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5 Important Considerations Before Installing a WordPress Plugin – WordPress is a very popular website platform, with plugins making WordPress even stronger and allowing us to create multi-purpose sites. With the help of plugins we can easily modify and add almost any functionality to WordPress.
However, not all plugins are created equal. While some plugins can extend the features of your site, others may actually stop your site from functioning. There are cases of plugins that can plant a gaping hole for serious security on your website.
There are currently over 37,000 plugins hosted on the official WordPress plugin repository. Choosing the best plugins is not an easy job. Nonetheless, there are some important considerations you can take before deciding whether or not to install a particular WordPress plugin.
Here are some considerations that you should look into before you install a plugin on your WordPress site:
1. What are the Features of the Plugin?
This is the most important thing to consider because we are looking for plugins based on the features provided. However, although two plugins can serve the same purpose, in terms of usability, it may be different for each individual plugin.
I will usually compare two or more plugins that do the same thing then see if they are sufficient for my needs. Look for plugins that have sufficient features for your site’s needs.
There are some plugins that have too many features but you only need a plugin to do simple things, so you don’t need to select them. That’s because lots of unused features will be redundant and usually the plugin file is too heavy. But if one plugin has many features and you need almost all of them, then it is better to install one plugin instead of several plugins for several needs.
2. Is It Updated And Compatible With The Latest WordPress?
WordPress is updated every few months with new features. In the official WordPress plugins repository, you will find information on when a plugin was last updated, and its compatibility with the WordPress version was updated. You also have to consider the version of WordPress you are using.
One good thing is that WordPress usually warns us if plugins haven’t been updated in two years. This is an indicator that the developer may have abandoned the plugin, so the plugin may not see another update in the future, and it is best if you have this warning, you shouldn’t force to use the plugin.
3. User Ratings and Reviews?
For this third consideration it is also important but not necessarily believed. An Rating doesn’t tell everything about the quality of a WordPress plugin. And honestly the WordPress rating system isn’t that clear. A plugin with a lower rating does not necessarily indicate that it is bad.
Keep in mind that plugins are getting updated, and previous ratings may not properly reflect the quality of plugins. The Support WordPress Reviews are very useful. There, you can find other users telling about their experiences with the plugin. You can also see when a review is posted as well as the star rating they have given. This is a more accurate measurement for deciding to install or leave a plugin.
Additionally you may want to do some research on who is using the plugin. WordPress has a diverse user base from small independent sites to large corporate sites like 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 trusted.
4. Who is the developer?
A WordPress plugin relies on a dedicated developer to maintain and fix bugs. Usually, if a plugin is supported by some developer, company, or if the developer has some kind of financial support by offering premium features, the plugin is likely to be constantly updated. And also all problems can be resolved as soon as possible in a relatively short time.
However, if plugins are handled by only one developer, speaking from experience, plugins when having problems with wordpress updates will not be updated immediately and will also be left without any solutions.
5. Is the Design Attractive?
This may not be that important for some people, but for me the personal plugin interface design will play an important role in a person’s decision to try a plugin. Generally plugins will add a new Settings page in the WordPress dashboard. However, some plugins create their own version of the display on the Settings page. Sometimes the appearance doesn’t match the WordPress elements.
I personally want each plugin’s Settings page to match the WordPress style, or at least look similar overall. You can see a comparison between the Settings page of the BPS Security plugin and iThemes Security Plugin. For me, iThemes security Settings page is neater. The menu is well organized, reasonable and logical.
Those are some important considerations that you must consider before installing a WordPress plugin, and the last suggestion, always install the plugin from your dashboard page to avoid the file getting infected by a virus because you have downloaded and saved it on your computer. May be useful. 🙂