WordPress Plugins for website – Good or Bad!
Plugins with their functionalities and features augment the performance of your WordPress site. They work to boost your website’s online visibility in order to promote quick lead generation and attainment of your business goals.
That’s why in the official WordPress plugin repository, there are over 50,000 plugins to help you in a variety of tasks. For instance, there is a W3 Total Cache which is a performance optimization plugin, WooCommerce is an E-Commerce plugin, MemberPress is a membership plugin, Elementor and Divi being the Page Builder plugin and so on. You get the gist!!
Despite every good thing, plugins can cause vulnerabilities in WordPress websites. For instance, if you update your WordPress website, some plugins might cause problems making some of the features and functionalities of the website inoperable. It is for such instances that you should know about the plugins you install and how to protect your WordPress site from failing performance wise.
So, in this article, you will be getting a crash course in how to protect your WordPress websites when WordPress plugins malfunctions.
What are the Best Ways to Protect your Website, if you’re using WordPress Plugins?
There are plenty of ways that you can utilize to safeguard your website from WordPress plugins and each of them depends on what type of plugin you use. Since there are more than 50,000 plugins, it is impossible to actually discuss all of them and the potential problem attached with each one. But for you, we have shortlisted 7 best ways you use to protect your WordPress from plugins that are used most commonly. Our list starts with the following:
1. Always Go Through History and Reviews of your Plugins Before Installation
When you’re about to install a plugin, make sure you’ ve done your research before installation. For this, go through the history and reviews of the WordPress plugins that you intend to use for your WordPress website.
For example, if you want to use a WordPress security plugin such as WordFence, check the average rating and reviews of it by clicking on that plugin. (see below):
It is also important to always check the updated record of the plugin. If the developers didn’t release a new version in the last six months, you should look for alternative plugins because outdated plugins contain more security vulnerabilities and can cause problems in the performance of the website.
In short, reviews and history are not only helpful for users when selecting plugins, they also let you see what people are talking about. Likewise, you can go through social media platforms i.e., Facebook and Twitter for this purpose.
2. Always Install WordPress Plugins from Reliable Sources
WordPress plugins might be infected with malware, viruses and other threats if they are outdated or developed for the sole purpose of infecting/hacking a website. Therefore, to safeguard your website from potential threats, you should only install WordPress Plugins from reliable sources i.e., the WordPress Plugin repository.
Since it is the WordPress platform, it has tight security guidelines when it comes to developing and uploading plugins for WordPress users. Therefore, you can pick any plugin confidently without vulnerability and virus-infection.
For example, if any WordPress plugin seems to have security issues, then WordPress.org will work to help you get rid of security issues. And, if it fails to resolve a technical issue, then that plugin is removed from the directory so that other WordPress users could be saved from any type of vulnerability and threat.
3. Get Rid Of Unused Plugins
If you’re not using any plugin anymore, it is advised to simply deactivate it. By doing so, you’re stopping any potential malware from affecting the WordPress website or even hackers from manipulating your website. Realistically, hackers use PHP files inside any plugin and it stays there no matter how frequently you’ve used that particular plugin.
You can delete all of your plugins from your site with ease. All you need to do is to select All>Delete. Another way is to select a specific plugin and tick on checkbox and click delete. This is a periodic task that you will need to do from time to time. However, with the help of a WordPress maintenance company, you will not have to worry about the constant checking of unused or unwanted plugins.
4. Don’t Forget to Keep your Plugins Updated
In practice, new releases often contain fixes for vulnerabilities and exploits, therefore, it’s important to keep all your plugins up-to-date. There are two potential problems with this.
First, if you do not keep your plugins updated, you might face malware, virus, or even potential hacker threat. On the flip side, if you do keep your plugins updated, you will also have to keep your website updated because when most plugins update, they may become incompatible with existing WordPress website functionalities.
This warrants the use of a proper WordPress developer or a WordPress website maintenance company to be able to help you with the update so that nothing goes wrong with the existing performance of your website.
5. Keep Checking your Website to Detect Suspectful Behavior
WordPress plugins normally do not notify about any insecurity or vulnerability within the plugin until someone reports it or it occurs. Which means having a periodic survey or diagnosis of your WordPress website every 3 months lets you detect suspicious performance behavior that can help you optimize your website for better performance and security.
This can be a tedious task but it needs to be done in order to make sure your WordPress website is fully functional and your users are not facing any problems while browsing your website.
6. Always Keep Eyes on WordPress Security Updates
Hackers infect over 300,000 new pieces of malware daily, according to the AV-Test Institute. Therefore, it’s indispensable for you to keep abreast with security developments. There are lots of websites that present WordPress security updates i.e. The Hacker News, etc. But, don’t forget to check the official WordPress.org blog to get more information about WordPress security.
If you can’t afford to spend much time on security updates, then you use WPScan WordPress Vulnerability Database: a plugin that has a publicly-maintained database of WordPress Core, WordPress themes, and all plugin vulnerabilities.
7. Report Plugin Security Issues Right Away
If and when you’ve detected a real security issue with your plugin, don’t talk about it openly across social media platforms or anywhere because it can make your website security more vulnerable. In such situations, you should do two things:
- Check the contact details if you’ve downloaded this plugin from WordPress Plugin Repository
- Report the plugin to WordPress.org and remove it from your website immediately.
That’s that! Our simple yet informative crash course in how you can protect your website from WordPress plugins.
The Question - Is your WordPress website protected from Plugins?
What we learnt is that plugins play a critical role in enhancing the strength of a WordPress site. Likewise, they can make your website highly vulnerable to hacking, malware, viruses and other performance issues. But, with well-planned and straightforward safety initiatives, you can keep your website away from any threat.
It is a good practice to ask the question from time to time – whether your WordPress website is protected from the use of WordPress plugins? Many businesses use internal developer teams or WordPress maintenance companies such as ours (WP-Bridge) to help them answer the question.
What would you answer when faced with the question? Don’t let yourself ponder the question. Contact us and we will answer it for you.