Jetpack by WordPress: plugin & feature review

Jetpack by WordPress: plugin & feature review

Product Name: Jetpack by WordPress
Product Owner: Automattic (the folks behind WordPress)
Advertised Price: Free
Upsells: None
What I like: It’s one plugin that adds a ton of useful features
What I dislike: Some of the features don’t work well while others are resource-intensive
Recommended: Yes, because installing one plugin is easier than installing 20 different ones

What is Jetpack by WordPress?

Jetpack by WordPress is a plugin by the folks behind WordPress itself, Automattic. It brings over 33 features from to self-hosted WordPress sites.

Who is it for?

People who own a WordPress site that is not at  It could be a site that you own, on hosting of your choice, or WordPress sites from a service like Wealthy Affiliate (caveat: WA & other services have issues with plugins that are resource hogs, and some of the Jetpack’s features are; use it at your discretion).

How do you get it?

You can download it at or – much easier – install it from WordPress itself, like I show you here:

Connecting to is needed to finish the installation and activate the features, several of which require
After clicking Connect to you’ll  see the window below (left).  If you already have a account, login.  If not click the Need an account link and create your free account (see below right).  There’s an option to sign up for a blog but it’s not necessary.

jetpack-menuOnce the login or signup to is completed, you’ll be returned to your dashboard and see a new Jetpack option near the top of the left admin menu.  Click on Settings to get started.

Is it any good?

The short answer: Yes, it’s good.  There are a lot of useful features that you get in one plugin.
The long answer: Not all of the features are useful to everybody and some of them just don’t work that well.  The ones that reach out to might put a load on your siteThere’s no reason to use all the features but there are a few that I really really like.  Keep reading for my recommendations.

The feature by feature rundown

jetpack features to turn off
Jetpack comes with a number of features turned on – the ones checked here are the ones I deactivate immediately. Check these, select ‘Deactivate’ in the dropdown at the top and click ‘Apply’.

With 33 features (as of this writing) I won’t be going into deep detail.  I’m just going to give a recommendation on whether they’re useful or not. If you want more details on all of the features, go here.
Note: a bunch of features are turned on automatically – check my screenshot to the right for all the features I recommend turning off immediately.

  • Beautiful Math: [highlight]Useless[/highlight], unless you need to post mathematical equations
  • Carousel: Useful, makes the built-in WordPress galleries gorgeous full-screen experiences
  • Contact Form: Useful, a super easy & customizable contact form; can make multiple forms too
  • Custom CSS: Useful, if you know CSS but if you turn it off you lose all your edits
  • Custom Content Types: Semi-useful, if you need an easy way to make a Portfolio section
  • Enhanced Distribution: Semi-useful, if it shares your content like it claims
  • Extra Sidebar Widgets: [highlight]Super useful[/highlight], the easiest way to get your Twitter stream & a Facebook Like box onto your site, also lets you add images & galleries in widgets
  • Google+ Profile: Semi-useful, to show your Google Plus link with content; I prefer not to have it with every post
  • Gravatar Hovercards: [highlight]Useless[/highlight], no one cares about these except the folks behind WordPress
  • Infinite Scroll: Semi-useful, if you have a lot of blogs and want people to keep reading
  • JSON API: Semi-useful, if you need it (if you don’t know what it is – you don’t need it)
  • Jetpack Comments: Useful, lets people comment by using their social media accounts; it’s easier to comment with than Disqus
  • Jetpack Single Sign On: [highlight]Useless[/highlight], let’s you login to a site with your account; that also means if your account gets hacked, all of your connected sites will be vulnerable
  • This picture has nothing to do with WordPress, I just needed to break up the text.
    This picture has nothing to do with WordPress, I just needed to break up the text.

    Likes: [highlight]Useless[/highlight], the only place people look for & use this is on
  • Markdown: Semi-useful, if you use it (ignore it if you don’t know what it is)
  • Mobile Theme: [highlight]Useless[/highlight], most good themes are responsive now and adapt to mobile devices
  • Monitor: Semi-useful, let’s you know if your site is offline but you’ll get a lot of emails (I don’t use it)
  • Notifications: Semi-useful, let’s you know about activity on your site but it also shows activity from every site you have it turned on for (too much noise for me)
  • Omnisearch: [highlight]Super useful[/highlight], the easiest & best way to search for things on your site (meant for site owners, not visitors)
  • Photon: [highlight]Useless[/highlight], it’s supposed to help your site by loading images from their servers but I’ve found that it does not work with many themes
  • Post by Email: [highlight]Useless[/highlight], don’t know about you but my goal is to spend less time in email
  • Publicize: Useful, let’s you automatically post to most social networks when you publish a post
  • Related Posts: Semi-useful, if your theme doesn’t offer related posts and you want them
  • Sharing: Useful, the easiest way to add social sharing buttons on your site (I prefer Shareaholic because it includes a floating share bar and Related Posts)
  • Shortcode Embeds: Useful, if you need to embed something that is not automatically embedded by WordPress already (like Soundcloud, for example)
  • Site Verification: Semi-useful, to verify your site with search engines (a better option is to use WordPress SEO by Yoast)
  • Another picture to break up the text
    Another picture to break up the text

    Spelling and Grammar: [highlight]Useless[/highlight], works but interferes with too many other things
  • Subscriptions: Semi-useful, if used for comments (don’t use it to let people follow your site, you should try to get people to sign up to a mailing list instead)
  • Tiled Galleries: Semi-useful, if you like the way it looks
  • VideoPress: Semi-useful, if you use VideoPress (I use YouTube or Vimeo instead)
  • Shortlinks: [highlight]Useless[/highlight], Twitter, Hootsuite, etc will shrink links automatically and lets you track clicks & stats
  • Widget Visibility: [highlight]Super-useful[/highlight], let’s you pick which pages a widget can/can’t appear on
  • Stats: Semi-useful, the easiest way to get stats (Google Analytics is more comprehensive and a better choice for businesses)

There you have it – my review of Jetpack by WordPress

It’s an easy way to add a lot of useful features to a self-hosted WordPress website.  While there are more features that are utterly useless than super useful, the rest of the features depend on YOUR needs.
What would you rather do – install one plugin or install 30?  It’s easier to flip the features on & off than it is to install and manage 30 more plugins.

Do you use Jetpack by WordPress?  What do you think about it?

Photo credit 1 2 & license

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