Recommended WordPress Stack

I frequently get asked about the best setup for WordPress, so I’ve collected the advice I keep on giving onto this easily sharable page.


WP Engine – This is the easy answer. They make it ridiculously easy to setup your wordpress site, with performance and security enhancements out of the box, not to mention a super simple backup and restore system.

[EDIT: I’m working on a better hosting platform for sites with higher traffic. Contact me for details.]

Core WordPress Plugins

SEO Yoast SEO optimizes your HTML, allows you to control meta data on each post, and lets you control indexing sitewide. They also have an excellent guide for WordPress SEO

SecurityiThemes Security comes pre-installed with WP Engine, but you may need to do some configuring yourself. I once gave a talk on configuring iThemes Security, though it may be a bit out of date.

PerformanceW3 Total Cache will help speed up your site, even with the most basic settings. Note that WP Engine does their own performance enhancement and caching, so you can not use this with WP Engine.

Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics by MonsterInsights makes it easy to install your tracking code.

Extra WordPress Plugins

Comments – If you are not using comments at all, then disable them with Disable Comments. If you are allowing comments, use Akismet for spam filtering, or Disqus for a 3rd party commenting system.

Image OptimizationEWWW Image Optimizer will compress oversized images automatically as you upload them.

FormsGravity Forms is the ultimate WordPress form builder. Formidable is a decent free option.

Pricing TablesEasy Pricing Tables

Email OptinsOptin Cat

User SurveysSurveys by Feedback Cat

WordPress Themes

This is a tough one, since the needs and uses cases for different sites vary greatly. I’ll try to generalize as best I can, but you will probably need to hire a developer to to create the best solution.

Most optimized out of the boxGenesis Themes. No fancy designs, but good looking enough to install and start entering content.

Drag and drop builderEnfold won’t have the best speed and SEO performance, but also not the worst. Simple for quickly building a great looking site.

Custom Theme DevelopmentSage a modern WordPress starter theme. This is for developers only. Creating a custom theme is the best way to have a site with optimal performance that also meets your business needs.