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At the moment there are around 30,000 plugins available for WordPress (28,000 on WordPress.org alone) and we cannot deny that one of the reasons this platform is such a success is the customization offered by these add-ons. The problem is that most people do not understand plugins correctly and make mistakes without even realizing it.
When you use bad plugins, too many plugins or you make the wrong choices, you can end up with some side effects. In the following paragraphs we will try to go through the most important things that you have to understand about using plugins in WordPress. If you follow the advice below, you can avoid most of the problems that the average users end up dealing with.
1. You Need To Update Plugins
The main reason why you want to update the plugins as soon as an update is available is that this increases security. The plugins that are out of date are basically targeted by hackers since lack of security in these add-ons can bring in the possibility of gaining access to your site. Also some of the plugins will not work properly anymore when you update WordPress.
Besides updating plugins when you see that an update is available, you need to also periodically check and see if plugins are constantly updated. It is a very smart idea to remove that add-on that was not updated for a really long period of time. Anything over one year is unacceptable.
2. Delete Plugins You Do Not Use
It is easy to install a plugin and easy to completely remove one. If you must absolutely keep one plugin that is currently deactivated, you should at least be sure that it is updated. The deactivated plugins can still be exploited by hackers if they are vulnerable. Keep in mind that this is also true for WordPress Themes so be careful with those too.
The best thing that you can do is completely delete the plugin that is not active and that you do not want to use. This keeps everything clean, the plugins list is shorter and maintenance is also easier.
3. Popular Plugins Are Popular For A Reason
There are many plugins that keep being recommended by professionals. Perception System has a list of 50 Essential eCommerce Plugins and many other tops can be found. There is definitely a reason for that. Some plugins are better than others and when add-ons are popular, they are popular for a reason. With this in mind, try to learn all that you can about a WordPress plugin before you use it. The more people recommend it, the bigger the chance that there is nothing wrong with it! Reviews are extremely helpful when choosing plugins.
Whenever you want to install a plugin, you should consider the following aspects:
- User reviews
- Download numbers
- Rating on WordPress.org
- The authority of the developer
- How active support is
4. Backend Plugins Should Be Deactivated When Not Used
There is this misconception that a plugin does not use site resources when it is not in use. Such a belief is false. Most of the plugins you will use will use site resources. When you use many, it all adds up. You can have top of the line bare metal servers from Single Hop or similar strong hosting providers and still end up with a pretty slow site due to an overload in the number of plugins utilized.
Consider using the P3 Plugin. It will scan all the other plugins and tell you how intensive they are in using resources. Use that in order to decide what should be activated, deactivated, removed or replaced. You want to have your site as fast as possible.
5. Premium Plugins Are Not Necessarily The Best Ones
People tend to think that what is more expensive is better. That is rarely the case with everything, including WordPress plugins. You should be aware of the fact that there are so many great plugins that are free and that are better than premium plugins that are just marketed better. When you receive money for a product, you can put a part of that into promotion. Premium plugins are always better promoted while free ones cannot cope with that as they are usually funded through donations.
It is true that in most cases the premium option is the best one but this is not ALWAYS so. That is what has to be remembered. Before you make the payment, make sure that you learn all that you can about the developer. This helps you make the correct choice.
You should never forget the five points mentioned above. They will always be true with WordPress plugins. Remember that you basically install something that will be part of your site so you cannot just add anything and just keep adding and removing. You have to be patient and do everything after researching all that you can about what you will install. You wouldn’t replace your tires unless you are sure that the new ones are better than the old ones, right? The same principal applies.
If you believe that this article lacks something that is important, let everyone know in the comment section below. Share your thoughts and experiences. You surely have some great advice that you can share with us and everyone reading!