WordPress plugins are developed and maintained by thousands of independent developers. Over time, it’s inevitable that some of these plugins will stop being supported. Developers move on to other projects, or become overwhelmed by the task of keeping their code up to date. Sometimes, WordPress evolves to cover the functionality that plugins once provided.
This article covers some of the most popular defunct WordPress plugins, and suggests alternatives for them. While we can’t switch everything like-for-like, you should be able to change your plugins without a huge investment of time.
Finding Replacement Plugins
The lists below are divided loosely into topic categories, and are aimed to provide some alternative plugins for the ones that are out of date. Where there is no direct replacement, there’s a close match, or a migration tool that will help you switch to something else.
Alternative Advertising Plugins
Advertising plugins help you to monetize your blog, by automating the placement of ads, and managing the way they are displayed. Some of the most useful ad plugins have been abandoned, discontinued, or redeveloped, so if you use one of these, it’s time for a re-think.
- Easy Adsense: this plugin appears to have been abandoned by the original author. Replace it with Easy Adsense Lite. It lets you quickly place ads in your content areas and sidebar, while also ensuring you comply with Google’s limits on the number of AdSense ads per page.
- Simple Ads Manager: fans of Simple Ads Manager will be pleased to know that it still exists. Its new name is SAM Pro Free.
- Advertising Manager: Advertising Manager took care of ad rotation for AdSense and other networks. Our alternative, AdRotate, does the same thing.
- All in One Adsense and YPN: another AdSense plugin, but with a twist; it also supported the Yahoo! Partner Ads network, which is no longer in existence. Additionally, some who used this plugin claimed that it secretly funneled cash to the developer, even when the optional donation was set to zero. Others didn’t have an issue. Regardless, it’s no longer in use, so try Easy Adsense Lite instead.
Alternative Analytics Plugins
Many analytics plugins were made obsolete with the release of Jetpack. Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that allows self-hosted WordPress users to tap into the statistics provided by WordPress.com; all you need is a WordPress.com login.
- WordPress.com Stats: this plugin has now been incorporated into Jetpack, so uninstall it and install Jetpack instead.
- Statpress: this plugin has now been discontinued, along with a range of plugins that were derived from it (including Statpress Reloaded, Statpress Community, Statpress Visitors and NewStatpress). While not all of them were discontinued due to Jetpack, it will cover many of the same functions. If you don’t want to replace Statpress with Jetpack, Slim Stat Analytics is a good alternative, and also supports popular caching plugins.
- Analytics360°: this was Mailchimp’s attempt at a WordPress analytics plugin, and it blended Google Analytics data with Mailchimp traffic. You can still integrate Google Analytics with Mailchimp using the Analytics360° report in Mailchimp, even though the plugin has been abandoned.
Alternative Content and Appearance Plugins
Google has placed increasing importance on responsive, mobile-friendly websites, and WordPress users have had to redevelop themes to ensure that they comply with new guidelines. As such, many of the old theme management plugins have become obsolete. Some popular plugins have also simply fallen out of development; once again, Jetpack plays a role in their demise.
- Comicpress Companion: Comicpress Theme Companion gave users of Comicpress themes a convenient way to edit the CSS for their site, without changing the main style sheets. Development of Comicpress Theme Companion was halted in August 2012, because Jetpack made Comicpress Theme Companion obsolete. Use Jetpack‘s Custom CSS module instead.
- WP-Cumulus: WP-Cumulus built Flash tag clouds that could be rendered in 2D and 3D. It’s no longer available, after the developer decided to stop maintaining the code. As an alternative, try WP Category Tag Cloud. It allows tags and categories to be rendered in six different formats, using HTML5 rather than Flash.
- GD Star Rating: star ratings are great for review websites and other types of content that require a ranking. Since GD Star Rating was discontinued, another plugin, GD Rating System, has stepped in.
- WP Mobile Detector: this plugin detected the user’s device, and then loaded a theme appropriate to that device. WP Mobile Edition is a good alternative, which offers an automatic detection script, manual switching, and mobile themes.
- Nrelate Related Content: Nrelate has confirmed that this plugin is now out of development. It recommends Zemanta Related Posts instead.
