14 Best ADMIN DASHBOARD WordPress Plugins 2018 (UPDATED)

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When you’re trying to make a WordPress site perfect, you’re focused on enhancing the user experience. Like most admins, you probably ignore the appeal of the admin dashboard. That’s not the right thing to do, since you’re ignoring not only the looks of the dashboard, but its effectiveness as well.

Note: if you’re new to WP, check out beginners guide to WP dashboard.

So let’s go through the best Dashboard WordPress plugins you can experiment with. We’ll suggest 14 of them.

Ultra WordPress Admin Theme

dashboard plugin - ULTRA WP ADMIN

This one is all about style. You can use Ultra WordPress Admin Theme to play with unlimited color options in the admin area. It comes with White Label Branding features, as well as with 30 in built themes. You can also create your own theme with this plugin, and control the appearance of the Dashboard.

The White Label Branding features, which are now part of this plugin, enable you to customize the admin top bar, footer, login section, and look and feel to your branding needs.

Rocket Dashboard WordPress Plugin

When you want to give your WordPress dashboard a makeover, the Rocket Dashboard plugin is something you shouldn’t miss. This plugin is pretty straightforward and can help you update colors and icons on your dashboard in a jiffy. The installation was easy – didn’t need rocket science to work. You just need to activate and Voila! You are good to go.

The concept of the Rocket Dashboard boils down to creating a visually-enticing color scheme for your dashboard. This contrasting combination leaves your WordPress work window as the only dark element on white. This further creates an emphasis on the area that needs the most of your attention – your workspace.

Other elements such as the admin bar and the left navigation pane use contrasting light-on-dark schemes. With this, the plugin generates a prominent yet discreet visual separation between them. Thus, the dashboard improves your user experience by providing you with a less cluttered work area, enhancing productivity, and helping you focus on your tasks.

This plugin completed the dashboard makeover by using Fontello to create a vector-based font and icons that support Retina (HDPI) displays. Rocket Dashboard also works seamlessly with other third-party plugins, so you can always mix and match plugins to give your WordPress dashboard the best makeover it can get.

When using the same color, the vector-based icons look cleaner. Using the CSS, you can always change the fonts and icon colors and sizes to your liking. The author of this plugin offers lifetime support with your purchase.


SmartEnd is among the most comprehensive dashboard plugins you can use when building websites. This plugin is a unique control panel built with Laravel – a robust framework which enables users to edit the open source code easily. With Laravel, you’ll get tips and comments along the way, so you get back on track.

This plugin includes a Frontend site preview and the Restful API, so you get the gist of what’s happening as you build your website and create the necessary changes – straight from your dashboard or the interactive preview. Installation includes uploading a project folder on your control panel, then editing a few details on your MySQL database.

The SmartEnd dashboard houses the latest updates and analytics for your website, including essential sections, page counts, visitor reports, and more – so you can focus on the important metrics. From the dashboard, you should be able to see and control settings for your website, tastefully organized in their dedicated sections all in one location including:

  • Contacts, inbox, and calendar
  • Ad banners
  • Pages and Sections
  • General Settings: Website Info for metadata and SEO; Contacts; Style Settings including site identity and layout; Social Media links and logins; and Website Status
  • Site Menus
  • User Apps and Permissions
  • Translations

With SmartEnd, you can really work smart on your websites right from the dashboard and work your way with the responsive preview. You can edit as you go, add media, optimize your websites, and generate an automatic sitemap. This plugin is definitely worth every cent. It is just, well, SMART!

Ultimate Dashboard

Take full control over your WordPress Dashboard. Ultimate Dashboard is available for free from the WordPress repository and lets you remove the default dashboard widgets and replace them with a set of useful quick links. This is especially useful if you’re building websites for clients to give the WordPress dashboard a more meaningful use.
The PRO version of Ultimate Dashboard lets you remove 3rd party widgets, create text widgets and add tooltips to your icon widgets. Furthermore, you can rebrand the wp-admin area to match your or your clients brand.
The multisite settings in Ultimate Dashboard PRO makes it a perfect fit for your SaaS project.
Download Ultimate Dashboard for free or check out the Pro version at https://ultimatedashboard.io.

Check out: Best Paypal Plugins for WordPress Website

WP Dashboard Notes

WordPress Dashboard Notes Plugin

If you’re creating a website for clients or you have an entire team working on a website, you’ll find this plugin really useful. It allows you to leave cool-looking notes and instructions for persons with access to the Dashboard. You can create public or private notes, list notes or regular notes, and colored notes.


Minimalism is a concept that all WordPress admins should stick to. Less is more is not just a saying; it’s a principle that makes your work simpler and more effective. Adminimize is a plugin that works in accordance with that principle. It will make the Dashboard more sophisticated and functional.

