How to Test the WordPress Plugin for Reliability?
How to choose reliable WordPress plugin and what are the risks when you do not pay attention to some important details in the testing process?
Where to Look for WordPress Plugins (Free & Premium)?
WordPress plugins are very diverse. You can find a ton of free WordPress plugins most of which are available on WordPress.org. There are also almost as many paid solutions that are usually preferred by the larger sites since premium plugins have additional settings and features. Most of them can be found on such platforms as CodeCanyon or on independent WordPress plugin developers’ sites.
Where do you usually hear about the plugin? You read about it in a WordPress blog (for example, here), get recommendations from friends or WordPress experts, use Google search or go directly to WordPress.org (the largest source of free tools), and then eventually switch to a premium version if you like WordPress plugin.
WordPress plugins with the maximum amount of active installations are presented as:
Below you’ll see the most popular WordPress plugins:
Why It’s Necessary to Be Careful About Which WordPress Plugin to Choose?
You need to know everything about WordPress plugin that you are going to install on your site. Because, no matter how safe it may seem, it can eventually become dangerous if it does not update accordingly. At StylemixThemes, we often feature the best WordPress plugins to help you add the functionality that you need.
Plugins can affect your site in many ways and we’ll cover the most common situations.
Some plugins weigh more than others. If you install many of these plugins, your site may be slow in terms of loading time.
How can you determine if WordPress plugin is slowing down your site? Simply use the Website Speed Checker tool, for example, Pingdom. You need to run the test 2 times: before and after installing the plugin in order to see if the performance of your site has changed and how.
Speed test results:
Your Tools and Themes
Sometimes various plugins are incompatible with a theme or with other plugins running on the site. It depends on how the plugin was coded which can lead to inconsistencies between the two programs. One line of the old, not updated code can seriously damage different elements of your site.
A similar problem occurred when WooCommerce 3.3 reflected many themes. This led to a great disagreement in the community. The anger among the theme developers was clear: they need to fix what’s broken in the code due to WooCommerce. And the WooCommerce plugin was temporarily suspended from WordPress.org.
Security is the most important aspect because the last thing you want is to get a hacked site. It will take a lot of time and effort to restore it and besides you can lose important data forever. We are pleased to offer you an ultimate guide to WordPress security.
What You Need to Know Before Installing WordPress Plugin?
When you are looking for WordPress plugin it’s not enough just to find it, read the description, click the “Download/Buy” button, and you’re done. The selection of the plugin requires preliminary, lengthy and thorough research, even if it is free. I want to emphasize, especially if it’s free.
So, where to find information about WordPress plugin before using it?
User Ratings and Reviews
Do not be surprised if you learn interesting stuff about WordPress plugin from the people who installed it you actually understand that this does not coincide with the developers’ statements. If most of these opinions are negative, this is probably not what you expect from it.
You can find when WordPress plugin was last updated in the compatibility section. If more than one year has passed it is better not to use it. The plugin might simply not work in the latest WordPress versions if the developers have not updated it in such a long time. The vulnerability of the site is also possible due to errors that were not corrected during this period. Hackers use only insecure, obsolete and vulnerable products.
Compatibility with the latest WordPress version is also mentioned in the sidebar of WordPress plugin information, so be sure to take a look at it.
When a free plugin is supported it’s a good sign that the developer is trustworthy and will help you in the event of an incident.
Where to find support? Click on the “Support” tab on the WordPress.org plugin page. There is a page on the forum that lists the customer issues related to the product. The support page is proof of the author’s good attitude towards users. The advantage is the support of the team that answers people’s questions about the free plugin. This means that they take their product seriously and take care of its functionality.
Number of Active Installations
This indicates the number of sites on which the plugin is currently active. When WordPress plugin is active on many sites it shows that it works correctly and safe.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Writing documentation for WordPress plugin requires a lot of work and time from the development team. The list of answers to questions (similar to the user manual) confirms the professionalism of the authors and deserves their trust. Some plugins have a separate tab for frequently asked questions, others list them on the support page, as in the image below.
If the plugin translated into your native language is an important factor in decision making, you can see which languages it is translated on by checking the “Languages” section.
Do the Same for Premium WordPress Plugins
The above tips are based on the free plugins in the official directory but they are applicable to all premium services. For example, the evaluation process remains unchanged for the CodeCanyon resource. Research here should be even more stringent. This time, you pay for the plugin unlike WordPress.org, where you can install the it for free and see for yourself how it works.
When searching for plugins on CodeCanyon, check the latest update, compatibility, user comments and support tab. You should always provide comments and feedback about the purchased plugin. Because such information from each user reveals the real facts and experience with the product.
If you find a WordPress plugin on a third-party website (an online store that sells it independently as well), find out more about its provider on the Internet. Read about the company in other WordPress blogs, check their website and products, read reviews and ratings.
How to Avoid Problems With WordPress Plugins?
Problems with plugins can be avoided, if you are careful. But sometimes, regardless of you, something can go wrong. But that does not mean that you should just let it happen without taking all the precautions. Some preventive actions need to be done periodically spending only a few minutes a week.
- Do not install more plugins than you need. The smaller the number of plugins, the less likely it is that there are vulnerabilities and attacks. If you want to use the SEO plugin do not use three of them for the same purpose unless they perform essentially different functions.
- After you stop using the plugin, uninstall it and remove it. Even in the inactive state, the plugin can be hacked. With every plugin that you keep on your site (whether it is active or not), you leave more opportunities for hackers who want to find convenient entry points. Hacking through a plugin that you do not even use can be very painful.
- Always update the plugins in the admin panel. To avoid any problems, just periodically check the page of your plugins and update them. Once a week is normal. Usually, updates contain fixes for vulnerabilities and security issues that occur in the plugin code. Each time a new version for the plugin is available, the “Installed plugins” page will indicate that an update is available. Just click on it, it will take a few seconds.
Just to find any WordPress plugin is never enough whenever you need one for your site. Even though it takes a lot of time making a research on the quality of the plugin is very important. You want something safe, reliable, that will not harm your site, right? Investing time in searching for information and weighing all the pros and cons of a product will lead to an objective and effective solution. This solution does not help you in the short term but will guarantee the security and support of your site for a longer period of time.