Recommended and Black Listed Plugins
One of the perks of using a WordPress website is the ability to add plugins and extend your website’s functionality and capabilities. While this is exciting news, it can also be overwhelming once you learn that there are over 55k plugins available in WordPress’ repository. Some are good, but others can cause more trouble than help. Therefore, we’ve prepared a list of WordPress plugins we recommend using with your Flothemes website, as well as plugins you should avoid.
Note: most of the plugins listed below are third-party extensions.
Caching plugins are great for speeding up your website’s loading times.
- WP Rocket – Our favorite all-in-one speed optimization plugin. This is a must for anyone who is concerned about SEO and site speed. You can implement caching, minification, and GZip compression with this plugin. Prices start at $49 per year for WP Rocket. It’s a bargain considering the speed improvements and their world-class support.
NOTE: We don’t recommend enabling the LazyLoad option inside this plugin because it might conflict with the theme and not allow the images to load properly.
- WP Super Cache – Created by Automatic, the company behind WordPress. This plugin is super easy to configure out, right out of the box. Make sure to check this guide on how to set up WP Super Cache correctly.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Some hosting providers (i.e. Siteground, Bluehost, GoDaddy) have their own caching tools integrated and we would recommend using their tools for caching the website. However, if you would like to use a third-party caching plugin, to avoid any issues, check with your hosting provider if it’s ok to add a third-party caching plugin to your website. We strongly recommend using only 1 plugin for caching. Having several plugins with caching options enabled can cause different conflicts with the theme.
Minification plugins allow you to compress lines of code, remove white space and unnecessary characters to reduce the size and number of requests for your site. This helps to improve the loading time. Our top recommendations are:
- Autoptimize – this allows you to combine and minify CSS and JS to improve your load time. Make sure that you test your site after implementing this plugin as it can cause errors with loading
NOTE: the Image Optimization option from this plugin can sometimes change the source of images and logos, which may overlap. Hence we recommend disabling this option.
- WP Rocket’s minification option
NOTE: The JS minification option from WP Rocket can conflict with your website and thus, can stop your JS script from being rendered.
Minification plugins Black List
We don’t recommend using the following minification plugins with your theme:
We highly recommend investing in plugins for backing up your website. It can save you a lot of time, effort, money and rescue you in unfortunate situations, such as errors after updates, security breaches, etc.
- VaultPress – though it’s a paid plugin, it's one of the best on the market. It was created by WordPress’ co-founder – Matt Mullenweg. Its subscription starts at $5 a month.
- BackUpBuddy – one of the most popular backup plugins on the market, offering daily, weekly and monthly backups. It’s a paid plugin also. Its pricing depends on the number of sites you have.
- BackWPup – it’s a free plugin, allows you to create a full backup for your site on the cloud. Here’s an article explaining how to create a free backup.
NOTE: Some hosting providers have a backup tool integrated on their platform so it is best to confirm with them if you need a third-party plugin to help you with that.
Galleries / Blog Posts
We try to pack each of our themes with tons of built-in options and layouts to showcase your work in a beautiful, unique way. Yet, if for some reason you prefer to use additional tools, here are a few good alternatives:
- Flexblock – a free, powerful plugin we created to help our clients spice up their websites and create their own custom blocks and layouts. You can use it to make your pages more creative, or as a blogging tool, like our client Trevor did.
- Envira Gallery – allows you to create beautiful galleries and add them to your blog posts or pages. There are a set of customization options – you can select the number of columns, enable lazy loading, enable lightboxes, set up image sizes, and more.
- Narrative – a fun app for Mac users, that allows you to easily create and post blog posts. It’s all drag and drop and takes only minutes to design a unique blog layout for your images. The narrative is also fast and SEO-friendly. Read more about it here.
Though our themes come with built-in options for contact forms, many of you want the freedom to add more fields, customize the look and functionality of your form. Here are a few great tools you can use to create custom contact forms for collecting information about your leads and clients:
- Flo Forms – our drag & drop form builder helps you create more custom and complex contact forms. You can view submissions, get reminders about unread emails, enjoy Tave and ShootQ integration, add some conditional logic to how users interact with your form, and so much more. Follow these tutorials to get a better understanding of how to use FloForms.
- Gravity Forms – a premium paid plugin. Use it to create contact forms, surveys, polling, and client evaluation. It also can be used for collecting payments. See the following article on how to collect payments with Gravity Forms.
- Contact Form 7 - Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
- Ninja Forms - Beautiful, user friendly WordPress forms that will make you feel like a professional web developer.
