Useful WordPress Tools, Themes And Plugins


If you’re looking for some great ways to improve your WordPress workflow, read on for a massive collection of free themes, plugins, tools and tutorials. These resources were all linked via the Smashing Magazine Twitter stream, Facebook stream, and other social-media streams around the Web.

These resources have now been organized and consolidated for easy reference to help you get the most out of the world’s most popular publishing platform. We hope that you’ll find these resources helpful and valuable.

Free WordPress Themes

There are probably a billion WordPress themes available these days. But not all of them are worth using or even looking at. Fortunately our readers send in some amazing and beautifully designed themes for us to check out and share. So without further ado, here are some of the best WordPress themes we’ve discovered along the way, neatly summarized and linked for your surfing pleasure.

Free HTML 4.01/HTML5 WordPress Theme: Spectacular1
A free WordPress theme that aims to provide a warm and pleasurable atmosphere for personal musings and ramblings.

Free HTML 4.01/HTML5 WordPress Theme: Spectacular2

Suburbia 1.1 WordPress Theme3
Suburbia is a free premium WordPress theme for magazines. The layout is very clean and flexible and designed in a modest and minimalistic style.

Suburbia 1.1 WordPress Theme4

Portfolium 1.1 WordPress Theme5
Portfolium can be used on portfolio websites or blogs and has a minimalistic design that is perfect as is or as a foundation for your custom design.

Portfolium 1.1 WordPress Theme6

Typominima: A gorgeous typography-based minimal WordPress theme7
Neat and flexible grid-based theme for WordPress CMS and Portfolium that can be used on portfolio websites or blogs. If you are designer, artist, photographer, or other creative specialist, you can take a full advantage of Portfolium’s fresh minimalistic design — perfect as is, or as a foundation for your custom design.

Typominima — a gorgeous typography-based minimal WordPress theme8

Roots WordPress Theme9
Roots is a starting WordPress theme made for developers that is based on HTML5 Boilerplate, Starkers, and the most popular CSS frameworks.

Roots WordPress Theme10

NeueGrafik: A Free Modern WordPress Theme11
This theme is totally unique and simple, it’s great for any graphic designer, illustrator or photographer to showcase their portfolio.

NeueGrafik: A Free Modern WordPress Theme12

Free Minimal Swiss Design WordPress Themes (4 Themes)13
In this post the authors release yet another freebie: an original set of four exclusive minimal, clean WordPress themes designed by Marios Lublinski and released for the Web design community.

Free Minimal, Swiss Design WordPress Themes (4 Themes)14

Modernist: Free WordPress theme with focus on typography15
Yet another freebie: a beautiful Modernist WordPress theme, designed by Rodrigo Galindez, and released for Smashing Magazine and its readers. This theme is based on the design ideas of Jan Tschichold, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Dieter Rams, and other modernists.

Modernist: Free WordPress Theme with Focus on Typography16

Renova WordPress Theme17
Renova, a new single column theme for WordPress. The main design of Renova concentrates on a minimal style dedicated to those writers who need a simple layout, without the useless stuff. Just words… your words.

Renova WordPress Theme18

Free E-Commerce WordPress Theme: Balita: Smashing Magazine19
In this post the authors release yet another freebie: the Balita WordPress theme, a theme dedicated to shops that sell products for children.

Free E-Commerce WordPress Theme: Balita — Smashing Magazine20

Ari WordPress Theme21
A free WordPress theme for WordPress 3.0+ and translation-ready.

Ari WordPress Theme22

WordPress Anniversary Theme23
On January 25, 2003, a seemingly one-off comment by “Mike” on Matt Mullenweg’s blog started a chain reaction that resulted in the creation of WordPress. Today, WordPress powers millions of blogs and websites, making it incredibly easy to build a website!

WordPress Anniversary Theme24

Free WordPress 3.0 Theme for Portfolios and Magazines: JournalCrunch25
In this post the authors release yet another freebie: JournalCrunch WordPress 3.0+ theme, a theme for either portfolios or magazines with an integrated journal.

Free WordPress 3.0 Theme for Portfolios and Magazines: JournalCrunch26

Academica: Free WordPress 3.0 Theme For Educational Websites — Smashing Magazine27
A free WordPress theme designed specifically for educational websites such as universities, schools, etc.

Academica: Free WordPress 3.0 Theme For Educational Websites — Smashing Magazine28

Landing pages, squeeze pages, sales pages, and A/B testing made easy for WordPress29
The authors deliver high-quality premium WordPress themes and plugins that make it easy to take your website to the next level.

