To Choose Or Not To Choose: The Right Way to Pick WordPress Plugins

WordPress is one of the most powerful website platforms. The best thing about WordPress is that you can widen its functionality with any possible plugin and turn your website into anything you want whether that is a community website, ecommerce store, portfolio showcase site, membership site, online magazine the list is as endless as your imagination.

how to choose wordpress pluginsIf you visit WordPress.org you will see that the number of extensions is absolutely incredible more than 20,000 and we know the wider the range is the harder the choice becomes. Still when picking the plugin you must not grab the first you come across, you need to consider multiple options

That’s why when picking any plugin for any possible functionality you need to pay attention to several important parameters that form trustworthiness rate of the extension. When relying on the plugin you can expose your site to an increasingly wide variety of risks. That’s why let’s discuss the problem with plugins and things you should consider before installing one.

What the plugin does is only part of the story. A good plugin will give you leverage, and won’t leave you stranded when its author abandons the development.

Here is a Guideline on How to Choose WordPress Plugins:

First and the most important you need to check how often the plugin is updated.

The ones produces years ago may not work in the latest versions of WordPress simply because they are not optimized for it. When using the administrative web interface for plugins press “Plugins >> Add new” and WordPress will tell you how many days passed since the plugin was last updated.

how to choose wordpress plugins

Can you find other works of this author?

Generally this may not be of the primary importance, still it will be good to know if you can trust the author of the plugin. Freelance developers have more time for a single project while full time devs have more time for bug fixes and updates. Check the plugin home page to get some insight on the plugin author. If the plugin home page wasn’t updated in a year or two why would you still be there? If the plugin home page has been recently updated, and has attracted a lot of comments, that’s a pretty good sign.

Is the plugin critical for your design?

Be careful in trusting critical elements of your design to components outside the WordPress core. This can be very painful when the plugin is does exactly what you want.

How highly is the plugin rated, and how many people rated it?

how to choose wordpress plugins

Ratings run from one to five stars. Typically, a 5 star plugin has exactly one rating. The average rating for common, useful plugins is about 3.5 stars, and that’s about right. More information on ratings can be found on the WordPress plugin web page.

Has the plugin been tested against your current release of WordPress.

It’s usually not too difficult to test a plugin against any release of WordPress, and if a plugin is months out of date against the latest version of WordPress, be careful when choosing the one.

Is the plugin listed at WordPress.org?

how to choose wordpress plugins

Most plugins available for WordPress platform can be found at WordPress.org and honestly speaking that is the best place to get an extension.

Compare different “Top Plugin” lists.

Do your research for plugins to find other articles listing top plugins. Print out several of these articles and compare the lists to find the plugins everyone agrees are best. Use those.

What is dummy installation.

how to choose wordpress plugins

For this purpose you can make use of dummy installation. Here is a detailed instruction on how to install WP plugin locally on your PC. Dummy installation allows to explore the functionality troubleshoot some issues. Each WP website is unique and has different requirements. A plugin may not work well with your website’s theme, your cache plugin, mobile plugins, and conflict with other plugins or your web hosting environment. When you face certain problems you can always find the solution on the plugin forums. If you found some issue that is not listed on the forums there is a possibility you came across the bug and you can notify the plugin author about this issue.

Your Contribution/Donation.

how to choose wordpress plugins

Plugin authors are people like us with jobs and responsibilities of their own. They take precious time out of their busy lives to write down this piece of code that solves a problem and provides a solution to thousands of WordPress users around the world. Their contribution makes WordPress easier for many people.

Some More Reasons in Favor of WordPress.org

  • The wordpress.org plugins are hosted in a public plugin directory. There is very low risk of installing malware plugins. Additionally all plugins are checked before being added to the directory, that reduces the risk of getting headaches from the extension.
  • The second reason is that being hosted at wordpress.org gets the plugin listed in the “Add New” page. So anyone writing a plugin hosted at wordpress.org gets included in search term results. This makes it easy to find plugins, wordpress.org does some of your promotion for you.
  • Updating plugins hosted at wordpress.org is easy, the process is largely automated with most of what little required work is necessary being done by the plugin developer. All you have to do is check for updates through the administrative interface, and update as necessary.
  • All the plugins hosted on wordpress.org are General Public License, so you are free modify them, learn from them, and use them as you will. Use an existing plugin to make a new plugin. Then post your new plugins on wordpress.org and watch your website traffic go up!

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That all may sound too simple and expected. Unfortunately it’s not so straightforward as the more plugins you have installed on your website the more chance there is that there could be a conflict. Keep the number of plugins to a minimum, delete the ones you aren’t using and upgrade as often as it is possible and you won’t go far wrong.

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