If you have experience in WordPress you know that there are thousands of add-on options for functionality in the form of WordPress Plugins that can be purchased, custom developed or downloaded for free.
When choosing Plugins to extend functionality, I carefully research and then test the Plugin to make sure it works the way it’s intended.
I’m always cautious with the following:
. The credibility of the Developer who built the Plugin
Security. Is the Plugin actively supported and updated?
Conflicts . How well will the Plugin work with the build and code on the website? There can be conflicts that will cause your website to break. This is a big one, when a website breaks this is the first place I look.
The developer who codes a plugin has a lot of opportunity. If their Plugin becomes a ‘staple’ in the WordPress environment they can do quite well. There are general guidelines for being a Plugin developer and having your plugin available to the world-wide WordPress community.
However, when you download this Plugin onto your Server and into your website you’re taking a risk. If you have found a Plugin that is going to do this neat new feature that you want on your website, first check out the credibility of the developer. Do a search for that particular plugin and it’s reviews. Take a look at the star ratings and also how many times the Plugin has been downloaded and how many other Plugins the developer has worked on.
Many of the security issues can come through Plugins that aren’t 100% secure and updated. Before you download any Plugin make sure that it has recently been updated. If the Plugins aren’t kept up to date with new WordPress core and versions that can spell TROUBLE and more.
Here is an example of a Plugin that I was researching for a clients website. It looks really useful, however I note that it hasn’t been updated in 9 months. This can cause problems so I’m not using it.
Here is another Plugin that I’ve used on a clients website and have experience with. This was updated 2 weeks ago. That’s acceptable and I know it works well. Generally if a Plugin has not been updated within the last few months I won’t use it.
Occasionally I have used a Plugin for one specific purpose and a few of these plugins are not recent. Sometimes a developer will make a useful tool as a one-time version and not do any more with it for whatever reason. Since I have the experience with this I can use the tool for what I need and then I make sure afterward to completely remove it from the Server to ensure security.
It’s not always clear which plugin is the culprit. To test conflicts with Plugins first start deactivating them. Sometimes this will solve the problem, often though even if you’ve deactivated the problem plugin you’ll still have an error. The best bet and what works for me is to FTP directly into the Plugin folder on the Server, and delete all off the Plugin files from the Server.
With so many different lines of code ‘interacting’ together there can be a conflict. When you upload Plugins sometimes you will get a notice that the Plugin does not work with “a list of other Plugins”, and if you have one of those other Plugins installed you’ll get the notice to deactivate. This is always helpful because then you know what the problem is. However, there are times when there can be a conflict and you don’t know why. This is why it’s a good idea to keep with the same ‘recipe’ on your website builds. Stick with the tried and true. Venture out cautiously. When working with a new Plugin do your research so that you know if there are any know issues.
For those working in WordPress you understand the level of functionality that can be achieved; really the sky is the limit, as to what you can do. However, when making decisions on Plugins, choose carefully!