Did you know that plugins are the biggest security risk for a WordPress website?
55.9% of WordPress security breaches are because of an insecure or out-of-date plugin, according to a 2016 survey of 1,032 website owners.
But security is only one thing you need to consider.
What about functionality, stability, support, ease of use and documentation? Choosing the right plugin for you is a daunting task.
How can you be sure that your dream plugin isn’t a nightmare waiting to be unleashed?
You may already know about a headache inducing plugin. Causing your website to grind to a halt, display cryptic errors, crash and/or leak confidential data.
You end up pulling your hair out.
There are over 54,000 plugins in the official WordPress plugin repository.
If you don’t have a technical person to help you out, how do you know where to start?
This guide and free checklist will help you deal with plugins without the headache.
Planning – Choose your must-have features
List your features
What do you want from the plugin? List the features you want.
Some plugins come loaded with features. But if you only need one or two things, there may be smaller, faster plugins that will do the job better.
What features do you need?
Which features would be nice but not necessary?
Keep that list somewhere you can see it for later.
2. Searching – Find the plugins that match your requirements
Where to start searching for plugins
WordPress.org plugins directory
WordPress.org should be your starting point. Hosting 54,000 plugins, it is the largest plugin repository.
Use the search bar at the top of the page to find plugins based on the features you need.
Every plugin has tags. These tags group together plugins with similar features. Searching by tag will help you narrow down your results.
[Video: How to search for plugins by name and tag]
Caption: How to search for plugins by name and tag
The WordPress plugin search engine is limited. You can’t search for more than one tag at the same time.
But look at the tag list for each plugin to see other tags, which will help you find plugins you might have missed.
CodeCanyon is an online marketplace.
Any developer can create a plugin which can be sold here. To date there are over 6,800 WordPress plugins available to buy.
These plugins are ALL paid for, not free. Skip to Search Engines if you aren’t ready to buy a plugin yet.
Start your search by selecting the WordPress category. Use the category filters combined with the search bar form to filter your results.
Tip: Sort by “Best Sellers” to see the most purchased plugins. These plugins have already been reviewed by other website owners.
[Video: How to search for plugins on CodeCanyon]
Caption: How to search for plugins on CodeCanyon, filtering by category.
Search engines give you all the results from each platform. But they work best if you know what you’re looking for.
If you’re just browsing, the tags and categories filters on WordPress.org and CodeCanyon might be a better option.
Tip: Include “wordpress plugin” as part of your search query.
Plugin Developer’s websites
Many of the larger plugin developers choose to host their plugins on their own websites.
These plugins often have the best functionality, support and documentation.
But they are usually the most expensive.
You may see a free version of a plugin like this on WordPress.org
3. Decision time – Narrow down your shortlist of plugins
By now you have a few promising plugins.