With the holiday season being the time for giving gifts, here’s a list of 10 of my favorite WordPress tools that you can get free in the WP Engine Solution Center. If you’re not familiar with the solution center, you can read more about it in the article I wrote a while back. Basically, WP Engine has built a user interface where you can find all kinds of applications, plugins, and services you can use to enhance, optimize, and market your WordPress websites.
Just as a quick reminder, the WP Engine Solution Center is available for anyone to use. However, if you’re a WP Engine customer, you’ll get even more benefits from the Solution Center content. Some of the items are free while others will require you to pay. Since we’re talking about gifts and goodies in this article, we’ll focus on features and applications that are free to use.
1. WP Engine PHP Compatibility Checker
PHP 7 definitely provides better speed and performance for WordPress sites. However, it’s important to make sure your particular website is ready to be upgraded to version 7. For those of you still on a prior version of PHP, use this handy tool to test your WordPress site for PHP 7 compatibility.
2. Cloudflare CDN
A content delivery network can greatly reduce page loading times for your website visitors. If you have a global audience that is spread out around the world, it’s even more beneficial to utilize a CDN so your static website content can be accessed from different servers. Many web hosts provide free Cloudflare service with their hosting. At WP Engine, it’s included with their Professional level and above plans.
3. Imagify Image Optimizer
One of the best ways of speeding up your WordPress site is to optimize your photo images. When I spoke with Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes, he specifically mentioned image optimization as one of the best ways to improve your site speed. With the Imagify WordPress plugin, you can optimize your images with a single click. As with many plugins, there is both a free and premium paid version. The free version is good for 25 MB.
The Shareaholic toolkit is a set of applications designed to help you engage and increase your audience. Shareaholic includes the following:
- Related Content Highlights
- Social Media Share and Follow Buttons
- Social Media Analytics
- Shareable Images
- Content Promotion
- Anchor Ads
5. WP Engine Site Migration Plugin
Moving your website can often be a big hassle. If you’ve decided you need managed WordPress hosting and become a WP Engine customer, you can easily move your site with the WP Engine Site Migration plugin. The plugin makes a copy of your website so that you can test and verify that it works fine before switching your DNS and making your website available to others.
6. WPScan Security Scanner
WPScan is a security scanner that can detect vulnerabilities in the theme and plugins you use with your WordPress site.
7. Give Donation Plugin
Online donations and crowdfunding continue to grow in popularity. If you plan on creating a WordPress site for these purposes, then the Give donation plugin can make your life a lot easier. The Give plugin is available in the WordPress.org repository and is free to use. With Give, you can easily create donation forms that you can use as stand-alone pages or as a sidebar widget.
There are a lot of great image galleries for WordPress sites, and FooGallery is certainly in that group. The galleries look great and you have a lot of flexibility in building them. You can choose one of the galleries that are provided or create your own. You also get drag and drop reordering, lightbox support, video galleries, and more.
9. The Events Calendar
If you need to add an events calendar to your WordPress website, try The Events Calendar plugin. The calendar you create is fully responsive and can be viewed by calendar grid, day by day, or list.
10. Advanced Custom Fields
Sometimes, you need to customize your WordPress site more than your theme allows you to. With the Advanced Custom Fields plugin, you can easily create over 30 different types of fields.