IMPORTANT NOTES: The design of your form is dictated by the plugin/platform you use to create it. Therefore, when using a third-party integrated form, know that its design probably won’t match your theme’s appearance. If you’re using FloForms, here’s how you can edit the appearance of the form, but keep in mind that you will need to install the FloForms Pro plugin which you can get from your Flothemes account. If you’re having issues with your emails not being sent/received, please check this article. If you’re using FloForms and having issues with your emails, please make sure that your plugin is up to date (1.0.40 for FloForms and 1.0.19 for FloForms Pro) and that you checked all the steps from this article.
Don’t expect magic from SEO plugins. Just installing it on your website, won’t be enough. You should take some time to learn about the capabilities of the plugin and how to set it up correctly to get the maximum of its potential.
- Yoast SEO – The plugin offers you more control over your SEO settings for each page, including keywords, meta descriptions, the featured image that appears when you share your site link on social media, etc. We recommend you consult Yoast’s documentation on how to build a strong SEO strategy for your WordPress website.
- All in One SEO – another great SEO plugin, offering control over keywords, meta descriptions, and social sharing options. WP Beginner provides a good article on setting up All-in-One SEO which you can view here. NOTE: There might be cases where the plugin can conflict with the FlexBlock plugin and it will not be possible to save the changes in a Flex block (see this article), so in case you encounter this issue, we recommend deactivating the plugin to see if that is the case.
- Rank Math – the new kid on the block. The team who developed this plugin, calls it the “Swiss Army Knife of WordPress SEO” and truthfully, it’s a title well deserved. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the number of options and features that this plugin has to offer, for Free. We shared more of our thoughts about Rank math here.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SEO PLUGINS & FLEXBLOCKS: Yoast SEO (or any other back-end content analyzer) checks the content within standard blocks, which are based on custom fields. It reads the content in the backend. However, with Flexblocks it’s a bit different, as those are not based on custom fields. The best way to check your score and get an accurate result (regardless of your theme or blocks), is by using this tool https://yoast.com/research/real-time-content-analysis/. In this way, you’ll be able to analyze the content based on your front end. That’s exactly what search engines see while crawling your website.
Want to translate your WordPress site into another language? Here is the plugin that works best with Flothemes:
- WPML – a premium translate plugin, probably the most popular on the market, with a solid support team. The default install comes with more than 40 languages, you can also add language variations, such as local dialects, using the language editor. The great news is that all our current themes are compatible with WPML. Here’s a tutorial on how to translate your site with WPML.
- Smash Balloon is a combination of 5 WordPress plugins. Each of these plugins makes it super easy for you to create and display social media feeds on your website. Even without hiring a developer, you can use Smash Balloon to add custom Facebook feeds, Instagram feeds, Twitter feeds, and YouTube feeds to your WordPress.If you're looking to integrate your Instagram feed with your Flotheme, we recommend installing the Smash Balloon plugin and following this tutorial on how to set it up.
- Advanced Accordion Gutenberg Block is a custom native Gutenberg Block that allows you to build an FAQ section or accordion easily on your site using the Gutenberg Editor.
Maintenance Mode / Coming Soon
This a great option for users who are working on their live website and don’t want to lose touch with potential clients who land on their website while it's in the works. Though, if you’re currently using a WordPress theme, you can look into our Flo Launch plugin, and build your new website in test mode. Your current website will stay live and functioning for all users, while you’ll be crafting your new site, in a safe, calm environment. Once you’re ready to launch, just click on publish and your new site replaces the old one. WP Maintenance Mode – a simple plugin that adds a splash-style page to your website and lets visitors know that you’re in maintenance mode and have an exciting launch coming up soon.
Want to provide an easy way for users to pin your images on Pinterest, therefore increasing your online exposure and hopefully getting more website traffic. JQuery Pin it – a great plugin allowing you to add a “pin it” button to your blog images. It also allows you to slightly customize the button so it fits nicely with your site’s aesthetic. Once the user clicks the “Pin it” button, the plugin shows a pop-up window with the image and a description. Everything is ready for pinning, though the user can alter the description if they want to.
Security is very important on the web, yet often it’s overlooked. The following plugins can help make your site more secure
- Sucuri – a globally recognized authority in all matters related to website security, with a specialization in WordPress Security. They offer both, help services for those who have been hacked, as well as protection against cyber attacks. Both services are paid but incredibly valuable. You can also try their free WP security scanner for a full audit of your site’s current security state.
