The Best WP Plugins for your New Site

WordPress has changed things a lot in the world of Web design for small business and is becoming an increasingly commonplace platform for a site to be built on. This is down to the ease of creation, power and also the flexibility of the WordPress platform – in fact there are over 30,000 plug-ins for WordPress.


This sounds great and in a lot of ways it is, however it can lead to confusion. The paradox of choice is truly something that can cause problems for those trying to select the correct plug-ins to use on their site. So, to limit confusion, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourites.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

A personal favourite – WP SEO by Yoast is a great tool that adds to the already good SEO functionality of the site. The plug-in allows you to add a raft of Meta data easily, specify which pages Google should rank and even helps with social media integration and sitemap creation. It’s easy to use, powerful and a great addition to any site’s arsenal.

Disqus Commenting

Disqus is a commenting system that replaces the original WordPress option. Unlike the quite limited WordPress option, Disqus makes commenting easier, faster and more interactive. It also facilitates community creation, allows indexing of comments in Google and even auto syncs so your comments are backed up – great for a new WordPress web design.


Originally only available if you hosted your site on WordPress, this nice clean plug-in is feature rich and shows a whole host of stats. From social networking, to contact forms, to site activity info – it collates a variety of information into one place, making keeping on top of your site a lot easier.

Floating Share Bars

There are a number of great floating share bars out there at this moment in time, though Digg Digg is possibly our favourite. Floating share bars run up and down the side of the page or blog in a neat and attractive manner – essentially floating around the page. The fact they are visible at all times on a page, no matter how long it is, means people are far more likely to click it. It’s certainly one to implement and one we’d recommend at if you are hoping to create any sort of social following.


There’s social media and then there’s spam and Akismet is there to prevent the former. It’s a powerful, free tool that is easy to add and just side lines spam, preventing it taking up space on your site and making your loved place look a bit scammy.

W3 Total Cache

Caching is often a necessity for sites with plenty of images as it helps speed up these memory hungry additions. W3 Total Cache is a great addition that adds all the caching features you require and speeds up your site – something that’s very important with mobile versions of a site.

404 Redirected

Hitting a 404 is a pain and a broken link can cause all sorts of SEO and usability issues. So, adding this plug-in will help as it automatically redirects anyone who falls on the dead page to an apt live one. This helps sites pass link juice between pages and means there are no dead ends.

These WordPress plug-ins are must have additions for a variety of websites and could go a long way to making using and caring for your site a lot easier.


Import a Drupal Website from a Server and run it locally on an Acquia Drupal AMP Stack

It is possible that you have created and edited a Drupal website on a server and now find that you want to work on this Drupal installation locally instead to speed up development time. To do this you need to import the Core Drupal website to your local Acquia Drupal AMP stack and make some local modifications. Here are the step by step instructions:

  1. FTP the entire Drupal folder from the server down to a local directory on your computer.
  2. Export the Drupal database from the server to your local computer.
  3. On the Acquia Dev Desktop Control Panel, select the ‘Localhost’ dropdown menu and choose ‘more’.
  4. Click the ‘Import’ button and fill in the details as in the following screenshot.
    • Set the ‘site path’ folder to the location where the source code resides (see Step 1.)
    • Select the ‘I have a MySql database dump file for my site’ radio button and give the database a new name.
    • Choose a local server name to run your core Drupal installation from. Note that it is not possible to use ‘localhost’.

    Import Site Settings

  5. After clicking the ‘Import’ button, the code and database are imported to the local Acquia Drupal AMP Stack.
  6. If you have multiple setting.php files (i.e. one under the ‘sites/default’ folder and one under the ‘sites/’ folder), to aid troubleshooting you can remove one of these. In this case, I have removed the settings.php under the ‘sites/’ folder.Web-Design-One-Settings[/caption]

  7. The Core Drupal settings.php file you have imported may be structured differently to the Acquia AMP settings.php. You can standardise it by making a couple of modifications:
    • Remove the contents of $databases = array ();
    • Web-Design-Settings-Mod1

      Remove Contents of $databases Array

    • Remove the salt string also.
    • Web-Design-Settings-Mod2

      Remove Contents of Salt String

  8. Add the following code and note that when you try to run the website locally an error occurs:
  9. Web-Design-Settings-Mod3


  10. A closer investigation of the imported database reveals the problem. The database table prefix ‘dr_’ has been imported to the local database from the server and the Acquia Drupal AMP stack was not expecting this.
  11. Web-Design-Settings-Mod4


  12. To remedy the problem, add the table prefix ‘dr_’ to the settings.php. Once this has been added the imported website runs locally.
  13. Web-Design-Settings-Mod5

    Table Prefix

  14. The bottom of the settings.php should now look like the right hand side of the following snapshot:
  15. Web-Design-Settings-Mod6

    Bottom of settings.php File

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Modify local Drupal site on Acquia AMP stack for upload to Server

Assuming you have already installed Core Drupal on your Acquia AMP stack then you can upload your website to the web server after making the following modifications:

  1. Modify the settings file to reflect the new server name and database:
    • Change the “base_url” to reflect the url (domain name and path) of the Drupal installation on the server.
    • Change the “db_url” to reflect the database user on the server. You will also need to modify the host from “” to “localhost”.
    • Change the “username” to reflect the database user on the server.
    • Change the “password” to reflect the database password on the server.
    • Change the “host” from “” to “localhost”.
    Web Design Northern Ireland Settings


  2. Drupal can have multiple setting.php files: one for each Drupal installation and also a default settings.php.
  3. Web Design Northern Ireland Edit and Copy

    Edit settings.php and copy to Default Folder

  4. If you only have one Drupal installation on your target server then you can just keep the default settings.php file and delete the project specific settings.php. This can make troubleshooting any issues more straightforward as you can be certain that Drupal is using the settings.php file that you are expecting it to use.
Web Design Northern Ireland Default Settings

Default settings.php

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