5 Best WordPress Plugins for Developers

The WordPress platform is designed for both newcomers to web work and veteran developers to thrive. Regardless of your experience level or area of expertise, a suite of the right WordPress plugins is front-and-center to your success. As a web developer, selecting the best plugins can not only help create the best user experience (UX) possible, but also lighten your load so that you can focus on other tasks that haven’t already been tackled by another dev. With that in mind, we want to showcase some of the best plugins for developers to help Bonus new member you make every website you work on even better.

1. Freemius

If you are a web developer who doesn’t know about Freemius (or do know about it and aren’t using it), consider it. Freemius is a web developer’s dream come true. You don’t have to keep a storefront to sell your plugin (but you can if you want) because you’re able to sell your plugin through the user’s own WordPress admin panel.

The plugin also gives you a downright fantastic opt-in that gets you a massive amount of feedback from users. Users are given the option to allow you to collect anonymous analytics on your plugin, and when/if they uninstall, a simple form appears to let them give feedback as to why they did so.

Freemius doesn’t have an upfront subscription fee like platforms like Shopify. You can give it a try to see how it works before committing and having to set up a storefront. This model lets you run tests on various products to see how each performs in different ways before you decide which sales method works best for you.

Key Features:

  • No upfront platform fee (7%+ revenue share)
  • Anonymous analytics opt-ins
  • Uninstall exit survey
  • No hosted storefront, sales through user’s WordPress dashboard
  • Deployment mechanism for pushing plugin updates
  • Failed payment recovery
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Allows affiliate sales
  • Offers free trials and freemium upgrades from WordPress.org Plugin repository

Pricing: Pay As You Go (27% on first $1k; 17% on $1k-$5k; 7% after $5k) | More information

2. Health Check and Troubleshooting

This is a must have plugin for every site, really. Health Check gives you a rundown of what and how your overall WordPress site is doing. The basic interface lets you see a snapshot of the site, and web developers can really dig into the reports on how the server-side stuff is going. In general, the Health Check plugin just gives your WP site a once-over. Kind of like going to the doctor for a physical.

Probably the most interesting feature is being able to set your site into a “troubleshooting mode” in which all plugins and non-default themes are disabled. You can then re-enable everything individually to see what has specific impacts on your site. This is only for your user and will not show on the live site, nor will changes or settings be saved upon exit. It is truly a Safe Mode for web debugging.

The plugin overall is not really designed for everyday users, but this is absolutely one of the best plugins for developers in the WordPress space.

Key Features:

  • Simple, automated WordPress checks and tests
  • Debug section for server configuration
  • Troubleshooting/Safe Mode
  • Dashboard widget displaying site health
  • Varied tools for checking email capabilities, default WP files and more.

3. LambdaTest

LambdaTest should be your go-to WordPress plugin for cross-browser testing. The unique thing about LambdaTest is that instead of simulating the browser results, the plugin takes full-page screenshots of your posts and pages using “real browsers running on real operating systems on cloud connected real machines.” If you’ve ever tried to use synthetic analytics to test, then you know what a big deal it is. If you haven’t…well, just download Lambda Test and be glad about that.

4. Theme Check

The WordPress.org theme and plugin repositories have come a long way over the years. What once felt like the Wild West has, over time, become a haven for well-designed and developed software. WordPress has a number of standards for inclusion now, and Theme Check is a simple tool to make sure that any theme you design follows them. This one makes our list because the best WordPress plugins for developers don’t have to be overly complex, just useful. And this one is simple and useful.

Even if you aren’t submitting them to the repository, you can use the plugin to make sure that its code is following the current standards set by the community. In a very real way, a quick scan with this plugin is the same as doing a spell check before submitting an article or turning in a paper. There’s no reason not to do it.

Do keep in mind that if you use this on a theme that isn’t going into the repository, it may flag certain things as issues that really aren’t. Such as directory naming conventions and file locations. The plugin checks that things are done “the WordPress way” but it has no way to match all in-house style guides. If, though, your theme is going up on WP.org, pay attention.

5. UpdraftPlus

This one is a no-brainer. Regardless of your skill level or length of time in the industry, if you’re a web developer, you need a good backup system. In the WordPress world, it really doesn’t get any simpler or better than UpdraftPlus.

You really can’t do development without a solid backup plan. Things mess up, and you’re going to crash a site. It’s inevitable. UpdraftPlus is known to keep things safe and sound, especially with the extra remote storage it offers.

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