I'm sure everyone has their favorites. Here's what I always install on everything. Although the type of essential plugin is more important than the actual plugin since there are so many good ones. I always make sure I have something to make sure editing is easy, spam is prevented, and the site is fast, and SEO
This is what I usually use to fill those categories.
Advanced TinyMCE and all plugins that enhance it that I might need. Wangguard Akismet - or something similiar. Super Cache Wordpress SEO by Yoast
I will be interesting to see what others feel is essential.
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