- Lightbox Plus Colorbox: there’s no shortage of lightbox plugins for WordPress. We’ve used WP Lightbox 2 with good results. When embedding an image, make sure that your images are hyperlinked in the Attachment Display Settings, and ensure the Link To drop-down is set as Media File.
- WP Widget Cache: this defunct plugin cached the output of widgets, to save them querying the database or external services. Widget Output Cache does the same thing.
- Page Flip Image Gallery: this plugin loaded certain content types in a flip book format within a WordPress post or page. Again, there are plenty of replacement options, depending on the content type you want to embed. Try WPPDF as an alternative.
- AJAX Event Calendar: event calendars are tricky to replace, because they tend to use a lot of custom fields that can’t be easily adapted to a new plugin. Unfortunately, there may not be a way to rescue the events from an old AJAX Event Calendar install, but you can use Event Calendar WD to replicate much of the rest of its functionality.
- Popularity Contest: this plugin displayed the most popular posts on a blog. Replace it with WordPress Popular Posts.
- WP-O-Matic: WP-O-Matic was an aggregator and autoblogging plugin. You can replace much of its core functionality with the similarly named WPeMatico.
- Sitemap Generator: there’s no shortage of sitemap plugins for WordPress, but beware: there are two different flavors of sitemap, and you need to pick the right one for your needs. Google XML Sitemaps creates a site map for search engines, while WP Sitemap Page embeds a sitemap in one of your pages.
- Events Calendar: there are many event calendar plugins for WordPress, and many have very similar names. This Events Calendar plugin is different, but includes the features you’re likely to miss from its namesake: date and time pickers, shortcodes, and widget support.
- WordPress Content Slide: sliders are also two-a-penny in the WordPress repository, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble replacing this plugin. Master Slider is a responsive HTML5 replacement that works on desktop and mobile devices.
Alternative Backup Plugins
It’s important to take regular backups of your WordPress website, because one failed upgrade could wipe out your data. It doesn’t bear thinking about. Some hosts provided reasonably sophisticated backups as part of a hosting package, but others will only take snapshots for internal support use. If you used one of the backup plugins below, seek out an alternative to be safe.
- WP Online Backup: this plugin created scheduled backups and forwarded them via email to the administrator. WP-DB-Backup does the same thing. Note that it only backs up core tables, and doesn’t back up plugin data or files.
- Ready Backup: designed as a complete online backup plugin, Ready Backup integrated WordPress backups with cloud services like Dropbox and Amazon S3. If this functionality is important to you, use BackWPup instead. It supports Dropbox, S3, Azure, RackSpaceCloud, SugarSync, Glacier and Google Drive.
Alternative Back-end, Administration, and Dashboard Plugins
A large number of plugins are designed to streamline the WordPress dashboard, or make administration easier for certain tasks. This is quite a broad area, but nonetheless, some of these plugins were critical to the functionality of certain websites. If you need replacements, here are our suggestions.
- WordPress Automatic Upgrade: WordPress now automatically alerts you when a new upgrade is ready. However, it doesn’t apply the update without your permission. The Automatic Updater plugin adds some useful extra features.
- My Page Order: this plugin allowed users with admin rights the ability to change the order of pages in the backend. Switch this outdated plugin for Simple Page Ordering to enjoy similar features.
- My Category Order: this plugin allowed users to change the order of categories, similar to the My Page Order plugin above. Use Category Order and Taxonomy Terms Order instead.
- Custom Content Type Manager: this plugin was subject to a malicious code injection while it was stored on the WordPress plugin repository. Previous to that, the original developer appears to have gone AWOL, so it’s unlikely to return. Try Pods — Custom Content Types and Fields if you need an alternative.
- Maintenance Mode: Maintenance Mode may have been disabled, but there’s no shortage of alternatives on the plugin repository. Try Maintenance instead.
- Adminer: this handy plugin allowed WordPress users to access PHPMyAdmin through their WordPress admin area. While we haven’t found any direct plugin replacements for it, WP-Optimize gives you similar database tools in a plugin, including some that you’d find in PhpMyAdmin.
- More Fields: this custom field editor appears to be defunct. Try Advanced Custom Fields instead.
