Choosing the right WordPress plugins

Posted on

WordPress-Blue-Image

The lovely thing about WordPress is the amount of plugins and themes that are available to extend your website. There are tens of thousands of plugins available from wordpress.org and this excludes plugins available all around the net.

Some plugins are developed very well, using WordPress best practices. On the other hand there is also some very badly written plugins, that can easily bring down your website or even open it to malicious attack.

 

Before selecting and installing a plugin:

 

Backup your website

Always backup your site before attempting to install a plugin regardless of where it comes from, its great reviews. A good backup procedure is critical to every aspect of WordPress. So if something go’s wrong you can easily roll back your site to a before the plugin was installed.

 

When to install

Don’t try and install your plugin at peak site user usage. If your site goes down try and limit your downtime, or errors for people trying to surf to your site. Traditionally Mondays is the worst day to try and install a plugin and Sunday the best.

 

FTP Server Access

Sometimes a plugin can completely take down a website, and the only way is to delete the plugin from the WordPress install. This generally can only be done via a file browser. Warning: Don’t try this is you do not have good website experience.

 

How you should choose a plugin:

 

Referrals and reviews

Asking someone you trust in the industry about Plugins they may suggest for your website. Maybe they have experience with a certain plugin before installing. Why go through the headaches.

Reviews are another way of gauging a plugin. For me it is the amount of people that have left a review on a plugin. A plugin with 2000 reviews with a start rating of 4, for me is better than a 5 star rating from 10 reviews.

 

Checking the plugin stats

  • How many active installs of the plugin, I generally only choose plugins with 10,000 plus installs.
  • Is the plugin updated regularly, check the last updated date. Try and make sure it is not older than a year.
  • Is the plugin compatible with your version of WordPress.

 

Support

Check the support pages for the plugin. Try not looking at all the questions but check if they are being answered. This shows an active interest from the develop teamr.

 

Screenshots

I like screen shots for a plugin. I generally choose plugins that have detailed screen shots it gives me an indication of the quality of the plugin development.

 

Research

Try and compare similar plugins to the one you are interested in. Search Engines area great tools and there are many articles of users who have tried various different plugins and wrote up about their results.

“Compare WordPress security Plugins”

“What is the best WordPress Form Plugin”

 

Testing

Try the plugin on a more non-essential WordPress install and see if there are any issues. Learn any issues or tweaks on a site that is not essential to your business.

 

What if I follow all the best practices and something goes wrong? Don’t panic if you have a backup or FTP access it is very easy to roll back to a previous state of the website. Any developer would be able to help if you get stuck very quickly.

 

The most important things I have found in working with WordPress is to always have a recent backup and to do extensive research before installing any plugin.

Founder and Lead Developer at Anomalous. Technical support at WPZA, WPZA specialists in WordPress Maintenance .

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *