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Top 20 WordPress Development Plugins


Everybody needs tools to help with a job. You can’t put up a shelf without the aid of a screwdriver, using ‘no more nails’ doesn’t count!  The same can be said of WordPress development.  If you are developing a WordPress theme or plugin there are some excellent plugins available to help you do the job better. Furthermore, here is a roundup of more than 20 development tools that can speed up the process for you.

I would only recommend that you use these plugins on development environments and not on a production server.  Some tools are very similar so I have grouped them into several categories so you don’t need to install them all. As always make sure you backup your WordPress installation and database.

Quick Start Plugins

Whether you are a theme or plugin developer the developer plugin advises and quickly enables you to install several plugins at the same time.

Database Tools

If you need a database manager and don’t want to go through the hassle of accessing server-side tools such as PHPMyAdmin then ARI Adminer can be installed and accessed through the WordPress dashboard. Alternatively, lightweight Better Search Replace can help you search and replace text throughout your database.

ARI Adminer – WordPress Database Manager

Better Search Replace

Theme Related Tools

Whether creating, testing or submitting a theme to the WP Directory the following plugins will optimise and speed up your workflow.

Theme Test Drive

Theme Check

Child Theme Configurator

Child Theme Generator

WordPress Bootscraper


Debug bar and its extensions have been the grandfather of WordPress debugging tools for many years.  There are a few alternatives, however, that do similar jobs.

Debug Bar

Admin Bar Tools

Debug This

Simple Debug Info Panel

DT's Debugger

Query Monitor

Database Debugging Tools for Developers

WP PHP Console

Simply Show Hooks

Information and Logs

Catching and finding all the errors can be cumbersome as is finding out server info. The following tools relieve the stress of manually hunting through the logs or gathering information from the server.


WP Log Viewer

Plugin Inspector

Core Control


Test, test, test!  Whether you are testing your theme or plugin with the latest version of WordPress or you need to reset your WordPress installation then look no further.

WordPress Beta Tester

Duplicator – WordPress Migration Plugin

Monster Widget

Advanced WordPress Reset

Transients Manager

Frameworks and API’s

Some people use WordPress for entirely different reasons.  Whether it’s a back-end to a web app or you want to hook on to the rest API the following plugins will have you covered.



WordPress REST API (Version 2)



In conclusion, I think you can agree that there are plenty of relevant tools on offer to speed up your workflow. However, if you think I have missed your favourite out then please feel free to comment.


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