1. Delete plugins and themes.
This will be a short post and it is just a recommendation. When you install WordPress using a one-click installer, your web host often adds some plugins and themes. I recommend deleting most of these plugins and themes. If you are manually installing you may as well skip down to point 2.
Why should I delete plugins and themes?
It is not very likely that your web host will allow plugins with malicious code to be installed as default but that doesn’t mean they don’t install a lot of crap that you don’t need. All these extra things can potentially slow down your site or your management of the site, even if they are not active. Some plugins and themes that come pre-installed may not be updated regularly which can cause security issues or simply break your site when you update the WordPress core installation. So, the first thing I do when installing WordPress is to remove most of the plugins and themes.
Which plugins should I keep?
Here is a list of the plugins that I deleted:
- Hello Dolly
- MediaElement.js – HTML5 Audio and Video
- WordPress Hashcash
- WP Super Cache
From the pre-installed plugins I kept only Akismet and Jetpack by WordPress.com. If you are going to use VideoPress for hosting videos you might want to keep the VideoPress plugin too.
Akismet is a great tool for preventing spam comments and trust me you will get spam. There are other tools but this one works fine and is created by the same people who created WordPress. To get Akismet to work you will need a WordPress API key and to get one of those you need to join wordpress.com and they should email you a key or you can find it in your control panel. This API key can be used for other plugins as well which I might mention in a later post but if you don’t wish to join wordpress.com (it’s free) there are other options to stop spam. I might make a post about them at a later date too but don’t hold your breath as I am happy enough with Akismet.
Regarding the other plugins I recommend only installing what you need. Plugins are great and without them WordPress would be boring but to keep your website performing well you ought to keep their use to a minimum. I don’t always practice what I preach but as I write this post I am only using three plugins, the two mentioned above and the Official StatCounter Plugin which I will talk about in a later post.
How do I delete the plugins?
- Click Plugins on the sidebar of your WordPress control panel.
- In the Active or All area select everything you want removed and from the dropdown menu choose ‘Deactivate’ and click ‘Apply’.
- In the ‘Inactive plugins’ select all and from the dropdown select ‘delete’.
Which themes should I keep?
If you want you can preview the themes that your host has pre-installed for you by going to the Appearance area in your control panel sidebar and selecting themes. Of course you can keep the ones you like and get rid of the rest but my recommendation is deleting all of them and keeping only the default theme. Then you can search the web or the WordPress theme depository for what you want. Be careful when choosing a theme though because themes sometimes break when WordPress is updated. Or more usually they don’t break but don’t take advantage of some new functionality introduced in the new version of WordPress. Check the details of the theme and the theme designer and see if they keep the themes up to date. If they don’t, avoid them.
I deleted 126 themes that came with the one-click install and while you can do it from the WordPress control panel it is much faster to do it by FTP. I don’t think there is a problem having the themes in the folder but I just don’t like the clutter.
I’m using a very slightly modified theme called Trending from ThemeHybrid on this site at the moment. (I will talk about the best ways to modify your themes in a later post.)
2. Activate Permalinks
If you want people to find your website you will need to do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) That is also something I will talk about in detail in later posts but something you should do as soon as possible is to enable permalinks. Take a look at the two urls below.
The first one is without permalinks enabled and the second is with Permalinks activated and it will help search engines to find your WordPress posts. Whether you activate it or not is up to you but I recommend it. To activate it, follow these steps:
- Under ‘Settings’ in the WordPress control panel select ‘permalinks’.
- There are several settings to choose from but you should select one that includes ‘name’.
- Press ‘Save Changes’ and that’s it.
If you are installing WordPress manually you won’t need to deal with most of this. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please comment below.