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5 Best Popular Posts Plugins for WordPress

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5 Best Popular Posts Plugins for WordPress

While browsing the web, you’ve probably come across sites that have popular articles section. That’s because every site owner wants to show off their most popular content. Not to mention, it can help you get more pageviews. Recently, one of our users asked us to help them find a good plugin to display popular posts. In this article, we will show you the 5 best popular posts plugins for WordPress.

List25 showing popular posts

1. WordPress Popular Posts

WordPress Popular Posts is probably the most popular of all popular posts plugins. It has been downloaded 715,951 times (at the time of writing this article). It comes with a popular posts widget which you can add at different widget-ready areas of your site.

This widget comes loaded with the options to customize the display of your popular posts. You can choose time range, post types, categories, authors, etc. You can also choose to display post thumbnail and choose the thumbnail size.

WordPress Popular Posts Widget

You can also show most popular posts on your site by day, week, month, or all time using WordPress popular posts.

To view the stats of your popular posts, you need visit the plugins settings page located under Settings » WordPress Popular Posts. There you will also find help under the FAQ tab and advanced options under the tools.

WordPress Popular Posts Stats

Pros: WordPress popular posts is a powerful plugin with all the options that you would need to display your popular posts. Support for custom post types and the ability to add the widget multiple times allows you create different set of popular views, e.g. Popular Posts, Popular Reviews, etc.

Cons: The plugin creates two extra tables in the database to store popular posts data and cache. While some people might argue that it is a better approach to keep this data out of default WordPress tables, other may find it database intensive. The default generated list lacks styling, so you will have to add custom styling.

2. Top 10 – Popular posts plugin for WordPress

Top 10 popular posts plugin for WordPress is another strong candidate in our list of the best popular posts plugins. As far as the features are concerned it matches WordPress Popular Posts and even adds some more features. Top 10 also comes with a highly configurable widget that you can add to your sidebar and feature your best posts.

Top 10 Popular Posts Plugin for WordPress Widget

Despite the name, the plugin actually allows you to display any number of popular posts. You can select a date range to choose from. You can show post views, author, excerpt and post thumbnails.

Unlike WordPress Popular Posts which allows you to choose a post type from the widget settings, the top 10 does not have that feature in the widget settings. You can choose a post type by visiting the plugin’s settings page located under Top 10 » Top 10 Settings.

On the plugin’s settings page, you will find many other options to configure the plugin. The settings page is divided into four sections for global options, output options, and custom css. You can choose categories, default thumbnail size, exclude content, etc.

top 10 settings page

Pros: Top 10 Popular Posts Plugin is one of the easiest and quickest way to display popular posts on your site. It has aggressive caching to put the load of your server.

Cons: The ability to select a custom post type in the widget would make it possible for users to create different sets of popular content on their website.

3. nrelate Most Popular

nrelate Most Popular is a WordPress plugin that indexes and displays your most popular posts using nrelate’s servers. Most other WordPress popular posts plugins use your server resources to store and display popular posts data. This could slow down your site. nrelate Most Popular stores and displays your popular posts data from their servers.

nrelate Most Popular thumbnail with post title

It is also one of the most feature rich option to display popular posts on your WordPress sites. It supports thumbnails, excerpts, time ranges, custom post types, etc.

You can also filter out content that you don’t want to display in popular posts. Once you have setup the plugin, you will have to give it at least two hours to index your site and start displaying popular posts.

nrelate settings page

nrelate most popular also comes with several templates to choose from. Unlike other plugins which only offer widgets, template tags, and shortcodes, nrelate Most Popular can automatically show your popular posts on single posts, homepage, and even archives.

Pros: Built in templates, multiple layout choices, and optimal resource usage make nrelate Most Popular a great choice for users on shared hosting.

Cons: Using nrelate Most Popular, you are sharing information about your most popular content with a third party service.

4. Popularity Posts Widget

Popularity Posts Widget is a simpler popular posts plugin. Unlike the first two plugins in our list, Popularity Posts Widget does not come with a dedicated settings page. It has fewer options and a powerful widget. Simply drag and drop the widget and configure the settings.

Popularity posts widget

You can select the number of popular posts you want to display, select time range, show post views and comments count, etc. Popularity Posts Widget comes with a category filter, which allows you to filter out posts from specific categories. You can also show post thumbnails and choose a size for them.

Popularity posts widget settings

Pros: Popularity Posts Widget is a simpler plugin to display popular posts, it comes with less options which can be a good thing for many users who don’t want to spend too much time configuring a plugin and just want to quickly display a simple list of their popular content.

Cons: Lack of features which may be a good thing for some users, others might find it inconvenient. For example there is no way to choose post types and plugin may even end up showing post attachments as popular posts. You cannot configure whether to display thumbnail before or after the post title.

5. Popular Widget

As the name suggests, Popular Widget provides a widget to display your most popular content. However, the name doesn’t do justice to this awesome plugin.

It not only displays your most popular posts, it can also display most commented, recent posts, recent comments, and tags in a nifty tabber. This powerful widget allows you to do almost everything that other popular posts plugins do. The widget’s settings are divided into different section. You can configure each one of them to meet your needs.

Popular widget settings

This powerful widget allows you to choose whether you would like to display most popular posts by views or by visits. You can also filter out categories and custom taxonomies. It also supports custom post types and post thumbnails. The default CSS handles the display quite adequately.

Popular widget with two tabs

Pros: A simpler powerful way to display popular posts with recent content in a jQuery powered tabber. Comes with default CSS. Overall it works quite nicely.

Cons: The tabs break down to the next row when they reach the width of the container, but the plugin provides you a way to limit the tabs you display in the widget. In most sidebars 2-3 tabs would fit in a single row.

We hope this article helped you pick the perfect WordPress popular posts plugin for your site.

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Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Rita says:

    Wow.. thanks for the reviews. I was looking to pick the best one.


  2. Ashish Mahar says:

    It’s so long you have published this blog post. Can you make a new or update?

  3. Patrik Žec says:

    Hello, How to show popular posts in page itself? :-)

  4. Pan Z says:

    Unfortunately nrelate Most Popular plugin is no longer available ;-(

  5. Nevis1 says:

    Sadly GoDaddy “Blacklisted” the first choice, WordPress Popular Posts a couple of months ago. Now however it is back, v3.21 or higher I believe, but I think the plugin has lost some of its value.

    Thanks GoDaddy, and your slowwww shared servers.

    See this link for more details from the author.

  6. JD says:

    I was using WordPes Popular Posts but is no longer allowed by WordPress System :(

  7. efe peter says:

    Great post the popularity post plugin has help my website page rank

  8. JON Gergeceff says:

    Great information, thx

  9. Abiodun Akintola Lawrence says:

    I love them all, but the one I am using on my site is the Popularity Post Plugin

  10. avgjoegeek says:

    Outbrain and Link Within are two more popular ones. I’ve found that plugins take too big a hit and slow down sites on shared hosts.

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