Places to search (free and premium) WordPress plugins
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 usually prefer larger sites, because premium plug-ins have additional settings and functions. Most of them can be found on such venues as CodeCanyon or on independent sites of plug-in developers.
Where do you usually hear about the plugin? You read about this in a WordPress blog,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 the plugin.
Why should you care about which plug-in to choose?
You need to know everything about the 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.
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 plug-ins, your site may be slow to work in terms of download time.
How can you determine if the plug-in slows down your site? Simply use the website speed verification tool, for example Pingdom . You need to run the test 2 times: before and after installing the plug-in. So you can see if the performance of your site has changed and how much.
Your tools and themes
Sometimes some 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 various elements of your site.
A similar problem occurred recently, when WooCommerce 3.3 touched on many topics. 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 disabled 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 the site to work, and besides, you can lose important data forever.
What you need to look at before installing the plugin
When you are looking for a plugin, it’s not enough just to find it, read the description, click the “Load / Buy” button, and you’re done. The choice of the plug-in requires preliminary, lengthy and thorough research, even if it is free. I want to emphasize, especially if it’s free .
So, where to look for information about the plugin before using it?
User ratings and reviews
Do not be surprised if you learn interesting nuances about the plug-in from the people who installed it, you 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.
In the compatibility section, you can see when the plug-in was last updated. If more than one year has passed, it is better not to use it. If the developers have not updated it in such a long time, it means that the plugin may not work in the latest versions of WordPress. 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 version of WordPress is also mentioned in the sidebar of the wordpress plugins information, so be sure to look at it.
When a free plug-in is supported, this is 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 plug-in 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 plug-in. This means that they take their product seriously and take care of its functionality.
Number of active settings
This indicates the number of sites on which the wordpress plugins is currently active. Logically, if the plug-in is active on many sites, then it works correctly and is safe.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Writing documentation for the 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 wordpress plugins translated into your native language is an important factor in decision making, you can see which languages it is translated by checking the “Languages” section.
Do the same for premium plugins
The above tips are based on free plug-ins in the official repository, 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 plug-in unlike WordPress.org, where you can install the plug-in for free and see for yourself how it works.
When searching for plug-ins on CodeCanyon, check the latest update, compatibility, user comments and support tab. You should always give comments and feedback about the purchased wordpress plugins. Because such information from each user reveals the real facts and experience with the product.
If you find a plug-in on a third-party website (it’s also an online store that sells it yourself), find out more about this plug-in provider on the Internet. Read about the company in other WordPress blogs, check their website and products, read comments and feedback.
How to avoid problems with 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 plug-ins than you need. The smaller the number of plug-ins, the less likely it is that there are vulnerabilities and attacks. If you want to use the plug-in for SEO, do not use three of them for the same purpose, unless they perform essentially different functions.
- After you stop using the plugin, unplug it and remove it. Even in the inactive state, the plugin can be hacked. With every plug-in 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 wordpress plugins that you do not even use can be very painful.
- Always update plug-ins in the control panel. To avoid any problems, just periodically check the page of your plug-ins and update them; Once a week this is normal. Usually, updates contain fixes for vulnerabilities and security issues that occur in the wordpress plugins code. Each time a new version for the plug-in is available, the “Installed plug-ins” page will indicate that an update is available. Just click on it, it will take a few seconds.
Whenever you need a plugin for your site, remember that it’s not enough to just find it. Exploring the quality of the wordpress plugins is very important, although it takes more time. 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 protection and support of your site for a longer period of time.