Landing pages, squeeze pages, sales pages, and A/B testing made easy for WordPress30

Bubblog Theme31
A modern, clean WordPress theme. It has a management console, is widget ready, advertisement ready, and is an easily customizable theme to use.

Grid Portfolio Theme32
Beautiful minimal and modern WordPress themes. Design for illustrators, photographers and graphic designers. The focus should be on your work, not the theme.

Foghorn Theme33
Foghorn is a minimalist WordPress theme built off of the foundation of Twenty Eleven. It has a custom options panel for switching layouts, removing sidebars, uploading a logo, and changing footer text.

Free Designer Theme34
Beautiful minimal and modern WordPress themes. Designs for illustrators, photographers and graphic designers. The focus should be on your work, not the theme.

Free WordPress 3.1 Theme: Splendio (With PSD Sources)35
A new freebie: a beautiful theme, designed by Vlad and Elena Scanteie which was developed exclusively for Smashing Magazine and its readers.

Free Theme: Quality Control, a Simple Ticket or Bug Tracker36
This theme allows for the easy creation of a ticket / support system right within WordPress, and for free.

Free HTML 5 Responsive WordPress Theme for Photographers37
Photum is a theme to use with WordPress that will turn your site into a clean portfolio that you can use to show off your photos.

WordPress Plugins

Besides themes, plugins are another way to customize your WordPress website with advanced functionality and interactivity. As with themes, there are plugins for just about everything you can possibly imagine. But also like themes, it can be difficult to sift through the fluff, and find those gems that truly improve your website.

When you do find a WordPress plugin that’s great, you just have to share it with others in the community. So put on your plugin-checking goggles, because it’s about to get interesting!

The Sweet Plugin: User Switching38
Today’s Sweet Plugin is User Switching, which has quickly become one of my all-time favorite plugins. It allows admins to easily switch to another user, skipping the log-in / log-out process, which can become quite time-consuming for testing the websites of different users. This is one plugin that is seriously worth checking out.

The Sweet Plugin: User Switching39

Event Organizer40
Event Organiser adds event management that integrates well with your WordPress site. By using WordPress’ in-built ‘custom post type’, this plug-in allows you to create events that have the same functionality as posts, while adding further features that allow you to manage your events.

WordPress › Event Organizer « WordPress plugins41

Ninja Forms: A New Free Plugin for Creating Forms in WordPress42
Every website needs forms – it’s an integral part of visitor/customer communication. However, custom forms can be a downright pain to code.

Ninja Forms: A New Free Plugin for Creating Forms in WordPress43

Bookings WordPress plugin44
Bookings is a WordPress plugin allowing you to provide online booking services for your website.

Bookings — Zingiri45

Bcrypt WordPress Plugin: Store A Password Safely46
bcrypt uses a variant of the Blowfish encryption algorithm’s keying schedule, and introduces a work factor, which allows you to determine how expensive the hash function will be. Because of this, bcrypt can keep up with Moore’s law. As computers get faster, you can increase the work factor and the hash will get slower.

How To Safely Store A Password47

Pricing Table WordPress Plugin48
WordPress Pricing Table plugin will help the admin to publish a pricing table on your WordPress page, or even to post content to it. WordPress Pricing Table plugin has a full-featured (but easy to use) administration option to create a pricing table.

WordPress › Pricing Table « WordPress Plugins49

Anti-Splog WordPress Plugins50
The ultimate plugin and service to stop and kill splogs in WordPress Multisite and BuddyPress, from WPMU DEV.

WordPress › Anti-Splog « WordPress Plugins51

Email Address Encoder WordPress Plugin52
A lightweight plugin to protect email addresses from email-harvesting robots by encoding them into decimal and hexadecimal entities.

WordPress › Email Address Encoder « WordPress Plugins53

Wordless Speed Optimization WordPress plugin54
Wordless is an opinionated WordPress plugin that dramatically speeds up and enhances your custom themes creation.

welaika/wordless - GitHub55

Leaflet Maps Marker WordPress Plugin56
The WordPress plugin “Leaflet Maps Marker” allows you to pin, organize and show your favorite places through OpenStreetMap on your blog and via different APIs on external websites or apps

Pin, organize & show your favorite places through OpenStreetMap/WMTS, Google Maps/Earth (KML), GeoJSON or Augmented-Reality browsers » Leaflet Maps Marker WordPress Plugin57

Front End Upload WordPress Plugin58
A WordPress plugin that facilitates adding a client upload form to your site with the least friction possible, something you can literally activate, implement with a shortcode, and leave it at that if you wanted. Enter Front End Upload.

