WordPress is one of the most flexible CMS on the planet. Its customization ability makes it a developer’s playground.
But, as a busy WordPress developer, your goal is to streamline your workflow whenever possible. You don’t want to waste time doing complex and repetitive tasks, when simply installing a plugin would do the trick.
Luckily, there are a number of WordPress plugins that can help you out.
Below we dive deep into some of the best WordPress plugins for developers.
The plugins below will help you check for bugs, troubleshoot any websites you’re developing, streamline tasks, and even enhance the security of the site you’ve built.
What to Look for in a WordPress Plugin for Developers
Like most things WordPress, there are dozens of plugins that can work for any given task. But, not every plugin will be of high quality. If you install the wrong plugin on your site, it can actually end up doing more damage than it’s worth.
Some plugins haven’t been updated in a long time and can leave your site open to security holes, while others might not be compatible with the latest version and can bring your site offline.
As a result, there are certain things you’ll want to look for when evaluating WordPress developer plugins:
- WordPress version compatibility. The WordPress core is updated regularly. You’ll want your plugins to do the same. Having an incompatible plugin can lead to issues, and might even bring your site offline.
- Frequent updates. You’ll want to make sure that a plugin is updated consistently. This shows you that the developer stands behind the plugin and will help to fix any issues or bugs as they arise.
- Solid reviews. User reviews will tell you a lot about the quality of the plugin. Generally, the higher the star rating, the better the plugin will be. But, keep in mind that newer plugins might not have the same level of reviews as plugins that have been on the market for some time.
Make sure you keep the above in mind as you search for plugins to help your development workflow. Every plugin that’s featured on the list below has been vetted via the criteria above.
10 Best WordPress Plugins for Developers
There are probably hundreds of different plugins that can help improve your life as a WordPress developer. Whether that’s improving the quality of the sites you build, or helping to simplify certain parts of the development process.
If you don’t want to waste time combing through hundreds of plugins, then keep reading. Here are ten of the best WordPress plugins for developers that are available today:
1. WP Reset
WP Reset will help you reset your WordPress databases, so you can start over from scratch. Sometimes all the tinkering in the world won’t help when the databases are malfunctioning or have become corrupted.
This plugin makes it easy to reset your databases and start over.
But, there are a few additional features that make it even more useful for WordPress developers.
For example, once you run the plugin it’ll delete any customizations you’ve made, posts, pages, and database files. But, it’ll keep your media files intact.
You can even select certain portions of your site to keep while restoring others to the default settings.
Here are a few additional features offered by this WordPress plugin:
- You can reset your site to a clean installation in a matter of seconds
- It has support for WP-CLI so you can use the command line
- It has built-in tools to test and debug what aspects of the site aren’t working
- You can automatically return your previous plugin and themes settings once the restore is complete
2. Query Monitor
Query Monitor helps to simplify the debugging process. Trying to go through the debugging process on your own can be incredibly time-consuming. Luckily, the Query Monitor plugin can help to greatly speed up the process.
This WordPress plugin is equipped with several different tools and can find issues like:
- Any PHP errors
- Issues with database queries
- Stylesheet conflicts
- Hooks and actions problems
- REST API calls
- User compatibility checks
Once you run the plugin it’ll give you a report of any existing site issues, then you can go through and fix each problem. The reports generated by this plugin are very easy to read and are actionable too.
You’ll be able to see right away what plugins, themes, or issues with your code are breaking or slowing down your WordPress site.
3. Health Check and Troubleshooting
Health Check is another useful troubleshooting plugin for WordPress developers. It will help to pinpoint any configuration issues, or problems with your PHP code, or MySQL databases. It gives you an overall health report for your WordPress website.
This plugin is even used by the WordPress support team to help diagnose and fix any issues. So, you know it can be trusted!
Some unique features include:
- A debug section to gather information about WordPress configuration and your server setup
- Troubleshooting your site from a clean WordPress slate
- A tools section that will analyze WordPress files, plugin compatibility, and email functionality
It has a very intuitive dashboard, so it’s very easy to use and will help speed up the debugging and troubleshooting process.
The reports generated by this plugin are color-coded, so you can see which issues are the most pressing and which can be resolved later.
4. Regenerate Thumbnails
Whenever you’re making changes to your WordPress site it’s common for image sizes to get messed up. No matter how much you refresh your site the images still stay the same.
One great way around this is to use the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin. This plugin will regenerate every single thumbnail on your site with a single click.
This will ensure that all of the images are in alignment with the new image sizes you set.
This plugin doesn’t do a whole lot else, but it’s a huge time saver for developers and very effective at what it does.