- WP Missed Schedule: this plugin was very useful in resolving those pesky “Missed Schedule” errors on scheduled posts. WP Timezone offers similar functionality for users in Europe (using CEST in summer, CET in winter). Scheduled Post Guardian looks promising, but it hasn’t been updated since 2014, so use with care.
- Mailpress: Mailpress was found to have an exploit, and was taken offline pending a fix. Until it returns, try Newsletter.
- WP Shortcode Exec: WP Shortcode Exec was a handy plugin that allowed the creation and execution of custom shortcodes. Add Shortcodes and Filters is a direct replacement. It can import old data from WP Shortcode Exec, too.
- Optimize DB: If you need to optimize your WordPress database, there are plenty of other plugins that will replace Optimize DB. Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions deletes unnecessary revisions, tags, and comments. Clean Up Booster lets you trash the same kinds of data, and also allows you to preview your tables.
- Mailbag: Mailbag was a MailChimp and Campaign Monitor integration plugin. Replace it with OptinMonster, which supports a range of services: MailChimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft, GetResponse, ConstantContact, CampaignMonitor, Hubspot, Marketo, ActiveCampaign, Pardot, TotalSend, Emma, iContact, MailerLite, Customer.io, MailPoet, and FeedBlitz.
- Register Plus: both Register Plus and its successor, Register Plus Redux, have been retired from the WordPress plugin repository. Try User Registration Aide in its place.
Alternative Cache Plugins
WordPress caching is essential to keep your site running speedily. If your cache plugin has expired, find an alternative here.
- DB Cache: now discontinued; use W3 Total Cache in its place.
- Quick Cache: another discontinued cache plugin. And again, W3 Total Cache is a good replacement.
- WP Cache: finally, an honorable mention for WP Cache. It hasn’t been discontinued, but has been renamed to WP-Cache.com.
Alternative Ecommerce Plugins
Ecommerce plugins are very difficult to replace without reworking the entire product catalog and sales backend. That’s why it’s important to choose a plugin that’s likely to be supported long-term. Thankfully, there aren’t too many ecommerce plugins that need to be replaced.
- eShop: the eShop plugin appears to have been abandoned by its developer, even though the product still exists. There’s a way to migrate your eShop data to WooCommerce, which is probably better than starting over.
- Cart66 Lite: this plugin still exists, in some form. A version of it is still available: Cart66 Cloud.
- YAK For WordPress: Yet Another Kart, or YAK, was a favorite with many WordPress users. Its simple structure allowed any post or page to be associated with a product, and the plugin also supported the billing process. If it’s simplicity you’re after, WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart allows you to sell products easily. Just place the shortcodes on your cart and product pages, and use the PayPal back-end to handle the billing side.
Alternative Form Plugins
There are a host of form plugins for WordPress. If yours is in the list below, here are some alternatives that retain similar functionality.
- Cforms: Cforms may not be in production, but there’s a fork: Cforms2.
- WP-reCAPTCHA: switch over to the WordPress ReCaptcha Integration plugin.
- TDO Mini Forms: this was a very handy plugin that allowed guests to post content to a blog, which could then be approved by an admin. It was a good way to completely bypass the WordPress backend admin area. Since TDO Mini Forms is no longer in development, we recommend User Submitted Posts. While it’s not an exact match, it functions more reliably than the other plugins in this niche.
Also see: FormMail Alternatives
Alternative Media Plugins
The death of Flash, and the rise of HTML5, have changed the way we embed media in WordPress. As such, many plugins have become obsolete, while others have simply fallen by the wayside over the years.
- PodPress: this plugin made it really easy to host a podcast using WordPress as the back-end. If you relied upon it, try making the switch to this similar plugin: Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting (or PowerPress, for short).
- Viper’s Video Quicktags: this plugin made it easier to embed video in WordPress. It’s no longer required, since much of its functionality is included in the core WordPress code. If you need to migrate your old quicktags to the new format, there’s a plugin for that.
- Audio Player: this plugin is defunct; try Simple Audio Player instead.
- JW Player Plugin for WordPress: this plugin lives on, but has been renamed to JW Player 7 for WordPress.