Announcing Front End Upload, a New WordPress Plugin — Monday By Noon59

A feature-rich, completely integrated and scalable forum plugin for WordPress.


More Fields WordPress Plugins62
More Fields is a WordPress plugin that adds boxes to the Write / Edit page. These boxes contains input fields, so that additional (more) fields can be added to a post. For example, if you write about books, you can add a box where you can enter the title and the author, etc. The boxes can be placed either to the right or to the left of the Write / Edit page.

More Fields « More Plugins63

Usernoise Modal Feedback: A WordPress Contact Form64
WordPress websites are always in need of a good contact form. Are you looking for a feedback / contact form that works right out of the box? Should it have an attractive aesthetic, with a simple yet full-featured form? Look no further than the free Usernoise Modal Feedback Contact Form plugin.

Usernoise Modal Feedback: A Free WordPress Contact Form That Just Works65

WordPress SEO by Yoast, version 1.066
The SEO plugin by Yoast helps all our editors add SEO juice to their post fast and easy. Editors should focus on writing content, not gaming results. But they are the ones most suitable to write descriptions and titles for their own stories. This plug-in allows them to do just that without needing an SEO expert to walk them through the process. An invaluable tool for any professional blog.

WordPress SEO by Yoast, version 1.0 — Yoast67

Michael Fields » Post Format Queries68

Michael Fields » Post Format Queries69

WP Document Revisions — Document Management for WordPress70
WP Document Revisions is a document management and version control plugin for the popular content management system, WordPress. Built for time-sensitive and mission-critical projects, teams can collaboratively edit files in any format — text documents, spreadsheets, images, sheet music… anything, while seamlessly tracking the document’s progress as it moves through your organization’s existing workflow.

WP Document Revisions — Document Management for WordPress71

WordPress Tools

Beyond themes and plugins, there are tools and resources to further help with improving the presentation, organization, and functionality of your WordPress-powered website. Here is our growing collection of WordPress tools that we’ve collected from around the Web:

ManageWP: Manage WordPress Websites From One Dashboard72
ManageWP helps you manage all your WordPress sites from one location, keeping them updated and secure.

Manage WordPress Websites from One Dashboard — ManageWP.com73

WordPress Mobile Pack74
The WordPress Mobile Pack is a complete toolkit to help mobilize your WordPress website and blog. It includes a mobile switcher to select themes based on the type of user that is visiting the website, a selection of mobile themes, extra widgets, device adaptation, and a mobile administration panel to allow users to edit their website, or write new posts when they are out and about.

WordPress Mobile Pack75

HTML5 Boilerplate for WordPress76
This theme is built on the HTML5 Boilerplate by Paul Irish and Divya Manian. The sole purpose of this theme is to save developers the time it takes to apply the HTML5 Boilerplate to WordPress. The “HTML5 Boilerplate” name is used with permission from Paul Irish.


Default WordPress Generated CSS Cheat Sheet for Beginners78
The goal of this cheat sheet is to assist beginners who are looking to get into WordPress theme styling.

Default WordPress Generated CSS Cheat Sheet for Beginners79

Web Design WordPress Function List80
A very detailed WordPress 4.0+ Template Tag Reference Guide

Web Design WordPress Function List81

WordPress TextMate Bundle82
The WordPress TextMate Bundle is a TextMate bundle that is built with the sole purpose of reducing the amount of time spent digging around the WordPress core to look up those little things that we work with every day.

WordPress TextMate Bundle83

WordPress Initialization84
A very comprehensive reference on the WordPress initialization process.

WordPress Initialization85

Wonderflux — a free, open source theme framework for WordPress86
The framework contains over 100 hooks, including a unique set of dynamic location aware hooks. This allows you to insert pretty much any content or code in a variety of different views and situations anywhere in your theme output easily. There are also countless filters and parameters within the display functions available in Wonderflux.

Wonderflux — WordPress free, open source theme framework87

WordPress Widget Boilerplate88
The WordPress Widget Boilerplate features file organization, documented code, and is built with the WordPress API for best practices.

WordPress Widget Boilerplate89

Instant WordPress90
Instant WordPress is a complete standalone, portable WordPress development environment. It turns any Windows machine into a WordPress development server. It can even run from a USB key.

