The best free WordPress plugins for November 2014
Now that Halloween season is ending, it’s time to think about what really matters. I’m talking about WordPress plugins; though family, friends and two-to-three months of holiday cheer ain’t bad either. As usual, we have an eclectic assortment for you to check out. Enjoy.
Let’s say you’ve bought a theme you really like, but you find out that it doesn’t support dropdowns. If you really need them, Suppamenu is a great way to get them. The plugin integrates with WordPress’ default menu system to provide an impressive array of customization options. Themes, jQuery animations, custom themes, menu icons… and the whole thing is responsive. Don’t let the fact that there is also a pro version put you off. All that does is add more skins, animations, and menu types. The free plugin is in no way crippled or watermarked.
WP Options Editor
Note: Don’t install WP Option Editor unless you know exactly what you’re doing. Basically, it allows you to edit all of WordPress’ options in one place, the way you might directly in the database. This means you have all kinds of control, but you could also potentially break your WordPress install. It’s a powerful tool, and not to be used lightly.
cPanel E‑Mail Manager
If your host has cPanel, you can use cPanel E‑mail Manager to connect your WordPress install to your server’s web mail. No, that doesn’t mean you can read your e‑mail from WordPress, but you can create and manage the web mail accounts for each user. The free version of cPanel E‑Mail Manager is somewhat limited, though still perfectly useful: All e‑mail account management must be done manually; if you want to automatically add a new e‑mail address for each new user, automatically notify them via their primary e‑mail, or manage mailing lists, you’ll need to upgrade.
isn’t a plug ‘n’ play solution, but it’s quite powerful, and probably worth the effort for good site search. It’s designed to replace the default WordPress search function by integrating with a third-party API. According to its creators, ElasticPress offers the following upgrades over the regular search engine, and a few more besides:
- Relevant results
- Fuzzy matching (catch misspellings as well as ‘close’ queries)
- Proximity and geographic queries
- Search metadata
- Search taxonomies
- Search all sites on a multisite install
Sadly, I don’t have a big site full of content to test it on right now, but it looks promising.
hackers rejoice! Slash Edit allows you to get from the front-end of your site to a post or page editing screen that much faster. If you’re browsing through your site, and you see something you’d like to change (maybe you made a typo), just add “/edit” to the end of the URL. That’s it. Just keep in mind that pretty permalinks have to be active to make it all work.
A lot of us find ourselves migrating WordPress databases in the course of our work. We move existing sites to new domains, and take test sites live on a regular basis. We find ourselves generating new SQL files, editing databases manually, and going through the content to make sure all image URLs are correct. While other plugins can help you change the domain names after the fact, Bamboo Migration removes two or three steps by simply generating an SQL file, ready for import, with the new domain name already in place. Just install it, go to “Tools > Bamboo Migration”, pick your domain name, and download the SQL file. Done. You’ll still have to import it the old fashioned way (usually with PHPMyAdmin), but that’s life.
I’ve previously mentioned a plugin that allows you to order pages by dragging and dropping them. The cool thing about writing a monthly article is that when a much, much better plugin with the same purpose comes along, I can tell you about it. Nested Pages is that much, much better plugin. It integrates with the existing page management screen, allows for drag ‘n’ drop sorting, of course, all the while preserving Quick Edit functionality. Install and go.
WP Auto DealerThis
is a drop-in solution for car sellers who want to display their available cars on their website. Like many other plugins of its kind, it uses a custom post type with custom fields. These fields include multiple image uploads, pricing information, make, model, color, transmission, and other relevant details. Also included is a custom search engine that searches the metadata along with the title and content, allowing people to find the right car faster. The default implementation is simple enough. Drop a shortcode into a page and go. Developers who want further customization can have exactly that. It’s a custom post type, after all.
encourages community engagement by allowing users to subscribe to individual comment feeds, and better yet, reply to comments via e‑mail. Said replies get posted as regular comments on your site. Mind you, this plugin is part of a third-party service, which currently has a waiting list for API keys. There may be a paid version of the subscription in time (I’m guessing); but for now, all outgoing e‑mails just have a “Delivered by Postmatic” link at the bottom of each e‑mail. (This link can be removed with the donation of 1 USD (Yup. 1.) to a number of charities via the Postmatic dashboard.)
Ezequiel Bruni is a web/UX designer, blogger, and aspiring photographer living in Mexico. When he\‘s not up to his finely-chiselled ears in wire-frames and front-end code, or ranting about the same, he indulges in beer, pizza, fantasy novels, and stand-up comedy.