The WordPress.org has over 20,000 plugins available to download. Some awesome, some not so awesome. I also find the WordPress.org search functions to not be very helpful, where if it adopted more of a Google style search function, it could be much more practical for people to use.
However, I’ve scoured the plugin repository and found 25 of the most downloaded WordPress plugins in the repository.
Akismet is an anti-spam plugin created by Automattic. The primary reason it has the most downloads is that it comes with WordPress. So just because a strong majority of its downloads come from upgrades of existing installations (not new installations), it’s still something to note that it’s still a widely popular plugin.
Visit WordPress.org 14,076,643 downloads as of 03/10/13
All in One SEO Pack
The original WordPress SEO plugin, it has become the second most downloaded plugin on WordPress.org. It offers a number of great features, including canonical links, an SEO API, automatic meta tags, and much more. There is also a Pro version of this plugin available.
Visit WordPress.org 13,710,604 downloads as of 03/10/13
Contact Form 7
One of the original WordPress contact forms, CF7 has made an impression on the WordPress and has become one of the most popular contact form plugins for WordPress.
Visit WordPress.org 10,078,533 downloads as of 03/10/13
Google XML Sitemaps
While SEO has evolved and changed, Google XML Sitemaps has remained one of the most popular plugins for configuring and building an XML sitemap for your WordPress site.
Visit WordPress.org 9,846,612 downloads as of 03/10/13
Easily one of the best WordPress gallery plugins out there. Being free and customizable, it’s definitely a winner. NextGEN Gallery was acquired by Photocrati mid-2012.
Visit WordPress.org 6,941,065 downloads as of 03/10/13
Jetpack by WordPress.com
Want to supercharge your WordPress.org site with WordPress.com features? Jetpack is how you do it. Jetpack offers widely popular features like comment and post subscriptions, Photon — the WordPress CDN for WordPress.org sites, WordPress.com Stats, VaultPress integration, Publicize, and much more.
Visit WordPress.org 4,395,476 downloads as of 03/10/13
WP Super Cache
Created as an easy to use caching plugin, WP Super Cache has evolved over the years and still holds one of the top spots as the most popular caching plugin for WordPress.
Visit WordPress.org 4,161,963 downloads as of 03/10/13
Google Analytics for WordPress
Just one of Yoast’s WordPress plugins, Google Analytics for WordPress offers a lot of great customization options to enhance how your site is tracked with Google Analytics. This is just one of two plugins in the Top 25 by Yoast.
Visit WordPress.org 4,124,284 downloads as of 03/10/13
WordPress Importer is a plugin that is sort of baked into the WordPress core. I do not really consider this a popular plugin, only because it doesn’t receive many updates and the reason it has so many downloads is that it doesn’t ship with WordPress core.
Visit WordPress.org 4,040,355 downloads as of 03/10/13
Let’s talk about WordPress mobile. WPtouch, created by BraveNewCode, is one of the most popular WordPress mobile plugins. As responsive design gains more traction though, more sites are not needing a mobile-specific plugin as the theme itself is designed to work on mobile devices. BraveNewCode offers a premium version of this plugin, WPtouch Pro.
Visit WordPress.org 3,922,813 downloads as of 03/10/13
WordPress SEO by Yoast
This is the second plugin by Yoast that is in the Top 25. WordPress SEO by Yoast was released on January 2nd, 2009, just a year after All in One SEO Pack (AIOSP). But WordPress SEO by Yoast is growing a higher rate than AIOSP.
Visit WordPress.org 3,837,090 downloads as of 03/10/13
Fast Secure Contact Form
This contact form is very basic. No templates to use, but is customizable.
Visit WordPress.org 3,466,172 downloads as of 03/10/13
Want to switch over from the normal “next” and “previous” links? This is your goto plugin to change over to page numbers.
Visit WordPress.org 3,332,388 downloads as of 03/10/13
Yet another Google Analytics plugin.
Visit WordPress.org 2,327,918 downloads as of 03/10/13
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Yet another related posts plugin. But seriously, that’s the name. It’s a really good option if you want to run server-side related posts. If you find it’s slowing down your site though, you may want to switch to something external, like Outbrain.
Visit WordPress.org 2,249,907 downloads as of 03/10/13
Kitchen sink not enough? Download this plugin to kick up your WYISWYG editor into high-gear.
Visit WordPress.org 2,203,489 downloads as of 03/10/13
Shareaholic | email, bookmark, share buttons
A popular sharing plugin for WordPress.
Visit WordPress.org 1,824,860 downloads as of 03/10/13
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is a robust caching plugin for WordPress. It offers HTML/CSS/JS minifying, object and page caching, as well as CDN support. It is by far one of the most powerful caching plugins for WordPress. WPForce.com is happily powered by W3TC.
Visit WordPress.org 1,802,742 downloads as of 03/10/13
Broken Link Checker
Just as the plugin name describes, it helps check your posts for potentially broken links. As you may know, links tend to break when another webmaster changes the links on their site.
Visit WordPress.org 1,619,626 downloads as of 03/10/13
Smart YouTube PRO
Moving beyond just a YouTube embed, Smart YouTube PRO let’s you embed YouTube playlists on top of videos. It also supports other video providers like Vimeo, Metacafe, and Facebook videos. And just as everything should be today, it is also mobile-friendly, offering support for iPhone, iPad, and iPod.
Visit WordPress.org 1,524,310 downloads as of 03/10/13
SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
While captchas may not be cool, this plugin is still quite popular. It helps protect WordPress, WordPress Multisite, and BuddyPress.
Visit WordPress.org 1,515,813 downloads as of 03/10/13
WordPress goes social! BuddyPress is the social networking plugin for WordPress. Let users register and interact with each other and grow your community, directly with WordPress.
Visit WordPress.org 1,421,872 downloads as of 03/10/13
WP to Twitter
Want to tweet your posts out? WP to Twitter makes it easy to auto-tweet a new post. It also works with URL shortening services like Bitly.
Visit WordPress.org 1,353,161 downloads as of 03/10/13
Redirection let’s you manage a number of different redirects, directly from within the WordPress dashboard. The plugin could be used by beginners or by advanced WordPress developers.
Visit WordPress.org 1,209,678 downloads as of 03/10/13
ShareThis: Share Buttons and Sharing Analytics
Visit WordPress.org 1,207,352 downloads as of 03/10/13
Top 25 Recap
I can see a few general themes among these plugins: SEO, images, video, and mobile. These are certainly trends that are changing all around us right now.
Something else to note, is how the “download” number is calculated. WPCandy wrote up an explanation of it late last year.
It’s quite possible I overlooked some plugins and missed them, so if you spot any plugins which you think should have made the list, please let me know in the comments.