In this post, we round up 10 cool and useful (oh, and free!) WordPress plugins available on the WordPress Plugin Directory. This month’s WordPress Plugin Roundup includes everything from a way easily replace media library files to a way to highlight new plugin menu items after plugin activation.

1. WatsonFinds

watson finds plugin

The WatsonFinds plugin analyzes your content to provide insights about the emotions that your audience may perceive as they read it

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Watson is an IBM supercomputer designed to answer questions.
  • Trivia: Watson was named for Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM.
  • Returns Watson’s evaluation of one of five emotions a post will create in your reader: joy, sadness, anger, disgust and fear.
  • Not sure the practical use of the results, but it’s pretty cool.

2. Limit Max IPs Per User

Limit Max IPs Per User plugin

The WP Limit Max IPs Per User plugin limits the maximum number of IPs a user can log in.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Settings page allows you to set IP limits by number of IPs per user and the number of days to track.
  • Login log shows what users have tried to log in, a helpful feature.
  • Unclear if the log will auto-prune or if it must be cleared manually using the button on the settings page.
  • Adds unique IP account to user list and IP details to individual user records.
  • All-in-all a pretty sweet plugin for a membership site or the like.

3. FastDev

FastDev plugin

The FastDev plugin can be a real time saver for you when creating the next plugin or theme. If you are not a developer, you may need to get general info about the WP installation, server info, PHP or MySQL info, etc.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • This plugin gives you a TON of information about your WordPress installation and the environment.
  • Extremely helpful if you’re not in yournormal environment or theme/plugin stack.

4. Correct Horse Battery Staple

Correct Horse Battery Staple plugin

The Correct Horse Battery plugin replaces WordPress’s default strong password generator with one to create passwords in a style similar to those described in the XKCD Password Strength comic. The plugin will generate four word passwords using words of up to seven letters with dashes between the words.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Requires a Linux/Unix/MacOS server (may not work in localhost on Windows).
  • Randomly selects four words from the system dictionary and joins them with hyphens.
  • Excellent option for users who will not use random hashed passwords or a password manager.

5. Wicked Folders

wicked folders plugin

The Wicked Folders plugin is a tool for managing large numbers of pages and custom post types. The plugin simplifies content management by allowing you to organize your content into folders like you would on a computer. Wicked Folders is an administration plugin that does not alter your content’s permalinks or hierarchy giving you the complete freedom to organize your pages and/or custom post types any way you want independently of your site’s structure.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Allows you to add a “Folders” link in Pages, Posts and Custom post types.
  • Nice drag and drop UI.
  • Very nice tool for sites with lots of content
  • Only a UI feature for the back end, does not change any permalinks or actual page/post hierarchy.
  • Pro version ($49/yr) allows you to add folders to the media library.

6. WP Media Size

The WP Media Size adds a column in the WordPress Media Gallery list page with the filesize. It does not currently add the filesize to the grid view.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Simple but potentially helpful addition to the admin area.
  • Unfortunately does not allow sorting by file size in list view.

7. Sticky Posts – Switch

sticky posts switch plugin

The Sticky Posts – Switch plugin adds a new column to the post admin columns that allows you to easily mark a post so that it is sticky. Sticky Posts is a WordPress feature only for posts. With this plugin, you can use this feature also with custom post types.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Another handy UI tweak for the post list.
  • Adds a clickable star to turn on or off a sticky post from the post list.
  • Uses AJAX so no page loads or updates are necessary.

8. Dashboard Columns

dashboard columns plugin

The Dashboard Columns plugin The option to change the number of columns of the main WordPress Dashboard was removed in WordPress 3.8 in favor of a more dynamic/responsive approach. For most people, this change is great because it simplifies the UI. But for those who like more control over how their admin dashboard looks like this feels like a step backwards. With the help of Dashboard Columns you can now easily change the number of columns in your admin dashboard.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • I personally really like this UI tweak for the dashboard.
  • Just set your column preference on the Screen Options pulldown on the dashboard.

9. Show Plugin Menu Items on Activation

show plugin menu items on activation

Have you ever activated a WordPress plugin, then had to hunt around the admin sidebar trying to find the new menu items the plugin added? Or maybe after looking for them, you found out that the new plugin didn’t even add any menu items at all. The Show Plugin Menu Items on Activation plugin solves that problem by pointing out exactly which new menu items have been added to the admin sidebar every time a plugin is activated.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • A very simple plugin that solves a really annoying problem!

10. Enable Media Replace

enable media replace

The Enable Media Replace plugin This plugin allows you to replace a file in your media library by uploading a new file in its place. No more deleting, renaming and re-uploading files!

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Adds a “Replace Media” function when you mouse over an item in the media library.
  • Gives you two options:
    • Replace the file: as long as the file type is the same, you can upload a file and the plugin will rename it and replace the previous version.
    • Replace the file with new file name: upload a new file and the plugin will replace the old file and update all links throughout your site with the new filename.
  • An incredibly powerful plugin that can save a TON of time, especially on larger sites.

Bonus: Age Gate

age gate plugin

There are many uses for restricting content based on age, be it movie trailers, beer or other adult themes. The Age Gate plugin allows you to set a restriction on what content can been seen or restricted based on the age of the user

Nathan’s Notes:

  • A well executed solution for sites that require age verification.
  • Restrict all content or just specified content.
  • Full control of the colors, images and text on the age gate popup.
This post is based on the May 2017 Plugin Roundup webinar by Nathan Ingram. In this webinar, Nathan demonstrates how to use each of these plugins so you can get a better idea of how they work. Check out the entire series of monthly WordPress Plugin Roundup posts here.

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