We all have different plugins that we cannot live without and I certainly have a collection of 5 very important WordPress plugins that I will share with you here. But, what makes them so important to me?

Whenever I install WordPress, either for myself or a customer, there are 5 plugins that I see as must-haves that every blog should use. These 5 are automatically uploaded when I load the rest of the files and then activated as part of my set-up of the new blog. And they are (in alphabetical order!).

Akismet – where would we be without Akismet? No longer is it an option, it is packaged with WordPress. But, you must sign up to WordPress and get yourself an API key. Without Akismet you are leaving your blog open to endless spam comments that you will need to delete.

Login Lockdown – if you have ever had someone attempt to hack your site or even succeed, you will understand my desire for more blog security. This clever little plugin just sits and watches failed login attempts. If too many happen in a short time from 1 IP address, further login attempts are stopped from that address. This prevents anyone using brute force to guess your admin password.

UPDATE: 9-10-10 – following further testing of this plugin, I have decided that Login Lockdown does not do what it says on the tin and am experimenting instead with Limit Login Attempts.

Revision Diet – how often do you write a post, publish it and then never look at it again? Do you save various drafts, publish it and make more amendments? Is your database clogging up with revisions? This plugin helps you there by clearing out all but the most recent revisions. It keeps the database space down and should help keep your page response time up. You choose how many recent versions you keep.

WordPress Database Backup – if the worst came to it, how would you recreate your blog? If it crashed, was deleted (or infected) by a hacker, you wanted to move it to a new server or you accidentally deleted your database tables, what do you do? Well that is where this plugin comes in. You give it an email address and tell it how often you want to receive a backup of the essential tables. All of my blogs email to the same email address, which every month I go onto, check the emails are arriving and delete the older versions of the backups. Simple and secure.

WP Captcha Free – Akismet does a good job, but it is not perfect. It misses some spam and falsely marks good comments. This means that you have to trawl through your spam folder and check all spam is spam. Well this simple plugin stops a lot of the spam at source, without affecting users. It encodes into the comment form a time stamp and checks that. The first time a spammer uses it they will get through, but after that they will keep using the same time stamp and the comment will be deleted. Real visitors get a new time stamp every time they see the comment form and their comments get through.

Five very simple WordPress plugins. But, when I create a new blog they must all be there. If you have any other favourites do leave a comment – I might just make it a list of 6 must-have plugins!

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