Hunt Your Most Popular Posts with the Best Rifle

The problem

Hunt your most popular posts with the best rifle

When you are a hunter, your dearest goal is to get the most spectacular trophies and display them on your walls for your friends to see them and die of envy.

In order to reach this goal you need the best hunting rifle you can get your hands on.

When you are a blogger, you want to adorn your blog with the most beautiful trophies you have: your best and most popular posts. These are your trophies and also what attracts the visitors attention. In order to do that you need the best plugins. Which is which? Which plugin can do the job better?

In one of my latest posts I presented you a very interesting plugin, especially designed to display your most popular content from your blog: nRelate Most Popular. If you want to see for yourself what this plugin can do, just read the post:



Today I’m gone show you another plugin created for the same kind of job. It is called WordPress Popular Posts. I will explain you what this plugin is and what it does. Then I will show you how to install and configure it and finally I will try to compare the two plugins and find out which one is the best for my needs.

What is WordPress Popular Posts?

This plugin creates a highly customized widget that displays your most popular posts from your blog. You can take this widget and place it anywhere on your sidebar, for example. I am especially interested in this feature because I already have another plugin in action for the single posts.

Important features

WP Popular Posts offer some interesting features;

  • Multi-widget capabilites – you can have many widgets, each with its own settings and in different places of your blog
  • Display thumbnails
  • Multiple sorting possibilities: the list of the most popular posts can be sorted by views, comments or average daily views
  • Custom post-type support
  • Template tags support
  • Time range – last 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days etc.  

How to install and configure the plugin to display your most popular posts

Click on the video below and watch the process.



Plugin comparison

The method

In order to compare the two plugins I used two criteria:

  • How customizable is the plugin from the point of view of the user (not the programmer)
  • How much does the plugin affect the loading time of the blog. 

For the first criterion my attention focused on the possibility to configure the thumbnails, the titles, the text and the indicators (views, comments ).

For the second criterion I used the P3 (Performance Profiler) plugin. If you want to find out what it is and how to use it, read the post below:



Now, Let’s see the results.

The Results

A. Customization

nRelate Most Popular






  • Works with single posts, pages and sidebar
  • Style gallery for your most popular posts layout (very effective when the most popular content box is placed on a single post or page)
  • Time range from 1 hour to 20 years (can be set by hours, days, weeks, months or years)
  • Very powerful when used for single posts or pages.


  • Sorts the posts only by views 
  • Less control on thumbnails size: cannot go under 80; cannot set the width and height separately
  • The title of the popular content box appears inside the box and not as a separate title
  • It shows a maximum of 10 posts.


WordPress Popular Posts







  • Sorts the posts by views, comments, average daily views
  • The post thumbnails are fully customizable: you can set the width and the height to whatever you want
  • Especially designed for the sidebar
  • The title of the popular content box appears outside the box
  • You can choose more than 10 most popular posts to show. 



  • Works mostly as a widget. I think it can be used for single posts and pages but it is more difficult. You will probably need code.
  • The time range is less customizable: only 4 options. 


B. Loading time

p3testIn order to try to find out the answer to this question, I launched 6 tests with the P3 plugin.

All the tests were done during an interval of about 24 hours.

Now, before presenting the results there is one important thing that must be said:



  • Nrelate Most Popular indexes and tracks your posts from outside your blog (from the nRelate servers).
  • WordPress Popular Posts uses a widget and everything takes places on your blog and inside your hosting account.

The results were synthesized in the following table:

 loading time tests


As you can see, nRelate Most Popular does not significantly affect the loading time of the site (1.5 – 3.27 %).

Unfortunately, WordPress Popular Posts significantly affects the loading time of the site (6.4 – 17.9 %).


In terms of customization, layout and visual appearance, the plugins are rather at the same level with nRelate being more powerful on the whole. WordPress Popular Posts seems higher when you want to place your most popular posts on the sidebar while the other plugin is better for single posts and pages.

In terms of loading time, nRelate is far better than WordPress Popular Posts.

Now, taking into account the results, I must say that nRelate gives very good results with the most popular posts content and does not affect the loading time of the blog. Finally, even if WordPress Popular Posts is more customizable on the sidebar, I think I will choose nRelate.

 Did you like the article? What do you use to display your most popular posts from your blog?

Write a comment below and do not forget to share this post on your favorite social networks

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  1. Hi Silviu,

    Thanks for the information about the plugins. There are so many of them out there, it’s people like you that help us to know what is good to use or not waste our time.

