WordPress Plugins are an enormous reason for the success of WordPress. Plugins allow anyone to add nearly any function to any WordPress powered website with a series of clicks – no coding knowledge required. You can add anything from social networking to ecommerce to email capture to SEO options to really anything you can dream up.
As a bonus for website owners the world over – thousands of plugins are free to use and available in the community supported WordPress.org repository.
That said – plugins can also present problems. Since anyone can create a plugin…they can suffer from bad quality control (to say the least). And even if a free plugin is well-supported, it might not be up to the standard that your site needs.
Although the WordPress community has a habit of destroying the idea that “you get what you pay for” – plugin code quality is usually directly related to the resources that the author has to invest in the plugin.
Enter premium plugins – aka, WordPress plugins that you pay for directly before use. “Premium” does not necessarily equal “good” but it does make the relationship more direct. If you have a critical website function, premium plugins are certainly worth a look.
Here’s a roundup of the most stable & reputable providers of premium WordPress plugins based on my experience and following of the WordPress community.
Aside – before looking at the list, please remember that WordPress is GPL licensed software and any software that is dependent on WordPress must follow the license as well. It gets complicated, but just be sure to always check that your plugin is licensed correctly to follow the GPL license.