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WordPress Plugins: Pros and Cons

It is approximate that nearly a third of all websites run on WordPress, and it has become standard practice for web developers to use Plugins to create websites. With over 1.5 billion Plugins downloaded from the plugin library alone, their influence is undeniable. However, before you decide to use WordPress Plugins, there are a few essential things to consider to make an informed decision for your website.


What Is a Plugin?

A plugin is software that can be installed on your website to add or extend its functions. Plugins can be loaded onto the website and quickly configured to provide effectiveness that would otherwise take developers a long time to create from scratch. As the name suggests, they are something that can be plugged into” a website to extend its capabilities without having to write a lot of custom code.

A good differentiation is that of an operating system on a computer. The computer inherently provides basic functionality, but you have probably added applications to extend the computer’s capabilities. For example, maybe you’ve added Adobe Reader to view PDF files or Photoshop to edit images. Maybe you downloaded Chrome or Firefox because you prefer those browsers or installed antivirus software to protect your computer. The possibilities are endless. The same goes for WordPress Plugins: they provide developers with pre-built features that enhance the websites they create. 

WordPress Plugin Pros

The popularity of Plugins is no coincidence. They offer several advantages to web developers and webmasters, including:


  1. They save time: The root cause so many developers use Plugins is that they save a lot of development time, which saves the overall budget. With over 55,000 Plugins currently in the library, developers have access to Plugins for virtually anything they need. This can range from adding complex features such as e-commerce or multi-language capabilities to minor updates such as allowing website administrators to add Google Analytics tracking to a website without changing the code. 
  2. They offer a degree of flexibility: Plugins give developers the flexibility to customize website features and functions. Most Plugins let you turn some settings on and off and change styles like fonts, colors, and sizes to match the rest of the website. And if you ever want to throw away a plugin, you can easily remove it from your website.
  3. They can be very well-grounded: Plugins have become so crucial to WordPress development that they are created and managed by reputable companies that update them regularly to fix bugs and improve security. Many Plugins offer different capabilities depending on your needs, with a free version for basic features and a paid version for advanced features. While this means that Plugins are chargeable, they are usually under $100, which is far less than you would spend for the developers themselves to create the functionality. The advantage of paid Plugins is that the companies behind them have an incentive to keep their users happy by keeping the Plugins up to date.

Cons Of WordPress Plugins

Plugins seem to be every developer’s dream, but there are also some disadvantages to consider. These include:


  1. They can leave your website vulnerable to attack: Not all Plugins are regularly updated or developed to the excellency, and these Plugins can leave your website vulnerable to hacks. According to WP White Security, an estimated 54% of known WordPress vulnerabilities stem from Plugins. The Mightybytes team spends so much time researching every plugin we use and modernizing our clients’ Plugins twice a month along our hosting service to quickly ensure all security patches are available. These measures help reduce the risk of plugin vulnerabilities. 
  2. Limit functionality: The downside of using a plugin is that you are limited to what the plugin offers and what settings you can change with it. The good news is that there are so many options that you can usually find something that suits your needs.
  3. They can conflict with each other: Plugins are so handy that it can be easy to rely on them too much. Unfortunately, this is not a good idea. It’s not uncommon for Plugins to have compatibility issues with other Plugins on your website, which can cause your website to break down or even crash. We recommend that you only use the Plugins you really need and test the website every time you add a plugin to make sure they are all compatible with each other. 
  4. They can slow down page speed: Plugins can influence page speed because they often need additional CSS and JavaScript files to be filled on the page. This means that your website has to load more content every time you visit the page. If you keep adding Plugins, these resources can quickly add up and cause the page to take longer to load. This is another reason to limit yourself to the essential Plugins and leave the rest to the developers.

Although this list may make Plugins seem intimidating, we side with the vast majority of WordPress developers in thinking that the benefits far outweigh potential risks. As long as you research and maintain Plugins properly, you should have minimal issues with them on your site.

How to Choose a Plugin

Conclusive which Plugins to use on your website is a fundamental process for you and your web developers. To make an intellectual decision, there are a few steps you need to take:


  1. Research, research, research: Each plugin will have information about its functionality, support tickets, and technical information. You want to choose a plugin with a good reputation, so pay attention to user reviews and 5-star ratings 
  2. Check that your plugin is not delisted: Some hosting services have a list of banned Plugins that they do not allow to be used on the sites they host, and this is usually done for Plugins with known security risks. Your hosting provider protects your site and other sites hosted on its server by not allowing these Plugins on your site. 
  3. Free or Premium: If a plugin offers different access levels, decide whether you want the free or paid version. Check the payment schedule to see if it’s a one-off purchase or an annual payment. We recommend that our customers pay directly to the provider for all Plugins to always have complete control over the Plugins.
  4. Check the plugin first: Before committing to a plugin, test it on a trial site to ensure it works as intended and that there are no conflicts with other Plugins already installed. Do not skip this step. Although there will be no problems in most cases, you never know what might break your site, so don’t take any chances.

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