There are over 35,000 free plugins on the WordPress plugin repository right now with thousands of premium plugins that can be found across the web. With that many plugins, how does one know which plugin to choose.
11 SIMPLE QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A PLUGIN
- Does the plugin do what you want it to do? Make sure the plugin does exactly what you want it to do. You don’t need all of the bells and whistles, just what you need it to do.
- When was the plugin last updated? If the plugin has not been updated in over two years, there will be a notice at the top of the plugin page. If it has been two years, the plugin is probably no longer supported and might not work with the current version of WordPress.
- Is this plugin still supported? Check to see if any of the support questions have been answered. If they are not on the repository, check to see if their website has a support forum or a way to contact someone for support. If the plugin is no longer supported, it is best to find a more current and supported option.
- What has others said about the plugin? I always check the user feedback of every plugin before I download it. Make sure you read the feedback comments though. Many 1 stars are due to not reading the documentation or not understanding the plugin. However, if there are multiple 1 stars that states the author will not respond, or shuts down a site as soon as it is activated, it probably is not the plugin you want to use.
- Does the plugin have any known vulnerabilities at this time? All code is built by humans and humans do make mistakes. Vulnerabilities are being found in rapid speed in all things WordPress. Most times, when a vulnerability is found, the plugin author makes a patch and pushes out a new version. This is why it is preached to always run the updates as they come out. If a plugin (or theme) has a known vulnerability and has not made a patch, it is advisable to use a different, safer plugin.
- Will it work with my current version of core, theme, other plugins, and my server? In the bottom right of a plugin homepage on the repository will be a box that says if the plugin works with versions of core. Make sure the plugin will work with the version of WordPress you are running on your site. Also, there are times that certain plugins do not work with other plugins or certain themes. There are also some plugins that will not work on a Microsoft server. Check the documentation before you download.
- Do you already have a plugin that does something similar already on your site? There are many multi-function plugins like Jetpack and iThemes Security that have many features built into one plugin. Also if you use two plugins with similar features, they might conflict with each other.
- Is there paid support available? Some have a paid installation option or their one -on-one support comes with a fee. Understand the support terms before you decide if that plugin is for you. If it has no option of support, try to find a comparable plugin that does offer some type of support.
- Is it a free plugin or does it have a free option? Many plugins have a free and a paid version. Sometimes all that is needed is the free version.
- Is the price per year or one time only? Some freemium plugins have a yearly fee while others are one payment and you own it. Make sure you know before you buy.
- Does the price include support? There are some plugins that do not offer support within their fee. Check to make sure you can get answers to your questions if they arise.
Always do your due diligence before choosing a plugin. One of the top three reasons websites get hacked is due to plugin vulnerabilities. Once you have chosen a plugin, always make a backup before installing or updating your plugin. Sometimes a plugin will not play well with another plugin or your theme. If you still can not find the plugin you are looking for, ask around. All else fails, today might be a great time to build your first plugin.
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