5. Advanced Custom Fields
Advanced Custom Fields lets you take full advantage of the custom fields section of WordPress. This is a super popular plugin and has over 1 million downloads.
This is the area of your post or page edit screen that lets you create custom functions that only apply to the page you’re currently editing. This WordPress plugin lets you add custom fields in a couple of clicks.
It’s equipped with features like:
- Over 30 different custom fields to choose from
- Extensive documentation and support
- Simple and intuitive to use
There’s also a premium version of this plugin which gives you even more custom fields to choose from, and more functions overall. If you’re doing most of your customizing via custom fields, then it might be a worthwhile investment.
6. CSS Hero
Editing your CSS files can get complicated and time-consuming. But, it’s still the absolute best way to style the front-end of your WordPress site.
CSS Hero helps to greatly simplify the frontend development process, by giving you an entire toolkit and resources to use.
With this plugin, you’ll be able to see how your customizations look in real-time, plus you can see how your changes will reflect on mobile, desktop, and tablet screen sizes.
Here are some of the core features of CSS Hero:
- Safe editing feature, so you don’t modify your theme’s files until you’re sure you want to make changes
- Won’t impact the speed or the performance of your website
- Real-time editing to see how your site looks as you make changes
- Built-in animation feature for one-click animation effects
Styleguide is a great plugin for developers who want to modify the existing font and color choices across their WordPress site.
Once you activate the plugin you can make changes directly from the WordPress Customizer. You’ll get access to a huge color selection and over 45 of the top Google Fonts.
Here are the main features this plugin provides:
- Choose from a wide selection of Google Fonts to instantly add to your WordPress site
- Test out different font selections in real-time
- Experiment with different color schemes your current theme doesn’t offer
8. User Switching
If you have to manage multiple different WordPress accounts, then this plugin will be a huge time saver. Instead of having to log in and log out multiple times, you can do it all with a single click.
User Switching is the solution for developers responsible for managing multiple WordPress user accounts. If you’re developing a larger website, then you’ll probably have multiple user accounts and roles set. You’ll also need to test and debug for each of these accounts to make sure everything works properly.
This is a very niche plugin and doesn’t do a whole lot else, but for developers who need to manage multiple accounts on WordPress, it can be a godsend.
9. Advanced CSS Editor
We already highlighted a CSS editor above, but since that was a premium plugin, it’s worth mentioning a free alternative as well.
Advanced CSS Editor helps you accomplish similar tasks to the CSS Hero plugin above. But, it’s more lightweight and doesn’t have as in-depth of a feature set.
What this plugin does is help you write CSS code for different versions of your site. Plus, you do so right within the WordPress Customizer, so you can see your changes in real-time.
Here are the main features offered by this WordPress plugin:
- Create different CSS code based on the type of device it’s being viewed on
- See how your changes look in real-time before you save the code
- Minify your CSS code for faster loading
- Customize your code for desktop, tablet, mobile, and global options
Security isn’t something that should be overlooked. Especially, when you’re working with WordPress and you have dozens of incredible security plugins to choose from.
All you have to do is install the plugin, configure a few settings and the site you’re developing will be protected from the dangers of the web.
One great plugin is called WordFence. This plugin has a wide range of different security features that’ll protect your site from malicious attacks, malware, spam, and other threats.
One of the great features of this plugin is it includes and endpoint firewall that’s impossible to penetrate. Plus, there’s a security scanner that’ll continuously scan your website for any security issues and report them back to you.
The only real downside is that due to the strength of the firewall, it can slow down your site. (Read these tips for speeding up your WordPress site.)
Other features include:
- Protection against leaked passwords
- Protection from attacks in real-time
- Ability to impose manual blocks against certain IP addresses
- Regular updates by the WordFence security team
Even if you don’t decide to use WordFence, make sure you install a quality WordPress security plugin to protect you and your client’s site.
11. RTL Tester
RTL Tester is a unique plugin in that it’s only going to be valuable for a certain type of WordPress developer. Namely, one who’s building websites in languages that have right to left text, like Arabic, Hebrew, or Urdu.
This plugin lets you test your themes and plugins in RTL mode to ensure that your right to left text direction is lined up properly.
For developers working in the languages above, this plugin is a must-have. Otherwise, you run the risk of having a site that doesn’t read properly in other languages.
Choosing the Best WordPress Developer Plugins for Your Site
As you can see, WordPress has a ton of developer-related plugins that can help to streamline your workflow and make your job as a developer easier.
Hopefully, the list of plugins above is useful and you’ll found a handful that you’re ready to install and test out.
The list above isn’t an extensive list either. Rather, these are just some of the most popular and commonly used WordPress developer plugins. It’s a good idea to test a few of the plugins above and see if they actually make your life easier and the development process much smoother.