    Thanks again, Have a great day. Monna
    Monna Ellithorpe invites you to read… What Is A Comment Redirect or First Time Here Page?My Profile

    • Hello Mrs Ellithorpe,

      Thank you for the comment and for your kind words. Unfortunately, people don’t seem interested in this type of content. Most of them just want to read posts like: 7 blogging mistakes, 9 things to do to reach success fast, Top 10 …, 47 top influencers to follow, 100 methods to make money online etc.

      These are very easy to read materials and usually, you don’t learn anything new from them. However, they like it so much. Their punishment? They will never reach success and they will never make money.

      These are just some of my thoughts. Nothing to do with you or your beautiful site.

      Have a wonderful day

  2. Crazy thorough review my friend!
    I use the more colorful, but premium postskin for my posts, but I think for most people these two options are great. There are so many great plugins on WordPress, that you rarely have to spend a cent.
    That is why I recommend it to all my web design customers too. So easy to change, manipulate and manage.
    great stuff
    Ashley invites you to read… 17 Pinterest Tips for Social Media SuccessMy Profile

    • Hi Ashley,

      Thank you for the comment. Yes, it is rather thorough and detailed. I am aware that some people might consider this post … crazy. However, this is just a part of my idea of quality. You must research as thorough as you can, compare, extract the most important things, evidentiate the advantages and disadvantages etc.

      Frankly, I am horrified to see so many bloggers creating vague and general reviews and all kind of generic posts. Even worse is that most people like these kind of materials. They like it, share it, +1 it, make comments on it and even buy it. Mind blowing for me.

      Because at the end of the day, those wonderful posts, short, sweet and to the point, with magnetic titles, beautiful pictures, bullets and numbering, easy to read etc., left you empty handed. Your problems are not solved.

      I wonder, what’s the use of those beautiful viral posts that talk about how to make money online? When all they do is talk about making money and not actually showing you how to make money, you are left empty handed. You won’t succeed, you won’t make money and you won’t be free.

      But, well, … it doesn’t matter It seems the entertaining factor is more important than problem-solving. Mind blowing!

      Have a wonderful day

  3. Indeed Silviu

    There is a lesson in there for everyone.

    You can have great content, but it won’t bring you everything you deserve.

    The money thing is a big one and I am writing a post on it for Tim’s blog.

    Make money blogging! There is no easy way.

    have a great weekend
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  4. Thanks for the comparison, Silviu :)

    I haven’t heard of WP Popular posts (nRelate is still my #1 option…and you just gave me another reason to stick with nRelate :D).

    Right now, I am only using YARRP (for displaying related posts). Since my blog is brand new, there is no particular use with nRelate widget :D

    Anyways, thank you again for sharing this! Appreciate it :) Have a great weekend!
    Jeevan Jacob John invites you to read… Is Your Blog Special?My Profile

    • Hi Jacob,

      Thank you for the comment. Well, nRelate can show you the most popular posts even when you have only 2-3 posts on your blog. And there is no need for a widget. You can use it on single posts or pages as well.

      Have a wonderful day

  5. Hi Silviu,

    That’s a cool plugin, and I only wish that we could add as many plugins as we want, but they also slow down the loading time of our site, unfortunately. However, I may try it.

    Thanks for the great video tutorial too.
    Sylviane Nuccio invites you to read… How To Blog In The Midst Of Havoc?My Profile

    • Hi Sylviane,

      Thank you for the comment. There is no need for another plugin, if you already have one for your most popular posts.
      Also, nRelate has very little impact on the loading speed of your blog. what are you using to display your most popular posts?

      Have a wonderful day

  6. Hi Silviu

    Wow you have certainly done a very comprehensive post and video tutorial. (I love your accent).

    It is a very cool plugin as Sylviane said and I too may give it a try.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Sue Price invites you to read… Is Mindset or Skillset More Important?My Profile

    • Hi Sue,

      Thank you for the comment and for the email. I will answer to it soon. Well, I can see that you do not display your most popular posts on the sidebar. You only show related posts on each single post and in the form of text.

      I think there are only two important things you must place on a sidebar: your opt in form and your most popular content. The rest is secondary, in my opinion.

      Have a wonderful day

  7. This is a very interesting and thorough article about “popular posts” widgets, Silviu.

    I agree with you that nRelate seems like the better choice primarily because of the speed issue. Slowing down your blog’s responsiveness is not a good payoff for any widget. If people are frustrated with the upload time, they’ll click off before they ever see any of your widgets.