- iThemes Security – with a one-click installation, you can stop automated attacks and protect your website. It also fixes various common security holes in your website. It tracks registered users’ activity and adds two-factor authentication, import/export settings, password expiration, malware scanning, and various other things.
- WordFence – one of the most popular WordPress security plugins. It keeps on checking your website for malware infection. It scans all the files of your WordPress core, theme, and plugins. If it finds any kind of infection, it will notify you. It’s great for preventing brute force attacks and malware infections.
Performance isn’t a subject that can be solved by installing only a couple of plugins. This is a long-term process. Please take a look at our article on improving website performance here.
Akismet – a great plugin used to prevent spam comments on your site, this can help keep your site’s performance at a maximum
Scroll to top
Users who want to add a scroll-to-top option for their users can look into the following plugins:
- Scroll Back to Top – adding a scroll to the top feature has never been easier with this plugin. Just install and activate it. The plugin allows you to add custom scroll images, and tweak the animation effect.
- WPFront Scroll – a basic scroll to the top plugin, with several built-in scroll arrows to choose from. Again it’s very simple to use, just install and activate it.
Photographers, small creative business owners, and freelancers who schedule meetings with clients (be that inquiry calls, get-to-know meetings, photo sessions, etc) will love this easy-to-use, super clean, and minimalistic scheduling tool, called CozyCal. It allows you to add a call to action button to your website, which once clicked on opens up a beautifully designed booking page for your potential clients. You can customize and personalize both with your branding, so it looks smooth and aligned with your site design. CozyCal is a great tool if you want to increase your site conversions and turn visitors into leads, then clients. Calendly – you’ve probably used it before when picking a time slot with a company, consultant, or maybe even mentor. It’s a very straightforward tool (not a plugin) and you can embed it on your website, or simply have a link to your Calendly calendar connected to a button on your site.
You can add a shop to any Flothemes website with a plugin called WooCommerce, which is free. The shop will apply your theme’s basic styling, but for further personalization and shop configuration we recommend following the documentation provided by WooCommerce
Our recommendations in regard to third-party plugins:
Before downloading a plugin that can compromise your website, always make sure to back up your website first. If after installing a new plugin you notice issues on your website (things not displaying correctly), we recommend first clearing your website’s cache and checking the website from a different device/ browser (or via Incognito mode). If the issue still persists, we strongly recommend deactivating the plugin. As most probably the plugin is not compatible with our theme or other plugins that you use. Since we have no control over how the code of 3rd party plugins is written, we can not guarantee their compatibility with our themes. Therefore, if an issue is caused by a 3d party plugin, our team will not be able to support your issue. If your website crashed after a major update, or if you have some issues with image optimization/stretching, try to disable all plugins one by one until you locate the conflictual plugin. If the issue you’re having is related to any Flo Plugin, just let us know via a support ticket and we’ll assist you.
Black List or Potential Conflictual Plugins
There’s a list of conflicts that can be caused by specific plugins or settings inside those plugins. We recommend checking the list and seeing if your issue is listed below. If so, try to disable this specific plugin/setting in order to solve the issue. This list will continue to be updated as we go. Note, that the following plugins can (but not necessarily will) cause conflicts with your flotheme:
- Image optimization option from Jetpack – will stretch images from galleries and slideshows, usually, this will happen on Safari.
- Imagify – this will cause some images (mostly logos) to have incorrect URLs.
- Gutenberg(the stand-alone plugin) – in Osaka, the Image Text block, will cause the inability to erase or add images. Any other theme, when combined with a newer version of Gutenberg WordPress (while hosted on wordpress.com) can cause an issue with your flex builder, which will stop functioning correctly.
- ShortPixel Adaptive Images – will change the source link of the image.
- LazyLoad from WP Rocket – will change the source link of the image.
- JQuery Updater – can cause a blank website.
- Better WordPress Minify – can cause blank galleries.
- Breeze – hard Caching & Minification error. As a consequence, it will break pages and you will not be able to make changes to your website.
- Jetpack – might affect the aspect ratio of the images in the Safari browser.
- Heartbeat Control by WP Rocket – conflicts with FloLaunch. It blocks the compatibility check and stops at step 2.
- ManageWP Worker – due to its security settings, it blocks access to run the compatibility check for FloLaunch (both versions).
If you use any of the plugins listed above or a combination of them, we highly urge you to have a quick check and make sure that everything works smoothly and correctly on your site. If you find any errors, try to deactivate the plugin, clear your site and browser cache and see if that fixed the issue.