You can clean up the admin area, which is especially useful if other people can access it. There are many things that would confuse them, as well as such they don’t need to use or see. With this plugin, you can make the experience better for them. You can easily create views based on a user’s role.

Admin Menu Editor

With this plugin, you can manually edit the Dashboard menu however you like. You can customize the design of the menu, change the names of menu items, add custom menu items, move an item to a different submenu, change menu permissions, and much more. The simple drag-and-drop interface makes the plugin feel like home.

If you go for the Pro version, you’ll be able to set per-role menu permissions. You can decide on the menus a specific user can see, drag items between menu levels, and more.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WPGA dashboard for WordPress

Google Analytics, so why not making them part of your WordPress Dashboard? With this plugin, you’ll access data directly from the admin area. It’s a free plugin that’s really easy to install. It will give you real-time stats, so you can compare the site’s performance in different periods. It’s definitely one of the most popular dashboard WordPress plugins, since of course it’s GA 😉

The reports include real-time number of visitors, real-time traffic sources details, and real-time acquisition channels. The features of the plugin also include analytics reports, basic traffic, event tracking, custom dimensions, and more.

Admin Columns

This plugin is all about organization. It will help you make the Dashboard more appealing, but more functional at the same time. You can use it to manage and organize columns in the posts, comments, users, and media lists in the admin panel.

If other people have access to the Dashboard, you can make the interface more attractive for them. The Pro version supports filtering, sorting, and inline editing. It also enables integration with many third-party plugins, as well as direct email support.

Admin Bar Button

This plugin will replace the WordPress admin bar on the front end with a simple button. Once you hover over the button or click it, you’ll instantly see the admin bar. This is a simple feature that doesn’t boost the effectiveness of the Dashboard to a crazy level, but it does turn it into a more focused environment.

Client Dash

This plugin helps you reorganize your admin area in a way that works for you. If you’re designing the site for clients, they will appreciate the results you achieve with Client Dash. It boosts their user experience. You can arrange the menu perfectly through a drag-and-drop function. You can customize them completely by changing the icons, label, and link.

Dashboard Commander

This plugin puts you in full control of your admin Dashboard. You can use it to manage built-in and dynamically registered widgets. Depending on user allowances, you can hide the widgets they don’t need. It’s really easy to use all customization options.

Remove Dashboard Access

remove dashboard access plugin for WordPress

In certain situations, you no longer want to allow a user to access the Dashboard. With this plugin, you can easily do that. You can limit Dashboard access to admins only, but you can also allow it to admins + editors, or admins + authors + editors. If you want to limit specific capability, you can do that, too.

Check out “how to” video:

User Role Editor

This is one of the simplest, but most important plugins you could use. It allows you to change user role capabilities (except the ones of the Administrator) in a matter of clicks. If there are multiple authors for your site, the User Role Editor will help you specify their roles. If, for example, you want to allow a user to add media files, you can do that by checking a box. In addition to adding new capabilities, you can also remove the unnecessary ones, which may have remained from uninstalled plugins.

The fact that User Role Editor has 400,000+ active installations and an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars speaks enough of its effectiveness.

Check out how to edit basic roles in WP dashboard on WPbeginner tutorial.

Download Monitor

If your website provides digital downloads, you could use more data. With this simple plugin, you’ll be able to see the download activity right from the Dashboard. It gives you an interface for uploading downloadable files, as well as managing them. The features include support for multiple versions of downloadable files, logging downloads, and inserting download links into posts.

You can use it to add, edit, and remove downloadable files from the WordPress interface, treating your downloads just like posts.

Admin Color Schemes

This is all about making your admin area prettier. It’s not just about style, though. Using the right colors can help you focus while doing your work. If you’re creating a client’s site, in particular, the bright colors will enhance their experience in the admin area.

White Label CMS

As a webmaster, your main goal is to give your clients a simple and non-confusing content management system. This plugin allows you to do that. With the White Label CMS, you can customize the admin panel menu in a way that works for the client. You can either choose one of the available presets or customize it however you want to.

You can also use this plugin to add custom logos to the header and footer. With that, you’ll provide the branded experience your client is after.

Enhance Your Experience with the Right Dashboard WordPress Plugins

Although it’s not necessary to customize your Dashboard, it’s certainly the right thing to do when you want to make it more effective for you and the other users. You don’t have to use all plugins you come across to; that would only complicate things. Pick the right tools for your needs and see how they work.

Author Bio: Brenda Savoie is a content marketer at BestEssays, private English tutor, and desperate dreamer. Writing her first romance novel. Seeking contentment through mindfulness. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.                                                                                          

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