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WordPress Plugins

Plugins are pieces of software codes that enable applications or programs to do things that applications or programs cannot do by themselves. Adobe Flash Player is one of the commonly used software codes, without this plugin you cannot view videos embedded into web pages.

Software codes serve their own purposes; foreign language-alphabets, social media networking, etc. are some of the examples. There are plugins to display documents related to Microsoft Office 2007 within your selected browser. Email programs use PGP plugins to safeguard privacy and security of their users. Media players will need plugins that enable them to play a particular media type. Sometimes plugins could be just routines.

Why plugins are excellent?

Plugins are very much portable and can easily be deployed. They are very small, but pack an enormous power. However, all these advantages depend upon the plugin framework that you use.

Coming to WordPress, the plugins are just awesome. They can improve SEO, save you a lot of time, and build up the speed of your website and much more. They allow web developers and designers to build sites that are more advanced, quicker and with better features as well. The official plugin directory with WordPress has over 20,000 plugins and the volume of downloads exceed 330,000,000. These enormous numbers leave no doubt in one’s mind that plugins are essential elements in WordPress ecosystem.

Problems that you may face while using plugins:

However, there is also a downside about using them. Too much reliance on plugins could increasingly open up your site to a variety of potential risks. A large number of active plugins could make your site run sluggish and cause a delay in webpage response. The more number of plugins increases the chances of difficulties that you may face, but not all the difficulties arise out of it.

    • Plugins that are poorly developed are the main culprits. You are most likely to face a decrease in speed, security vulnerabilities and other long-term risks when you use a plugin that is not being updated or developed by an author using sub-standard development practices.
    • Speed decrease could occur when your plugin makes redundant requests to open source libraries. Use plugins with scripts that avoid any redundant requests while loading JavaScript libraries. Adding some unneeded HTTP requests could also cut down on speed. Include site files only when you need them most. The web pages may ask for the associated CSS and the JavaScript files of your plugin attached into wp_head. You can avoid this by adding these files conditionally only when you need that specific plugin function.
    • Poorly developed plugins are potential invitations for security threats and could seriously affect your sites. A good plugin follows a set of best practices related to data sanitation and validation. The lack of such practices could result in XSS vulnerabilities and MySQL injections.
  • Relying on discontinued and under-developed plugins over a long time will make you stuck and expose to risks. Most of the popular plugins are open source and free. When popularity fades away, the developer may lose interest in updating those plugins or gradually slow down the updating process.

How good is my plugin?

You must look into many factors while picking a better plugin for your use. You can confirm about its credibility by looking into the plugin directory, its reviews and popularity as well. Make sure that your plugin is relevant and know the date of its publication. Do not just go for premium plugins without evaluating them.

Keep visiting your plugin list and see changes updated there. Check with the number of resolved tickets and see the latest entry of a resolved ticket. Make sure that you check update frequency as well as validation of all the changes. The popularity may not always show your plugin’s credibility, a less popular plugin built by a solid user could serve your purpose well.

Aim at putting your plugins into minimum usage and yet get the best results you need.

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