Preventing WordPress Plugin Issues
By Guest Contributor, Kasey Traeger
As much as we all love WordPress, there are times when it can be a real pain in the you-know-what. Most frequently, this posterior pain is caused by one or more plugins that haven’t learned how to play nicely with each other or that haven’t been told how to work with the newest version of WordPress which you just installed.
A question was recently posed from a reader asking if there was a way to know before-hand whether a plugin was likely to cause problems with her website. Although there are no totally definitive ways to know ahead of time about the interactivity between a plugin and everything else in your WordPress site, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the likelihood that you’ll install a problematic plugin.
Use good quality plugins that have been downloaded and used by many other people. — Basically, this approach means that you’re letting other people be your guinea pigs for you! The logic is that the more people who have successfully used a plugin, the more proof for you that the plugin will not cause problems on your site.
When you are evaluating free plugins to decide if you want to use them, you can tell if they are being used by a lot of people simply by noting how many copies have been downloaded. Although not all free plugins are available in the WordPress plugin directory, most are, so that is a good place to start. You’ll find the directory at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/.
When evaluating paid plugins, you can either ask your question directly of the developer, or you can visit the support forum for plugin users. Not all paid plugins will have a support forum, but there should at least be an email address or a link on their website where you can go for support and assistance.
Use plugins that are frequently or recently updated. — Plugins that are regularly updated stand a better chance of playing nicely with your theme or framework and other plugins. How do you know if the plugin was recently updated? Just check the WordPress plugin directory. (The URL is listed, above.)
Paid plugins also usually offer frequent updates whenever the developers want to add a new feature or are keeping the plugin current with new versions of WordPress or for security enhancements. If at all possible, splurging for paid plugins will give you a better chance of avoiding compatibility issues now and in the future.
Do you really need that plugin? — Logic dictates that the more components in any device or piece of software, the higher the likelihood of something going wrong. The same applies with plugins. Not only will too many plugins cause your site to be slow and sluggish, but it also causes more compatibility issues because you simply have more plugins that need to play nice together.
People often overuse plugins for things that can be done without a plugin. For example, adding Facebook comments to your website doesn’t require a special plugin. Neither does adding that Twitter badge to the sidebar that scrolls your most recent Tweets. Before adding a plugin, a quick Google search will tell you if there’s a way to do what you want to do without adding yet another plugin.
Search Google to see if others before you have had problems. — Techie people, especially, will blog about different pieces of software, plugins, etc. that they’ve tried. If a plugin has given them problems, then it might not be the appropriate choice for someone who doesn’t have a techno-nerd at their disposal.
This may seem like a lot of work for something that takes no more than a couple of mouse clicks to install, but the effort will be well worth it the very first time you save yourself from having a software conflict that screws up your site!
Kasey Traeger, The Lady Tech Tamer, is your go-to resource for all things web-techy. To receive her free tech tips and web “strategery” info, visit her blog atLadyTechTamer.com.
Thanks for reading! What are your favorite most reliable WordPress plugins? Please let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to post this on Facebook and Twitter too!
With love and blessings,