Instant WordPress91

Reverie: Versatile HTML5 WordPress Framework92
Reverie Framework is an extremely versatile HTML5 WordPress framework based on ZURB’s Foundation, a powerful tool for building prototypes on any kind of device. Reverie follows HTML5 Boilerplate standards, and is hNews microformat ready. It is optimized for search engines, while at the same time improves readability.

Reverie: Versatile HTML5 WordPress Framework93

WordPress Command Line94
A set of tools for controlling WordPress installations from the command line.

andreascreten/wp-cli — GitHub95

WordPress Tutorials

Wrapping up these super-useful themes, plugins, and tutorials, here is a hand-picked collection of some great WordPress tutorials:

Using TextMate for WordPress Code Cleanup96
In this post, the author will show you how to add two useful commands to TextMate, then move through the steps taken for theme code cleanup, finally putting the commands into practice.

Using TextMate for WordPress Code Cleanup97

Force Reload of Scripts and Stylesheets in your Plugin or Theme98
If you’re developing a WordPress theme or plugin you may have had the problem that scripts or stylesheets are not reloaded from the source when you refresh the page because they are cached somewhere on the way from the server to the browser. This quick tutorial explains how to force reload of scripts and stylesheets in your plugin or theme.

Force Reload of Scripts and Stylesheets in your Plugin or Theme — tutorial plugin theme — WP Engineer99

WordPress Internals: How WordPress Boots Up — Theme.fm100
The authors have written their own Twitter (or other service feed plugins / widgets), to those who are simply interested in PHP and software architecture. They invite you to join us on a journey deep into WordPress core code.

WordPress Internals: How WordPress Boots Up — Theme.fm101

Importing WordPress Users via CSV Files102
Conceptually, the idea is simple: import the data to create actual users for a WordPress-powered website. The trick is to clean up the data as much as possible to ensure valid username and password information. Once the data is good, importing it is easy, using a plugin.

Importing WordPress Users via CSV Files103

How to Redirect Logged-In Users104
WordPress provides a variety of ways to redirect logged-in users. In this DiW post, we explain each of these methods along with some useful tips and tricks along the way. These techniques enable you to redirect logged-in users to internal pages, external pages, and even return them to the current page.

How to Redirect Logged-In Users105

How to Build a Shortened URL Service with WordPress Custom Post Type106
The point of this tutorial is to push the limits of WordPress, and that’s going to take some real thought!

How to Build a Shortened URL Service with WordPress Custom Post Type107

Ajax-Powered Error Logs for WordPress108
This tutorial shows you how to set up dynamic error monitoring on any typical website. But the script will require some tweaking to get it to work with WordPress.

Scaling WordPress for High-Traffic109
This talk (presented by Envato’s very own developer extraordinaire, Ryan Allen), will detail some of the potential pitfalls and solutions when maintaining massive WordPress blogs, such as “Tuts+”.

Scaling WordPress for High-Traffic110

How to optimize plugin loading111
This tutorial is primarily for plugin developers, but it can also be useful reading for anyone working with WordPress, to help them better understand how plugins load, and what can be done to improve them.

How to optimize plugin loading — Practical112

WordPress Optimization113
There are many reasons why you may want to optimize your WordPress blog — primarily, you want your website to load quickly. That of course encompasses a number of other things such as wanting to make sure your website can handle large volumes of traffic without choking, and making sure your website’s processes aren’t being killed due to using too many server resources.

WordPress Optimization — DreamHost114

WordPress HTTP API — easily GET or POST in WordPress115
The WordPress HTTP API makes fetching from (or posting to) remote servers a breeze. It does this by allowing you to be transport agnostic when you either fetch or post something. The HTTP API will choose the fastest and most reliable method out of the five different transports available in PHP. It will take care of discovering what transports are allowed on that server at that time.

Admin Bar Tricks116
In this DigWP post, the authors round up a ton of tips, tricks, and plugins for ultimately mastering the WordPress admin bar.

Optimizing WordPress Permalinks with htaccess117
The topic of this post is how to use htaccess to optimize WordPress permalinks.

Optimizing WordPress Permalinks with htaccess118

Writing Unit Tests For WordPress Plugins119
This article shows you how to integrate unit tests into your WordPress plugin, where to write unit tests, and how they can help you.

Writing Unit Tests For WordPress Plugins120

How to Setup Your Own Nginx Powered WordPress Server121
Nginx is a Web server software that allows your server to serve files. Nginx is fairly new to Web server work, relative to other popular Web servers. If you look at the graph below, you can see Apache as the “top dog” (going all the way back to before 1995), while Nginx just started showing up in March, 2007.