    I’d rather go without the widget altogether, although I think it’s a nice thing to feature most popular posts to increase engagement and page views.
    Donna Merrill invites you to read… The Shocking Truth About FacebookMy Profile

    • Hi Donna,

      Thank you for the comment. For me the things are simple. The only two things that you must place on a sidebar are the opt in form and your most popular content. The rest has little importance and it can even drive away your readers (too many ads, for example).

      Have a wonderful day

  8. Hey Silviu,

    I agree, that’s a darn good thorough evaluation of each of these plugins. At this very moment I don’t have my blog open because I’m trying to get caught up on my commenting so I’m not sure which one I’m using at the moment but I do want to cut down on loading time and will have someone go through my blog in a few weeks to see what can be improved. I think I’ll have him take a look at this post and if some of these works much better then I’ll definitely use it instead.

    I prefer the lists though instead of the thumbnails but as you stated, you can use whatever set up you like. Thank goodness for that.

    Thanks again for testing these out, great job.

    Adrienne invites you to read… Guest Blogging Is NOT Dead Says Matt CuttsMy Profile

    • Hi Adrienne,

      Thank you for the comment. I prefer the text, too. However, as far as I can see, most people prefer more images and less text. We are in the age of image and people like less and less the written text. Horrible, indeed but that’s the way it is.

      Well, I cannot transform my blog into a kind of TV screen but I need to make it a little bit more appealing to the eye so I will use more and more images and videos in the months to follow.

      Have a wonderful week

  9. Silviu,

    I’ve used the WordPress Popular Posts plugin before and I removed it because of the impact that it had on my page load time. I have never tried the nRelate plugin. I have read good things about it before but you’re the first blogger who has made me want to try it. Do you know if using a related post plugin increases the time that a visitor spends on your site? In theory, it does. I’m just wondering if that’s one of the things that you’ve tested.

    As always, thanks for your research! It sure saves me a lot of time.
    Sherryl Perry invites you to read… Did Matt Cutts say that Guest Blogging for Links is Dead?My Profile

    • Hi Sherryl,

      Thank you for the comment. I didn’t test how a related posts plugin affects the time a visitor spends on a site.
      I think this can be done with Google analytics. For the moment, I can offer you my opinion.

      A related posts plugin increases the time a visitor spends on a site/blog. However, I think it depends on the place where your most popular content is displayed. I think the best results appear when you place your most popular content on the sidebar.

      There is at least one internet marketer and influencer who supports this idea: Derek Halpern (Social Triggers).
      Derek said: The most important two things you should have on your side bar are: the opt in form and your most popular content.

      Actually these are the only things you should place on the sidebar.

      Have a wonderful day

  10. Ashvini

    Hi Silviu,

    Thanks for this awesome post. Related content posts are great for our blog. I use “Microkid’s Related Posts” which is a simple plugin. It allows to search the post for content and then add those posts at the bottom of the post. I think it has been working fine for long time. I used to have nRelate ( linkwithin) in my blog but I did not like the fact that there was a link to their site on every post.

    Hope you are having a great time :)
    Ashvini invites you to read… Building your brand on other platforms: Facebook Reach lossMy Profile

    • Hi Ashvini,

      Thank you for the comment. I use nRelate only to display the most popular content on my sidebar. Here I don’t have a link to their site. Also, it seems there is the possibility to avoid the link to their site on each post, too.

      Have a wonderful day

  11. James

    Hi Silviu,

    You have given a thorough analysis on the use of these two plugins; from my personal experience, the use of nRelate pugin is the best. My observations correlated positively with your statement of declaration in the post.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Hi James,

      Thank you for the comment. Sorry for the delay in my answer. Yes, when compared with the other plugin, NRelate was more effective. I don’t know what will will happen when you compare it with other plugins of the same kind. However, you simply cannot waste all your time only to find related content or most popular posts plugins. So I think will stay with nRelate for a long time.

      Thanks for coming by and sharing your observations with us.

      Have a wonderful day
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  12. Hey Silviu….Been a long time since I have been to your blog….Wow….I never really considered having a plug in that would highlite my most popular posts….I had to start over on my blog because I lost the whole thing …but when I have more content on it I will be coming back to this post and make a decision about which of the two I like the best….If I had to choose now I would go with the word press version….only because I like the customize ability ….but I will keep all of it in mind after I get better established again….Thanks Silviu!….Smokey
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    • Hey Gregory,

      Thank you for the comment. Nice of you to come by.
      You say you have lost the content of your blog. How can this be? what happened? Did you save your database? If you save your database, you can recover everything you lost. It is the best method to keep your content secure. I think I wrote a post somewhere about how to do that.

