It is our opinion that anyone that regularly works with WordPress, that is, does a significant amount of WordPress installs, has a list of plugins that they install with every WordPress installation. We are no different, with every new installation we also install some of our most trusted plugins.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
We covered this plugin in an earlier article, but WordPress SEO by Yoast is our preferred WordPress plugin. It is a robust SEO plugin with a load of options and features. It's without a doubt the most widely used and trusted WordPress SEO plugin, and widely supported and very well documented.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is our preferred WordPress cacheing plugin. It has a plethora of options, and utilize all of them. Page cacheing, java and css minifiers... the works. We always see significantly decreased loading speeds, and improvements in performance after installing this plugin (as you would expect from a solid cacheing plugin).
Depending on your host and 1 click installation software, Akismet comes installed on a log of WordPress installations. Akismet is a spam blocking plugin that will keep your website and inbox clear of spam comments. It's a great solution without having to add a reCaptcha to your comment section.
Limit Login Attempts
Limit Login Attempts is a very basic security plugin, and is the least you should do to secure your WordPress website. We generally recommend the WordPress All-In-One security plugin for a complete security solution, it will limit login attempts, move your wp-admin page, rename your admin account, etc... If that is too extreme for your taste, then installing limit login attempts will at least keep out hackers and brute force attacks.