How to Setup Your Own Nginx Powered WordPress Server122

Group WordPress Project: A Purpose & A Name123
This time, the author is looking to narrow things down a bit, and needs your help to determine the overall purpose of the theme, and to start thinking about a possible name.

Group WordPress Project: A Purpose & A Name124

How To Create Custom Post Meta Boxes In WordPress125
Creating custom meta boxes is extremely simple — at least it is once you’ve created your first one using the tools baked into WordPress’ core code. In this tutorial, the author will walk you through everything you need to know about meta boxes.

How To Create Custom Post Meta Boxes In WordPress126

How to use Ajax in WordPress127
AJAX is the technology that lets you update the contents of a page without actually having to reload that page in the browser.

How to Sync A Local And Remote WordPress Blog128
If you prefer to work on your WordPress projects locally, but have to get them to sync remotely, then this tutorial is for you.

How to Sync A Local And Remote WordPress Blog129

WordPress Multisite: Practical Functions And Methods130
Multisite is a powerful new feature that arrived with the release of WordPress 3.0. It allows website managers to host multiple independent websites with a single installation of WordPress.

WordPress Multisite: Practical Functions And Methods — Smashing WordPress131

The Definitive Check List for Publishing Your WordPress Plugin132
This tutorial will guide you through publishing your plugin in the WordPress plugin directory. It works as a check list to help you make sure the plugin will be ready for the prime time by the time you hit publish.

The Definitive Check List for Publishing Your WordPress Plugin133

Last Click

40 Keyboard Shortcuts to Use in the WordPress Editor134
A detailed overview of keyboard shortcuts that you can use when writing your posts with WordPress.

WordPress functions.php Snippets135
This quick reference lets you quickly build various functions that you might need for your next WordPress project.

WordPress functions.php Snippets136

WordPress Snippets137
A growing repository of code snippets for WordPress developers.

WordPress Snippets138

Huge Collection of Code Snippets: .htaccess, PHP, WordPress, jQuery, HTML, CSS139
Another huge repository of useful WordPress snippets.

Huge Collection of Code Snippets: HTAccess, PHP, WordPress, jQuery, HTML, CSS140

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    any suggestion for adsense wordpress plugin for guest authors for my site I also want to use that plugin to add two adsense ads on my posts and one in the top leaderboard area. The leader board area’s ad should be mine (admin’s) where as the other two ads in the post should be the authors. Please reply. Thanks in advance

  2. 52
  3. 103

    Dear Sir,

    which plugin Forced to reload the other website in my wordpress theme it should not got out of my them page.

    Thank you
    Waiting for quick reply.

  4. 154

    Robert Silverthorne

    October 8, 2012 2:56 am

    Hi .
    Some great looking themes and useful tools
    I have my theme but a few plugins don’t work
    and one thats too techi for me that is from the one’s
    available from the wp admin all I want is to get a splash page set up
    had my site six weeks and it is still useless

  5. 205

    Thanks for sharing, I’ve already use some of them. Now waiting for the realease of the new one

    It helps to simplify work with WordPress websites, adds drag and drop functionality to the site and enables to structure the content right in the visual editor.

    Hope it helps and supplement your showcase with useful data!

  6. 256

    Another must-have (pasting images from clipboard):

  7. 307


    I’m a new WordPress user..I have a WordPress 3.9 site set up and am trying to find a way to add links to off site urls to my pages.

    I can’t find a way to do this in my dashboard…
    Apparently, according to forums, after 3.5 the links function that was on the dashboard has been eliminated…

    I would like to be able to add links to offsite urls similar to adsence links so that hovering over a word would show the link and clicking on the link would take you to that url…

    OR, I would like to have a menu of the orgs in the sidebar that users could click on to take them to the urls…

    I have a page that deals with Veterans issue and would like to be able to direct readers from my page to the websites of organizations the deal with the issues…

    Page to page links are one thing, but to be able to take a reader from my page to an offsite news story or organization is greatly needed. I don’t know why they took it off. Without offsite links, the site is almost useless to me…

    I’m on a fixed income and a very tight budget. If you know of a free or open source widget or plugin that would do this, I would be grateful…

    There do seem to be solutions using HTML, but I don’t know how to use them…I’m having trouble even figuring out how to open and run a zipped file so that should tell how much I DON’T know…

    Any help you could will be GREATLY appreciated…




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