Things You Must Know About WordPress Plugins
There is no doubt that WordPress is the best content management system (CMS) for building a website.
Millions of websites are relying on it to deliver their content.
However, with lots of merits, unfortunately, WordPress plugins have unsavoury side effects, if you are not careful.
But not to worry, just consider below tips to make your website secure and perfect.
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WordPress is powerful, easy to implement, highly flexible and has thousands of plugins which take WordPress site way beyond standard design and functionality.
It’s really easy to start a WordPress website with a minimum budget.
And in this post, I will cover the most important thing you must know about WordPress plugins.
1. Keeps Your Plugins Updated
Keeping your plugins updated is very important to make your website safe and secure, it provides better functionality and saves your site from malware and virus attacks.
Out-of-date plugins are the prime target for the hackers since it has holes and easy to attack.
Apart from updating them, make sure that your plugins itself are updated.
It is strongly recommended to remove all of them which have not been updated for an extended period of time (from the past 1 year).
2. Quality Of Plugins
There is a very popular phrase “Quality is always better than quantity” on the same line of thinking, you should be very selective while installing a plugin for your WordPress website.
Plugins won’t only add extra features to your site, but also responsible for the behaviour of your entire website.
Poorly coded plugins can crash or slow down your website. They may look very tempting while installing but gives you err feelings after installing and may leave the footprint behind, that will be difficult to remove or delete.
So you must check a few keys such as:
- Average ratings
- Number of downloads
- Developer team
- Developer support
You should also decide whether the plugins you are installing is really needed for your website.
3. Premium Doesn’t Mean It Is Best
Along with free, there are numbers of plugins which are premium but it doesn’t mean they are best.
It’s a psychological factor that people thinks that premium things are better than the free ones.
The fact is, there are plenty of premium plugins readily available on WordPress which are full of craps that may look great but the reality is totally different.
However, well-coded premium plugins are the best.
If you install the premium ones, which have been developed by reputed developers you will enjoy the functionality.
So don’t just google and go with whatever it shows up, check the developer details and reviews before installing it.
4. Number Of Plugins Installed
Does it really matter?
Not at all.
Plugins are simply extra code which provides extra functionality and features to your website.
Therefore, the number of plugins you have installed necessarily not a big issue. However, it depends on how well coded they are.
It would be far better to install five light-weighted plugins than bloated, resource-intensive, and vulnerable ones.
However, sometimes having more plugins on your website may conflict with each other and hamper your website performance.
This is an issue that plugins developer faces continuously. Hence they keep updating it. So that it will work smoothly with your WordPress website.
I advise before installing any plugins, first check the reviews, compatibility, and developer team details of the respected plugins.
5. Deactivate Them If Not In Use
It will be great if you deactivate your back-end plugins, if it is not in use.
Each and every plugin put some strain on your website and responsible for your website performance.
So, there is no point to put unnecessary strain on your website by keeping the plugins activated if it is not needed.
6. Keep Updating Your Deactivated Plugins Or Get Rid Of It
Yes, this is true, even the deactivated/ inactive plugins can cause a severe security threat to your WordPress website if you left it out of date.
So, it will be great, if you keep them up to date and the same advice goes to the themes you have installed.
I would also suggest you remove/uninstall all the plugins which are not active on your site and you have no intention of using it in the future.
Don’t just keep your website stranded with inactive plugins. Keep your website clean and tidy for better performance.
7. Outdated Plugins Can Put Your Site In Maintenance Mode
If you have installed a plugin created way back suppose in the year 2005, make sure that it still works with the current version of WordPress.
A plugin which is not compatible with the current version of WordPress can cause an internal server error for your website.
8. Plugins Can Contain Malicious Code
WordPress.org’s team review each and every plugin before making it live on their website for users. So, it’s very rare that you will find the malicious plugin on WordPress.org.
But it can be dangerous if you install the plugin from the independent sites. So before downloading any plugin make sure to check the developer’s profile and reviews of the plugin you are going to install.
5 Key Things To Consider When Installing Free WordPress Plugins
I understand when you are just starting a new blog or if you are on a tight budget you don’t want to spend more money on plugins and want to get a free plugin for your website.
You can install it anytime, there are thousands of free plugin available on WordPress. However, not all of them can be trusted.
A lousy plugin can damage your website in different ways. It can slow down your website or hampers user interface. In fact, sometimes it can cause a security risk allowing hackers to hack your website.
Keeping that in mind, I have mentioned 5 key points you should consider while installing free plugins to bypass those threats.
1. Check the average rating of the free plugin.
The is the best way to examine any plugin. If the average rating of a plugin is above 4.1 then you are good to go.
The user gives a rating to plugins based on their experience. If they like the plugin they give 5 stars and if the plugin is not good or affecting the website negatively they give 1 star.
So always look for the average rating of any plugin before installing it.
2. User reviews and active installations
Not only rating, but you should also consider looking into the user’s review. Reading a handful of reviews of the plugin gives you an overall idea about it.
While reading each review, check for common issues. If you find so many negative comments then refuse to install that particular plugin.
Coming to the active installations, the higher a plugin’s number of active installation, the more it is trusted by the website owner. Consider the plugin with at least 2000 active installations.
However, new plugin have comparatively less installation, after all, they have to start from somewhere, in that case, check the developer’s profile and install it wisely.
3. Compatibility and updates
We have already discussed it earlier but again you should be very attentive. Because when a plugin is not regularly updated, it’s less likely to be secure.
With every update of WordPress, the plugins should ideally be updated with the compatibility of the latest version of WordPress.
Luckily, the WordPress plugin repository shows the last update and compatibility of the plugin with the latest version of WordPress.
Under changelog tab, you can even check what updates are made by the developer. If it’s not compatible with the latest version of WP it may crash your entire website.
So, I strongly advise you to pay close attention to compatibility and updates of free plugins.
4. Sometimes free plugin slow down your website
WordPress plugin may slow down your website if they are poorly coded.
To check, if the plugin is slowing down your website, go to Pingdom and test the speed of your webpage pre and after installation of the plugin.
For example, in the above screenshot, you can see that a plugin has added extra time to load the webpage.
If the plugin adds a significant amount of time to your site’s speed, then avoid that particular plugin or try finding a better plugin.
5. What to do when a plugin doesn’t work
If a plugin starts giving an error, then the first thing you will do is to find the conflict of the plugin with another plugin or theme.
To do so, deactivate all the plugins and switch to default WordPress theme. Then start activating all the plugin one by one and check which one is conflicting. If all the plugin works smoothly then its a theme which is getting conflict with the newly installed plugin.
Once you find the culprit then open a support threat from WordPress directory under the support tab of the plugin and ask the developer to help you out.
Be noted: Free plugin comes with no warranty and the author doesn’t require to answer all the question.
Hope this article was useful to you and I have no doubt that you have some excellent advice, so please do not hesitate to share with me in the comment section below.
You might want to see our article on 5 recommended Affiliate marketing plugins.