      Have a wonderful day
      Silviu Constantinescu invites you to read… Google Plus Circle Sharing Strategy. Friend or Foe?My Profile

  13. Siviu,
    if someone would tell me that you done this great work to share with all of us how to add plugins in such an easy and clear way.. I would not have believed.. Thanks for the Detailed information and video.

    I got lost many times when choosing plugins, many times I add some and soon after have to remove them since they may conflict with others.. and as I follow your great instructions I added the new one about the most popular blogs and for some reason it would push everything else down.. so I had to take it off :-)

    You helped me a lot for guiding me to chose wisely with out wasting much time.. to bad id did not work this time, but for certain it helped me for the next time around.. now I know better.
    nick catricala invites you to read… Can You Afford NOT to Earn More?My Profile

    • Hello Mr. Nick,

      Thank you for the comment. Nice of you to come here and share your thoughts. This means you are not holding a grudge for that tough comment I wrote on your blog. I can learn a lot about tolerance from you.

      I understand that you tried WordPress Popular Posts but it didn’t work. What happened?

      Nevertheless, that plugin, no matter how customizable it is, substantially increased the loading time of my blog and this was the decisive factor for me. I want more plugins and cannot afford to use one that slows down my site.
      Why don’t you try nRelate, too? Maybe it will work for your site and it will definitely help you showcase your best content on your sidebar.

      Have a wonderful day
      Silviu Constantinescu invites you to read… How to Display Your Most Popular Content From Your BlogMy Profile

      • Silviu,
        holding a grudge means I am ignorant… well, I am ignorant in many things, but once I learn something, then I am not an ignorant any more… and that go for holding a grudge :-)

        You have your opinions, and I have mine. that does not mean you are 100% correct and that does not mean I am 100% correct.. so what is the use to hold a grudge?

        BTW, for your info, yes, I may have some private thoughts about people or what they do or say… BUT I also LEARN a lot from every one and love it.. I learned a lot already from you.. so why cut off the communication if I gain in both ways, good and not so good?

        What happen with Word Press Popular post was something it happen with other plugins before.. I add some and when I place the widget on the side bar.. it bring all the rest down and you cannot see anything unless you scroll way down to the end of the page.. I did not like that, so I disabled again.. Perhaps it may have something to do that I did not updated the latest WP.. and since I do not know how, I just use as I can.

        Thanks for your reply. and do not worry about what you say or write to me.. I always take it and do my best as time comes :-) Call it is tolerance or probably is life experience.. what ever it is that we want to call it.. the end result is that is not worth to cut off communication with someone just because of something that small… it can happen to any one and at any time… PLUS, we are for ever changing and what we may thing to be great or correct 100% today, may be 100% wrong tomorrow.. NO one knows hahah :-)

        Wish you well in every way and please continue doing what you love most.. that was you will be happy always :-)
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  14. Hi Silviu,

    Thanks for the heads up. I’m gonna check this plugin. I’m sorta looking for a most popular post plugin but doesn’t know where to look or get it. Thank you so much for a remarkable plugins review. Makes me aware which is which.

    Have a great weekend my friend.

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    • Hi Angela,

      Thank you for the comment. Yes, it is a good idea to showcase your most popular content on your sidebar. WordPress Popular posts seems more customizable but it significantly slows down my blog. This was the decisive factor and the reason why I chose nRelate. I need more plugins and I simply cannot afford a plugin that affects the loading time too much.

      Have a wonderful day
      Silviu Constantinescu invites you to read… Google Plus Circle Sharing Strategy. Friend or Foe?My Profile

  15. Jeff

    Hi Silviu! Interesting post you got here. I used nRelate and WordPress Popular Posts. But I ditched nRelate due to some problems with the theme settings. Well never thought that wordpress popular posts is the slower one (since it is popular). The problem is my other sites have a built in “related post” function and I don’t know if that is slower or faster than nRelate. But I’ll try to consult this with my hosting and do further experiments. Currently I’m using Jetpack to determine popular post and other analytics.

    • Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for the comment. Nice to see you here again. Well, I changed my theme and it has a Popular post widget incorporated. If the widget works well, I think there would be no need to use nRelate again. I am in exactly the same situation I need to compare the two pieces of software and decide which is best.

      Have a wonderful day