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7 Tips for Using WordPress Plugins

Take a moment to imagine the world of WordPress without plugins! Your site couldn’t run without them the way you’d want it to. WordPress is a great CMS because of the excellent features that come with its wide variety of plugins. WordPress is great on its own, but plugins make life even easier. With more than 25,000 WordPress plugins available on WordPress.org alone, there are plenty of options to find a plugin you’ll love.

However, just as there are advantages to using plugins, there are also some things that WordPress users must be aware of. How do you stay safe and secured on WordPress CMS platform? We will be looking at seven things you should know as a user of word press plugins.

Keep Your Plugins Updated

The security and functionality of your blog solely depend on updating your plugins on a regular basis. Outdated plugins are vulnerable to attacks from hackers. You should always ensure that all plugins in your WordPress are up to date. You should also occasionally check to see if a new version of the plugins has been released by developers.

A rule of thumb to keep your website safe is removing plugins that have not been updated for more than one year. These kinds of plugins will put your website at risk of attacks.

Limit Deactivated Plugins in Your Website

Having plugins that are not serving any function may be detrimental. Hackers may exploit them as a means of gaining access to your website. It is  advisable to delete any plugin that is not currently in use. Don’t keep plugins that are not active because you want to use them in the future. Delete these to free up your WordPress resources.

A lot of hackers exploit loopholes to attack many sites. You can limit your exposure that unused and inactive plugins may pose. Stay safe by keeping only the plugins that are useful to your WordPress website.

Get Your Plugins From Trusted Sources

Many WordPress users open up their websites to vulnerabilities by downloading premium themes and plugins from questionable sources. If you want to use premium plugins, buy it from reliable sources only. If you want to cut corners by getting it free from file sharing sites, you may open up your websites to attackers and hackers.

Some sites may have installed malicious codes into their free plugins. When you install and activate it on your WordPress site, you may unknowingly have infected yourself with it.

Buy premium plugins or look for free ones on WordPress.org. You can be sure that you aren’t getting an installation that was made by a hacker this way.

Fewer is Better

Worry about quality of plugins over quantity. Fewer plugins is always better. Each plugin uses more bandwitdh on a web server. You should install quality plugins that have specific purposes for your website.

You must ask yourself if you really need it. If you do not have a definite need for it, don’t bother downloading it. Don’t weigh your WordPress site down with a lot of unnecessary plugins. This will just slow your site down with each useless plugin you install.

Avoid Conflicting or Duplicate Plugins

When you install a large number of plugins, there is a tendency to find a few that are conflicting. Avoiding plugin conflict is one reason you should always aim to use only a few useful plugins on your website.

It is true there are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available to you, but that does not give mean you have to install everyone one suggested to you. You have to decide what features you absolutely need. Depending on how you want your site to look and perform determines which plugins will work best for you.

People will always suggest new ones, but don’t rush out and grab every plugin that comes your way. You can always download them as the need arises. If you are a beginner, it is advisable to keep a minimal list of plugins that are essential to keep your site running smooth and the ones that make maintenance easy.

Premium Versus Free

One question that baffles many WordPress users is whether to use a free or premium plugin. From my experience, “premium” doesn’t always mean “best”. In fact, there are many free plugins that have excellent and more available features than their premium counterparts.

The common misconception is if a plugin is expensive, it must be great. This is not always the case. With thousands of plugins rolled out  every day, there are many junk plugins out there.

Just because you pay for a plugin does not imply there may not be a free alternative that is even better.

It is true that people’s perception of value is always influenced by cost.  But don’t forget, there are thousands of unscrupulous premium plugin developers around the globe. Placing a price tag does not imply you are getting quality. There free plugins out there that are developed by seasoned developers.

Free doesn’t always mean “cheap”. Before paying for a premium plugin, at least try to make an informed decision.

Install only Quality Plugins

The first question a beginner user would have is how to identify a quality plugin among thousands? There are a few factors to consider:

The number of downloads: A plugin with a large number of downloads is more trusted than a plugin with few. A plugin with good compatibility on WordPress will attract more users. The number of downloads is a good indicator as to whether a plugin is worth having or not.

Average rating: Check the average rating from previous users to decide whether a plugin is worth installing or not.

Reviews: WordPress users often review plugins, for better or worse. Search online to see other users’ past experiences with it. Many bloggers take it upon themselves to write an accurate review to benefits beginners.

The developer: Only go with developers that are well-established. Established developers have already proven themselves over new ones.

Evidence of active support: Is the plugin receiving active customer support? If there is none, you have to tread carefully about installing it. If it works now, will it continue to work in the future? There is no way to guarantee that a plugin will continue to work if they aren’t providing active support.

With these few tips, you are well informed about the basics of WordPress plugins. You only need to put these to use need. The security of your WordPress website is important. Only install trusted plugins from reputable developers. Using these tips will help your WordPress site become the best it can be!

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Author: Marcel Sobieski

I elaborate and manage IT products, startups, and groups. Drafting the product and business development, planning and executing. I’m able to simplify complex issues to benefit from everyone's contribution.