WordPress is a very popular website platform and its plugins creators and developers have been contributing for more than a decade. Just like other CMSes, WordPress even the most powerful one for bloggers thanks so many free and premium plugins. Making it easier for you to create a multi-purpose site along with quality features. There are many types of websites you can create using WordPress.
WordPress plugins allow you to completely modify your blog and add almost any function easily. However, there are plugins which still need development. Indeed, they have been approved and published by the official WordPress team. But your blog may finally get a technical issue if you don’t carefully review any plugin when it comes you need a particular plugin.
Some plugins may extend your blog by adding features some others may actually stop your blog from functioning. There are cases like a plugin can implant a gaping hole for a serious security issue on your WordPress blog or online store.
Recently, there are more than 50,000 plugin hosts you can find at the official WordPress plugins repository. It’s quite a lot and makes it possible for you to get almost every feature you need for your WP blog. But as WordPress plugins keep growing, the more you then need caution in choosing one. Choosing the best plugin for a certain blog feature isn’t as easy as installing and using it. So, every WordPress user should know the 5 important considerations before installing any kind of WordPress plugin.
The following are the 5 important considerations you should think before you decide to install any plugin for your WordPress site.
1. Find Out to Know the Features of the Plugin
This is the most important consideration before you decide to get a plugin. Because you are looking for a plugin based on a certain feature you need. But although two different plugins can serve the same purpose, each of them may be completely different to the other one in terms of security and usability.
I would normally compare five to ten plugins which serve the same purpose. And then considering whether or not the features provided are adequately for my blog needs. Look for a plugin that provides enough features for a particular site’s extension.
2. The Plugin Updates Frequency and Its Compatibility
WordPress updates are very frequent within a year. In the official WordPress plugins repository, you can see the update information of a plugin you are looking for. Every plugin update will recast its script to be compatible with the latest WordPress version. So, before updating the plugin, you should also consider updating your WordPress first. Because a plugin update may not compatible with the recent WordPress version you are using.
There you will also get to know whether or not a plugin has been outdated. Read as many users reviews as you can. One good thing is that WordPress usually warns WordPress users in case a plugin has not been updated for two years. This is could be an indicator that plugin developer might have left the plugin or switched to develop another CMS extension. Therefore, such outdated plugin will very likely not be updated in the future. If you really love the features it offers, you should be patient and keep looking back to find out if any update in the future. And to avoid any potential security and inconvenience for your visitors or customers, you shouldn’t insist to install a plugin that got such warning.
3. User Ratings and Reviews
This consideration is about getting to know the plugin quality based on others experience in using it. Lots of users’ ratings and reviews on a plugin imply its quality. A single assessment doesn’t tell you about the real quality of the plugin at all. And honestly, WordPress rating system is not so clear.
Plugins with lower ratings don’t necessarily indicate the plugin is poor. So, if you really interested in a plugin without any review on it, you then try it yourself on your trial WordPress site. Get a local server application (XAMPP or WAMPServer), install WAMPServer, install WordPress (download the latest version), and there you can download and install the plugin to try the plugin quality and compatibility. You may also give a rating and review in accordance to your experience about what you get when testing the plugin. Giving a rating and clear review can help the developer know how to help you improving the plugin.
Take into account that you should never use your active blog or site to try a plugin you have never used before. If you do so and in fact, the plugin isn’t compatible at all, would be troublesome. But when you have no other way to try and insist to try on your active online WordPress site, it’s would be troublesome if you don’t back up your WordPress site earlier.
Keep also in mind that when a plugin gets an update, previous ratings and reviews may not reflect the current quality of the plugin. So, therefore, you need to compare the reviews and rating release date to the latest update release date. You can find other users on a WordPress plugin’s reviews and rating section telling about their experience in using the plugin. Reading others ratings and reviews is a more accurate way to get to know whether or not you need the plugin.
In addition, you may want to do research on anyone who uses the plugin. WordPress has a wide variety of user domains from small independent sites to large corporate sites such as the New York Times and TechCrunch. If you find a large site using a particular plugin, it may indicate that the plugin is good and reliable.
4. Who’s the Developer?
A WordPress plugin relies on the dedication of its developer in improving and fixing bugs. Typically, if a plugin is developed and supported by multiple developers or the developers has some sort of financial supports by selling its premium features, the plugin updates would likely to be continued. And all problems can also be solved as soon as possible in a relatively short time.
However, if the plugin is developed by a single developer only and in fact you got some issues with a WordPress update, it will not be updated quickly and could also be left it alone without any solution.
5. The Design of the Plugin on its Front-End
In addition to giving your blog or site at least a feature, a plugin may also make some changes to the database, script, and the look of your WordPress site. This may not be so important for some people. But for me personally, the interface of the plugin’s front-end design will play an important role for me to have a reason why I should use the plugin. Generally, a plugin will add a new settings menu and pages on the WordPress dashboard. However, for some plugins that create their own interface style on the Settings menu pages sometimes incompatible with WordPress elements.
I personally strongly prefer plugins with their dashboard menu and pages to match the WordPress’ dashboard style overall. You can see a comparison between the BPS Security plug-in settings page and the iThemes Security Plugin. For me, the iThemes Security Settings page is neater. The menu is well organized, reasonable and logical.
That’s all the 5 important considerations you should firstly think before installing WordPress plugins. And finally but not the least, always install plugins from your dashboard page to avoid any virus be found out due to the vulnerability of the source storage you never know. Whenever it’s possible for you, backup your WordPress site prior to installing or updating a plugin.