What’s your default install?

Over the past few months, I’ve found myself working with WordPress more and more, simply because it cuts down on development time and gives me the freedom to focus on customizations rather than making sure the core of the site is working correctly. But what’s a CMS without plugins? These are the ones I install by default alongside WordPress core.

Advanced Custom Fields
Unless all you want is a plain old blog, WordPress’ defaults are less than adequate. Sure you could use the Custom Fields built into WordPress, but Elliot Condon’s ACF plugin makes things a hundred times cleaner. I think my favorite feature is the Repeater field that can be activated for a fee, which lets you create dynamically repeating fields or groups of fields on you edit form (something I desperately needed in Drupal’s CCK module about two years ago on DailyIllini.com, but wasn’t available at the time).

AJAX Thumbnail Rebuild
I have a bad habit of wanting to change image sizes in my layout mid-way through building a site, and hate resizing images through CSS if I can avoid it. This plugin regenerates thumbnails and other image sizes at the new settings.

Capability Manager
The Capability Manager plugin lets you rearrange the capabilities assigned to user roles… which is very useful if there is something (like access to sidebar widgets) that you need a role other than administrator to have access to.

Fast Secure Contact Forms
Every site needs a contact form these days. This one is flexible, allows for multiple forms, and most importantly, works.

Google XML Sitemaps
Because I’m a fan of Google Webmaster Tools, I like to have a sitemap I can submit. XML Sitemaps gets it done in a few clicks.

Mobilepress
Mobile is all the rage. Mobilepress is easy to set up, easy to configure, and easy to style.

WP-Mail-SMTP
For some reason, certain web hosts choke on WordPress’ mail functionality. Rather than dealing with tech support, I’ve found it’s easier to just install this plugin, which routes emails to an SMTP server of your choice instead of using whatever php’s mail() function is configured to use on your server. Google is kind enough to provide SMTP access for anyone with a gmail account, and it works well with the WP-Mail-SMTP plugin.

WP PHP Widget
Because sometimes you just need to run some PHP in the sidebar.

WP Super Cache
I learned my lesson about not having a caching option available a long time ago. I always install this, whether the site is high traffic or not. Even if it just sits around deactivated, it’s nice to know it’s there if the site ever needs it.

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Nikki Blight – Web/PHP Developer