In this post, I am will share some Free Alternatives to Paid WordPress Plugins with you that are either as good or nearly as good as some popular paid plugins.
1. Autoptimize: Alternative to WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a speed optimization plugin that helps greatly. It is one of the best Speed Optimization plugins with a lot of automatic settings. Currently, the lowest package costs $36.75 for one year of support and updates. This is quite fair and if you would like to try it out, click here.
A very good free alternative to WP Rocket is Autoptimize. I use this plugin on all of my websites and it works really well. It even has an option to load your images from Shortpixel in a WEBPformat. Autoptimize is a perfect alternative to WP Rocket. It may be a little technical to understand the settings but there is a lot of information about it on the internet because the plugin has existed for a very long time.
If you want something easy and simple, almost like plug and play then try WP Rocket.
Graciously, WP Rocket Team loaded one of the major functions in the WP Rocket plugin into a free plugin called ‘Heartbeat Control by WP Rocket‘.
2. Calculated Fields Form: Alternative to Gravity Form
Gravity Form is a popular WordPress form and calculator plugin. The plugin carries out a lot of functions including the reception of online payments, mathematical calculations etc. Instead of using Gravity Forms for calculations, I will rather use the free version of Calculated Fields Form. With it, I can create an unlimited amount of calculators with advanced logic and formulas. (Examples here)
If I need to make a contact form, I will go for the professional version of Calculated Fields Form which costs just €49.99 for a lifetime.
With the professional version, I can create a contact form that is completely spam-free and also include calculations in it if needed. I used this on my website and you can see an example on my contact page.
You can download Calculated Fields Form here.
3. Tutor LMS: Alternative to LearnPress, LifterLMS
Tutor LMS offers a lot of functions that are not available in any other Learning Management System plugins. I built a complete system of learning with the free version of Tutor LMS. This is not possible with other plugins. You may have to do some CSS edits and add some codes into your functions.php file but it’s still worth the effort for being free.
If you want a robust system of Learning without having to do much work, then you should consider LearnPress.
4. Post Grid Elementor Addon: Partly Alternative to Elementor Pro
This is not a full alternative to Elementor Pro. I recommend that if you are not on a tight budget, you should get Elementor Pro. It saves you the stress of having to manage many plugins and having several addon plugins for a different function. But if you are okay with the free version of Elementor and the extra function you lack is to display blog posts on any Elementor page, then this plugin is the perfect option. I don’t know any other plugin that does this.
I have tried this and it works perfectly, you can see an example on my homepage. By the way, I use only Elementor. I have tried other pagebuilders before now and Elementor has been the fastest, most versatile and most suitable for creativity.
If you would like to explore some creative ideas I recommend the combination of Elementor Pro and GeneratePress. I use GeneratePress and Elementor for all my projects and I am never stuck.
5. Buffer: Alternative to Blog2Social et al.
If you would like your posts to be shared to various Social Media posts automatically, this is for you. I tried all of the plugins available on the WordPress repository for this but none worked perfectly free. The best worked for just one month after which I was asked to pay per API request. The best and final free option was to use Buffer. Buffer allows you to automate the sharing of your posts including featured images and captions to 3 Social Media platforms for free. I use it for one of my websites and my content gets shared on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn every day at the particular times I have selected.
With their paid version, you can have more channels and a lot of other functions. Trust me, this is the best option out there and it’s amazing.
This will require you to create a buffer account, create channels, download the WordPress to Buffer plugin and do some settings.
6. WP Show Post: Alternative to Custom Post Type UI Extended
If you have created your custom posts with the Custom Post Type UI plugin, you will observe that it is difficult to display posts in archives, except you tweak your theme codes. This is what I experienced. After contacting the support team, I was told that I had to buy the Custom Post Type UI Extended so I can display posts in archives. I bought the plugin and still experienced some difficulties with some taxonomies. Later, I realized I could have done all this for free with Tom Usborne’s WP Show Post plugin.
Eventually, uninstalled the plugin I bought and implemented everything without stress with WP Show Post.
Apart from displaying posts in archive, this plugin is also very useful if you want to achieve a newspaper kind of effect, you can see an example here.
7. Directorist: Alternative to ListingPro Theme
The Directorist plugin is a robust listing plugin with a lot of functions that would enable you to run a listing website completely. The plugin is free and I have used it before now. I built a directory website with the free version without any limitations. They have some add-ons you can purchase to extend the functions but the free version is good enough to run a directory website. This plugin is currently the best free listing WordPress plugin.
This is not to discourage you from buying any plugin. Sometimes, we are not sure of how far we want to go with some projects and we need to test the waters. These free alternatives are the best to use in this kind of situation. When everything is stabilized, then you can opt for the paid ones. Also, remember that all the free plugins are on the WordPress repository, therefore, the plugin writers are forced to maintain some industry best practices in how the plugins are written. Plugins in the WordPress repository are also checked for vulnerabilities which make them more secure, they receive regular updates when a new security patch is released.
Tip: Make sure you enable ‘auto-updates’ on all your plugins and themes. For your theme, activate a child theme before enabling auto-update so that your customizations are not wiped away.
Thank you for reading so far. If you found these free alternatives to paid WordPress plugins useful, kindly let me know in the comment box. If you know any free alternatives to some paid WordPress plugins please let me know so I can add them to this list.
Michael Adegoke is a WordPress Expert with more than 10 years of experience. He has worked with several brands across the globe, helping them solve problems revolving around technical SEO, Web Calculator Development and Speed Optimization. There are more than 100 Web Calculators that have been built by Michael Adegoke. Some can be found at (usacalculators.com).
Michael has a degree in English & Literature but decided to go the path of WordPress which he fell in love with since 2011. He has previously worked as a Graphics Designer, Social Media Manager and Digital Marketer.
He enjoys solving problems and helping people.