Yesterday I updated my WordPress installation to 2.7, so now I could tell you how great the update was. Actually, I’ll do.

I didn’t update to 2.6 until a few weeks ago because I didn’t want anything to break (bad experience from my previous update) and I was annoyed to see that now I’ve to update again, but the process for those two updates was not only really painless, but gave me a big surprise in how much the admin panel has improved. The in-build plugin updater and installer (and, even more, the automatic upgrade feature) is very enjoyable to use and remembers me of the times when I used SMF. Further, the new dashboard is also way better than what was there before, revisions and auto-save make it easy to undo mistakes when writing a post, and the JavaScript all over the place contributes to the overall experience.

Anyway, let’s go to what I really wanted to talk about on this post: plugin goodness. As I said, using plugins has now become a breeze, so what better than telling you about those which I enjoy the most? So, without more delay, here’s my Top 8 (who said all lists must have 10 items? :)):

  1. Akismet
    Well-known Akismet is definitely a must, and has already saved me from manually reviewing nearly 4.000 unwanted comments. To those of you who disable comments on old blog posts: Akismet (and perhaps WordPress’ comments review system, which doesn’t show new comments until you approved them) make the SPAM threat a minor problem.
  2. WordPress.com Stats
    Another popular plugin, but it’s necessary to name it. With integration into the Dashboard and it’s own “Blog Stats” page, this plugin shows information like the most visited articles, referrers, external links on which people click and search terms used to find your blog. It has only one drawback: you only get information for the current day and the previous one (“Today” and “Yesterday”).
  3. Ozh’ Better Feed
    Better Feed makes it possible to add copyright information, the amount of comments a post has or any other information you want to the footer of all your blog posts. It’s really useful if most of your readers come from planets or the like.
  4. OpenID
    Everyone loves OpenID, so install this plugin and allow your visitors to comment using it as authentication method. Additionally, this plugin will convert your WordPress installation into an OpenID Provider (and not through delegation to a 3th party provider, but doing all the job itself). OpenID was never that easy!
  5. Subscribe To Comments
    Discussions in form of comments are an important part of many blogs, so making them as easy as possible is important. This great plugin facilitates such discussions by allowing anyone to subscribe to particular posts, so that he is notified by email every time someone else leaves a comments on them.
  6. Optimize DB
    Save up to several megabytes of disk space by installing this plugin and periodically running it (Admin Panel -> Posts -> Optimize DB)
  7. Autocompleter
    Using AJAX, this plugin adds auto-completion to the search box of your blog. It only looks for tags or category names, though, so it isn’t as useful as it could be if it also searched for words in post titles or the like.
  8. This bullet is dedicated to all the great plugins I’ll discover in the future and perhaps even to a plugin you (yes, you!) may write someday.

So, if you didn’t know those plugins go try them now, and if you think I’m missing some great one please tell me about it! What plugins do you use?