WordPress is one of the best content management systems (CMS) on the planet – and for good reason. It’s easy to install on most hosting platforms, easy to set up, and has a large community of plugin developers that help add functionality to your managed websites and blogs. Some of these plugins are ideal for bloggers or small business owners running their own websites, while other plugins are feature rich and powerful, designed specifically for WordPress developers and programmers. We take a look at some of the WordPress plugins designed specifically for developers and coders in this article.
A quick caveat before you start: This list is by no means an exhaustive list – there are, without a doubt, some great plugins that weren’t included in this list that deserve to be. The items listed here are also not listed in any particular order of importance.
WordPress Developer Plugin # 1: Show Credentials By 99 Bots
Developers will frequently need to reference IDs for posts, categories, pages, and a host of other elements in WordPress. Unfortunately, WordPress, in an effort to make the admin panel easier to navigate (and, presumably, prettier to look at), has removed view ID numbers. This causes a bit of a hassle when trying to extract custom content via ID tags and can cause a bit of extra work for a programmer.
Fortunately, there are several plugins that easily fix this. Show login details through 99 robots is one of those plugins that every web developer or CMS coder should have in their toolbox. It is light – the installation file is only 46KB – and installs easily; simply download the zip file and “Activate it” via WordPress Plugins menu.
Another cool feature is that there is no configuration page or settings – you can use Show login details straight out of the box. Show login details reveals identification labels for the following:
- link categories
- custom taxonomies
- custom post types
You can download this nifty WordPress developer tool by searching for it under the Plugins or from the Show IDs WordPress.org plugin repository page.
WordPress Developer Plugin # 2: Smush by WPMU DEV
Page load times are a critical part of not only the user experience (how easily users interact with your site), but also how Google ranks your website – the search giant takes into account the average load times of your pages as a ranking and reliability factor. With that in mind, savvy CMS developers will look for a way to remove anything that could slow page loading or consume valuable resources. This is where image optimization and compression comes in.
There are a number of WordPress plugins that handle image compression, but one of the most widely used and trusted is Smush by WPMU DEV – a household name in the WordPress community. The plugin has over a million active installations and is frequently updated.
Smush optimizes image files, including .PNG, .GIF, and .JPEG, either one at a time or in bulk, up to 50 images at a time. Other features of Smush include:
- Lossless compression – Does not affect image quality.
- Bulk compression – Up to fifty files at a time.
- Image resizing – Ability to set maximum height and width of images.
- Bad Image Detection – Locates images that can slow down your page speed.
- Automated Optimization – Automatically “overwrites” attachments as they are downloaded.
- Multisite Support – Works on WordPress multisites.
You can view a full feature list and download the installer file from the Smush WordPress Repository page.
WordPress Developer Plugin # 3: Query Monitor
When developing a website through a CMS like WordPress, it is important to be able to track down errors and bugs as quickly as possible. It is vital to have the ability to inspect theme template files, API calls, database queries, PHP issues, and issues with your hooks and actions. Manual tracking of errors in code or site functionality is cumbersome; a smart CMS web developer will have a way to automate this process as much as possible.
A quick glance at the WordPress plugin repository will reveal one gem – Query monitor, the self-proclaimed “Development Tool Panel for WordPress”. With over 100,000 active installs and a five-star rating at the time of this writing, this moniker (self-administered or not) is well deserved. The plugin is also updated regularly which is great as they seem to keep up with WordPress Core updates quite well.
As the list of plugins on WordPress notes, Query monitor allows debugging of:
- Database queries
- PHP errors
- Hooks and actions
- Blocks in the block editor
- Scripts and style sheets
- HTTP API calls
- Ajax calls
- REST API calls
- Rewrite rules, query strings, and query variables
You can see a full list of debugging options and plugin features by visiting Query Monitor’s WordPress repository listing.
WordPress Developer Plugin # 4: UpdraftPlus by Updraftplus.com
While WordPress is a great tool for quickly building websites ranging from simple one-page pages to complex, fully-functional stores, the content management system has its flaws and limitations. WordPress – mostly because of the generally outdated plugins that users don’t update – is prone to vulnerabilities like hacking, malware, and even bad themes. All of this can cause site outages, downtime, and data loss.
Due to these vulnerabilities, it is important to have a good backup system in place. There are several great plugins for this and with choices like Jetpack and BackWPup, it’s hard to go wrong. In fact, Jetpack almost made the list, but we went, instead, with UpdraftPlus. The backup and restore plugin for WordPress has over 3 million active installations and receives frequent updates, which is very important for a plugin of this nature.
UpdraftPlus allows you to back up your website files to several cloud storage options, including:
- Drop box
- Google drive
- Amazon S3
- Rackspace Cloud
- Microsoft Azure and OneDrive
- Google Cloud Storage
and a host of other cloud options. You can also configure these backups for manual or automated schedules and opt for more advanced features (website migrators, multiple backup destinations, database encryption, etc.).
A full list of features and information is available in the WordPress UpdraftPlus repository list.
WordPress Developer Plugin # 5: Redirection
Not all website errors are created the same. Not all errors cause a website to crash completely or make it unnecessary. Sometimes a website error boils down to a simple broken link or 404 error. While it’s pretty easy to create redirects in code, sometimes it’s nice to have a simpler place to do it, such as your WordPress admin panel.
Additionally, a good broken link / 404 redirect plugin should have the ability to find and track broken links within your website. That way, you can fix them before they hunt users, deplete website trust and authority, and damage your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Redirection is a redirect management plugin used by over 2 million WordPress sites. It gives you a lot of control over the settings of your redirects and allows you to create conditional redirects based on factors such as login status, browser type, where the user was referred, settings from. cookies, HTTP headers, IP addresses, domain server, and page error type – to name a few. There is even support for regular expressions (REGEX) in case you want to match a pattern to a group of URLs.
Redirect The WordPress plugin has other features as well, such as the ability to add HTTP headers, logging, permalink migration, and even support for Apache and NGINX.
To learn more, you can check the list of Redirect WordPress Plugin repositories.