WordPress is one of the best CMS due to its long list of superb plugins which can help you in achieving almost anything with ease or with minimum efforts. As WordPress has grown, so has the popularity of plugins. The nature of open source development allows just about everyone to create an extension and publish it online. Free plugins hosted on wordpress.org have to be reviewed, tested, and approved prior to their addition to the site, but this rigorous standard isn’t necessarily upheld by some independent developers. Their plugins can put your site at risk. Today we are going to share A few tips to evaluate a plugin so that you can safeguard your website.
1. Verify its legitimacy – It’s pretty important to check legitimacy of any plugin. You can check this by just visiting wordpress.org and see if it is available there or not. A simple search would do it but if it is a paid plugin and only available on their own site (most popular plugin has free version in WordPress directory) then you will have to work a bit harder and read reviews and comments.
2. Read Reviews and Comments – You can find reviews of plugins in WordPress directory, or do a Google search to find the reviews. If any plugin has a lot of 5 or 4 stars rating along with a good number of reviews then it is surely a well tested plugin by thousands of people and you can trust the plugin and test the plugin on staging server. One more thing that you may want to see before downloading plugin is to check If plugin is developed by a popular team/individual or company, as they will back their plugin and keep making it better day by day. You can also search about plugin on popular WordPress news site as they review almost every popular plugin and give the very useful information about that plugin. Reviews can give you following information:
A. Usability – How easy is this plugin when IT comes to installation, setup or even customization to meet your business requirements?
B. Effectiveness – Whether this plugin resolves the problem effectively and completely or it’s just a partial solution to the problem.
C. Compatibility with themes or other plugins – Often you can find information like whether the plugin is compatible to specific theme or plugin or not. As there are many plugins which are really good but can create conflict with your theme or any other plugin. There are few plugins which create the problem with servers as well. There are few popular plugins which are disallowed by wpengine.com due to their conflict with the server (check those plugins here)
3. Not current – If any plugin has not been updated for a longer time then it means that developer has lost interest in that plugin and it may not be fully compatible with WordPress’s updated version. It’s advisable that you should not use that plugin instead look out for a better plugin. WordPress directory itself shows old and outdated plugins in the directory so be away from those sort of plugins.
4. Check for vulnerability – We all know that how good WordPress is when it comes to the security and sadly plugins play a vital role in making any site vulnerable. If developer doesn’t follow the WordPress standard to make it secure, then there is A possibility that hacker will go into your website through that plugin. Thankfully now there is a website where you can check if your chosen plugin has some Vulnerabilities.