What is a Plugin?
A plugin refers to a piece of software that contains groups of functions that can be added to the WordPress website. These further extend functionality or help in adding new and unique features to the WordPress websites. The WordPress Plugins are written in PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. In the WordPress community, there is a saying that works around: “there is a plugin for that”. They make it easier for the users to add features to their websites without knowing anything of the code.
WordPress plugins slow down your site, is a very big myth. But, it is not true. Only the bad ones tend to slow down your site.
Have a look at the things that you need to look for at the time of choosing WordPress Plugins
The extensive WordPress developer community has a wide range of WordPress plugins that are available for download.
A second-rate plugin will surely damage your website in a number of ways. This can infect the WordPress user experience by muddling the interface and compromise the user experience by slowing down your website. But, significantly, there are some plugins that may create security risks, providing hackers with the backdoor. Keep in mind the following things that you must take care;
Choosing Free WordPress Plugins by Average Ratings
The first and most obvious thing that needs to be done at the time of choosing free WordPress Plugins is to study the plugin by identifying the average user ratings. These ratings are clearly revealed on every page of the plugin within the WordPress Plugin Source. The users can rate the plugin between one and five stars. It is always recommended to stay away from the plugins that don’t create an average of at least four stars. Any plugin lower than that can yield a dangerous result.
The user reviews give the ratings using stars to the much needed context. Of course, there will be many varied reviews, thus, it is suggested to read a handful of most recent highest and lowest review ratings to get a taste of the plugin. At the time of reading the reviews, observe the common grumbles, as they will reveal the weak areas of plugins.
As a thumb rule, the higher the number of plugins of the active installations, the more it is trusted by the community. If a plugin is installed on a large number of WordPress websites, it is likely to do a fair job. Because of there being safety in numbers, it is not recommended to choose free WordPress plugins with less than 1000 active installations.
Updates and Compatibility
When the plugins are not updated on a regular basis by the developer, the security tends to reduce. Furthermore, it is important for the plugins to be updated ideally with the WordPress major updates in order to ensure compatibility. The reliability and consistency of the updates is a better way to measure the plugin developer’s level of active involvement.
When was the WordPress plugin last updated?
It is possible that the plugin will no further improve the plugin and in the long term and it might not work anymore. If you find that a plugin has not been updated over a year, you may assume that it is not maintained.
Support and documentation
Each and every plugin of WordPress has a support tab. If you are able to spot regular activity within these forums; it is a good sign that the developer is working actively in order to solve the issues that the users are facing. For the issues that cannot be solved in the WordPress.org support system, the developers need to handle the plugins externally. Furthermore, you may also check and go through the kind of documentation that the developer has offered.
Which version of WordPress does the plugin support?
If a WordPress plugin is not updated for a longer time period, it is obvious that it will be outdated and might stop working as there would be many latest versions of WordPress. Thus, it needs to be kept in mind that it is very important to update the WordPress plugins on a regular basis.
By choosing a poorly coded plugin can land you up in many consequences. Almost 22% of WordPress websites are hacked because of security issues in the plugins. One way to easily guard against the security issues is to find out when was the plugin last updated. Always choose the plugins that are updated frequently, with the latest operating version of WordPress.
The third-party plugins are a major part of what makes WordPress an excellent CMS, but, this doesn’t mean that you can trust every plugin on the market. Revealing your website to badly built plugins can damage and affect the speed, security and common usability.