This is my current “base” set of plug-ins
A firewall for wordpress. Also adds 2factor auth and attack monitoring.
This is quite literally the first thing I install on a new wordpress installation.
Manage post meta info that search engines see. Yoast hasn’t broken during an update yet and I manage 30+ wordpress sites.
A fast cache plug-in from the folks that make wordpress. (Automattic)
I’ve tried a few others and I’ve experience issues during major version upgrades. This one hasn’t failed me yet.
If your not using the REST api, lower your attack surface by disabling it.
Best backup plug-in, hands down. Does have ads for it’s premium version.
This is an all-in-one package that solves a lot of problems with wordpress.
IMHO, the best feature is their analytics, which doesn’t require creating or sharing data with google.
It isn’t a lite deal. You’ll find plenty of folks who rip on it.
Adds many useful “blocks” which aren’t included by wordpress normally.
Note that it requires PHP > 7.2
Is very useful for debugging issues sending mail with wordpress.
Keeps a log of every message sent.
One more thing
A little advice for choosing a theme or plug-in;
Look at the changelog and support forum on wordpress.org
If no recent updates or developer feed back have been provided; don’t use it. It’s a dead plug-in and will likely be a future update or security issue on your site.