With WordPress, people can extend the default function using plugins, and they can disable them when they want. The number of these plugins is huge than you can imagine. It’s not only the free codes that you see in the official directory, but more.
Thousands of sites are offering plugins, and that’s what can risk your website. On the other side, the wrong use of the code can affect the website loading time, and even the security. That’s why learning how to use the WordPress plugins, and make them secure is not an option in these days.
Things to know about WordPress plugins
Never install plugins from anyplace
There are thousands of WordPress plugins, and you can find and install many of them and make your website better. However, hackers know that lots of people searches for the so-called ”free premium plugins”. So, they offer them for free, and of course, they add malware codes. For that reason, thousands of blogs got hacked and the same things happen again.
So, never use any plugin until you verify the source. The WordPress plugins directory is the only trusted source for the free plugins. For premium plugins, you can use CodeCanyon, it’s the largest and the trusted marketplace to download and use plugins and codes with confidence.
If you have a plugin and you forget its source, you can scan it for malware. That will protect your blog from hidden codes and make things better.
You can also read, Greatest plugins for Genesis themes.
How many plugins should you install?
There is no exact, or even, recommended number of WordPress plugins to install. However, you need to consider the fact that, the more plugins you use, the more PHP and HTTP requests your server will get. So, make things easier as you can, and limit the number of plugins.
Instead of installing multiple plugins for multiple functions, you can search for the plugin that combine all those functions at once. The best example for this is the JetPack plugin that comes with lots of tools and sub plugins.
It’s recommended to avoid plugins that send lots of requests, and that slow down the server. At the same time, avoid using multiple plugins for caching. If you can use the theme to modify the design without a plugin, that will be better.
The same things applies to everything else, you don’t need to install a plugin if you can change the code manually, and add your function.
The social buttons are the biggest problems for the loading time, many plugins come with hundreds of options and that affect the loading time directly. So, if you can use plugins with little or with a few codes, that will much better for you.
I see that a few hosting companies are taking the loading time seriously, adding plugins that causes downtimes is not good for all. That’s why I recommend WP Engine as a premium managed hosting for WordPress.
That company has its own caching system, and it works better than any other tool. For that reason, you don’t need any caching plugins or even a CDN, you get all the speed, and you will reduce the number of plugins naturally.
Daily scanning for malware
Even, if you have the best plugins and you trust the code, the risk still exist. People can use advanced technics to find a mistake or an error in your theme, or plugins, and then, thy can modify the code.
Luckily, there are many plugins that can scan the directory and detect every single change in your files. That works for everything like, plugins and themes, and I recommend the Wordfence. It’s free and comes with amazing security features.
Test your blog’s loading time
To make sure that everything works smoothly, and there are no problems, you have to test your plugins. To measure and see how your plugins are working in terms of speed, use this plugin and you will see a detailed report about every single tool you use in WordPress.
The main function for that tool is to see which plugins are causing the slow loading time. So, you can disable or replace them with similar ones.
Plugins should be updated
If you install a plugin and forget the site for a few days, new updates can be available, and that can be a big problem for your website’s security. That’s why enabling the auto upgrade option in your server is a solution.
If you can find a function that do the upgrade, why not hosting your site with a fully managed server that’s optimized for WordPress? That way, you get the security and the update that you need. Outdated plugins are the main source of attacks, and you should avoid being in that situation.