- WP Filebase: WP Filebase is a media manager that makes files easier to locate. It has been removed from the WordPress plugin directory. However, it’s still available as a standalone plugin from GitHub, but it does not appear to be in active development. There’s also a Pro version which you could use as an alternative. But if you want to use a free plugin, replace it with Enhanced Media Library, or Media Library Plus.
Alternative Security Plugins
It’s important to improve your WordPress security beyond the default level, either by hardening WordPress manually, or using a security plugin. Naturally, an unsupported security plugin is a risk in itself. Consider replacing these plugins with newer alternatives.
- Security by Supsystic: while this plugin has a website, it’s not listed in the plugin repository. Replace it with something like All in One WP Security and Firewall to be safe.
- Stealth Login: this plugin was able to hide wp-login.php behind a rotating unlock code screen. Replace it with Stealth Login Page.
- WordPress File Monitor: this was responsible for monitoring WordPress’ core files, and sending an email message when a file was changed. Better WP Security includes this feature, as well as some other useful safety functions.
- Website Defender: this plugin offered practical suggestions on how to harden WordPress, and also included file scanning and admin area protection. All in One WP Security and Firewall is a good substitute.
Alternative SEO Plugins
Out of the box, WordPress’ SEO can be lacking. The plugins below were helpful, but have fallen out of development. Replace them to ensure your site isn’t vulnerable to attack.
- Robots Meta: a robots.txt creator. Replace it with Simple Robots Meta.
- SEO Rank Reporter: this rank tracker reported rankings every few days. It no longer works, so switch to Wincher Rank Tracker, which is similar.
- Searchterms Tagging 2: this plugin kept a record of all of the search terms for a page, with the aim of having Google index them to improve relevancy. If left unchecked, plugins like this can actually harm rankings. But if you want to replace Searchterms Tagging 2, then Recent Search Terms is fairly good. It will report some terms, without stuffing every single one into the page.
Alternative Social Media Plugins
Social networking is an ever-changing landscape, and plugins are constantly going out of date when code changes are rolled out. Additionally, WordPress is much better at doing social media than it used to be, so some of the functionality in these plugins is obsolete.
- WordBook: this plugin shared posts to a Facebook wall, but has stopped working. You can get the same functionality if you install Jetpack, then set up its Publicize module.
- Social: this Mailchimp plugin acted as a bridge between a WordPress blog and Facebook/Twitter. Again, Jetpack covers most of the functionality you’ve lost.
- Social Slider 2: displaying a sliding social panel is tough now that this plugin has gone. You could try WP Social Slider, but proceed with caution, as it hasn’t been updated for some time.
- Simple Facebook Connect: a Facebook posting plugin. Use Jetpack.
- Wordbooker: another discontinued Facebook plugin. Use Jetpack.
- Twitter Blackbird Pie: this one made it really easy to embed tweets into WordPress content. Instead of using this outdated code, use the official Twitter plugin.
- Mingle Forum: this extension allowed users to embed a Mingle Forum into a WordPress blog. We haven’t been able to find a direct replacement for it, but WPForo and bbPress are good alternatives.
Alternative Translation Plugins
Google Translate disrupted the way translation plugins are used, causing a few to drop out of development. Others have been abandoned. Here are some alternatives for the ones you’re currently using.
- qTranslate: this multilingual switcher has been abandoned, but it has a successor: qTranslate-X. Its author says it has little in common with the original, but has produced a migration guide.
- Codestyling Localization: this plugin appears to be out of date, so try Loco Translate in its place.
Switching plugins is labor-intensive, but outdated plugins can cause problems with even the most well-maintained WordPress website. Try to choose alternatives that have good support, and a track record of frequent updates. The most important plugin is your backup plugin, so make sure that it’s functional and secure. That way, you can always roll back your changes if something does go wrong.
Further Reading and Resources
We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to coding and development:
- You Get What You Pay For: WordPress hosting is free, but there are reasons why you might want to pay for it.
- How to Backup Your WordPress Blog: learn how to keep your website safe for those times when things go wrong.
- How Big is the WordPress Economy? The WordPress economy is a lot larger and more varied than you probably realize.