The best thing about using WordPress is that you can make it more powerful thanks to the almost infinite plugins. The total number of available plugins has grown throughout the years. At this moment and at this minute, there are more than 58, 000 free WP plugins available in the official directory. A WordPress plugin can be described as a fragment of code that, as the name suggests, “plugs in” to the self-hosted website. What it does, essentially, is to extend the features and the functionality of the site. Customizations range from search engine optimization to content displaying features (ex. the addition of widgets and navigation bars). To put it simply, plugins can offer you anything you’re looking for. If you’re managing a WP site, you know a thing or two about plugins.
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WordPress plugins offer several advantages to website administrators, such as saving a lot of development time, enhancing flexibility, and ensuring reliability (they’re created and managed by reputable companies that release regular updates to fix bugs and improve security). Imagine the following situation: you need to translate your site into other languages. If you have an online casino operating in multiple countries, such as Colombia, you need to take your content across borders and cultures. In this respect, you can use a free WordPress plugin for Colombians. The installation process isn’t that hard. In case you’ve forgotten, with great power comes great responsibility. That being said, there are some things to keep in mind when using WP plugins. Please continue reading to find out more.
- Only install WordPress plugins from reputable sources
A free WordPress theme is like the Trojan horse, in the sense that it’s offered under the guise of friendship, when, in reality, it’s intended to destroy you. Some plugins, not all, contain viruses, malware, and other digital threats that could possibly destroy your site. It goes without saying that you should never install WP plugins from unknown sources. If you want to use a plugin from an unknown source, double-check the developer and make sure they’re legitimate. Tempting as it may be to download a free version. It’s not worth the risk.
Just to be clear, not all free plugins are bad. You just have to be cautious and don’t trust any source blindly. After having downloaded the WordPress plugin for free, you can use it as you like. It’s yours to use and amend. If you need help, a step by step guide to installing a WordPress plugin is provided for each one. Now, if you can’t find a free plugin to do the job, you’ve got no choice but to invest in a premium solution. As your site grows, you’ll undoubtedly want to add more features and enable support. If you don’t have any programming skills whatsoever, support is of the essence.
- Update your plugins on a regular basis
It’s necessary to update WP plugins regularly because developers constantly introduce new features. Auto-updates for WordPress have been released not that long ago. Basically, site owners can have the new versions of plugins automatically installed, so they don’t have to lift a finger. You should always make time to update your plugins. It’s the best thing you can do in terms of security. Developers release updates not only to fix bugs but also to close security loopholes. In case you didn’t know, weak plugins are the main target for malicious actors. Hackers target WordPress because of its popularity. If they come across any vulnerability in the plugin, they won’t hesitate to exploit it.
- Delete unused plugins
The point of having a plugin installed is to use it. However, experts are recommending new plugins each day and every week. If you have more than 20 plugins, it’s a good idea to delete the ones you’re not currently using. It will stop you from having new functionality. More exactly, you won’t be able to update the site because of the outdated plugins. Deactivate backend plugins when they’re not in use. If you want to take things one step further, you can delete them all. All you have to do is to click on Select All > Delete. Deactivated plugins can still make your website vulnerable.
- Report any plugin security issues
WordPress security vulnerabilities come mostly from plugins. In spite of the fact that they vary greatly, plugins can create security problems that can culminate in data loss, which doesn’t come as a surprise given that they collect personal information. There has always been talk about prohibiting plugins, but we can agree with the fact that this would mean taking things too far. Anyway, if you happen to discover an issue with any of your plugins, make sure to report it. Don’t complain about it on your social media accounts. This rarely solves the problem.
The best thing you can do is to send an email to [email protected]. Provide a clear description of the issue, include a link to the plugin in question, and disclose whether or not you’ve overcome the security issue yourself. Ideally, you should reach out to the developer. In case their contact information isn’t publicly available. You can check the plugin’s source code. This might help you discover relevant information.
To sum up, WordPress plugins are virtually indispensable, no matter what you’re planning on doing. As you’ve been able to see, there are right and wrong ways of using them. Sometimes, it’s hard, if not impossible to find a plugin that perfectly meets your needs and expectations. You have to collaborate with a developer to create something especially for you. If you’d like to take this path, verify their reputation, expertise, and commitment.