we have had great luck with this specific one. As an important disclaimer, this plugin does not guarantee that your website is abiding by regional cookie laws. Please be sure to do your own research to ensure that your website complies with the GDPR, CCPA, or whichever organization applies to your specific country or area.

Cost: Free.

WordPress cookie plugins


No top essential WordPress plugins list is complete without the inclusion of JetPack. This plugin is an easy, go-to choice for site security, regular backups, and anti-spam measures (powered by Akismet.) Backups in particular are real time and cloud hosted, meaning that you’ll never lose additional work by accidentally forgetting to backup before making edits. JetPack has a huge community behind it, making support and tutorials more accessible. JetPack is a bit pricey for what it offers, but it is a great all-in-one toolkit for most businesses. We suggest the Security plan for the average WordPress site owner.

Cost: Security plan starts at $300 per year.

Whether a well-known plugin such as Akismet, or an unsung hero such as ManageWP, it is well worth the time to try out each of these must have WordPress plugins. Many of the premium plugins listed even offer complimentary trials to see if the plugin is right for you.

Interested in finding more possible plugin additions for your website? Check out our previous post on the top five most essential WordPress plugins you need to be using.

Ashton Principe

About the author

Ashton Principe is a student and digital consultant at Renewal Digital. He is interested in copywriting, as well as WordPress design and development. He enjoys learning the industry looks forward to sharing his findings with others.

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