How many bad WordPress plugins have you installed on your site?

Do you even need those plugins at all?

When you started a new WordPress blog, there’re a few must-have plugins you need to set up right from day one.

Plugins such as Yoast SEO, Super Cache, WPForms are essentials if you want your website to rank well, fast and reachable by your audience.

With these must-have plugins, are there any plugins you have to avoid? Are all these plugins doing good for your site?

Keep on reading.

What Are WordPress Plugins?

WordPress plugins are nifty tools that extend the functionality of your WordPress site, these plugins work by adding more features that you could be configured with just a few clicks. You could add a photo gallery or a contact form on your website without any technical knowledge at all.

Up to date, WordPress has over 55,000 active plugins in its repository. It’s one of the reasons why WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and the first blogging platform choice for bloggers.

WordPress plugins help you do more things on your site without the need to engage a web developer. It helps you save time and money, and you could learn to do things yourselves.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”WordPress plugins help you do more things on your site without the need to engage a web developer. #wordpress #plugins #bloggers” quote=”WordPress plugins help you do more things on your site without the need to engage a web developer.”]

While plugins do help to extend your site functionality, it’s not always a good idea to install a plugin.

Do You Need a Plugin for That?

Installing too many plugins would gradually increase the load time of your site and slow it down. It will also make your website more vulnerable to attacks or hackers (more on that later).

A slow website, in the long run, would affect your SEO negatively. The user would leave before your site finishes loading. Your bounce rate would increase dramatically and Google pays huge attention on that.

When you’re just out blogging for fun on a personal blog, you don’t have to worry too much with it. But, if you’re a business owner, you need to look at your website or blog as an investment.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Are your plugins slowing down your website? Time for plugins audit. #wordpress #plugins #slow” quote=”Are your plugins slowing down your website? Time for plugins audit.”]

Depending on the functionality you’re trying to achieve, sometimes it’s best to hire a web developer to build the features. For example, you don’t need to install a plugin to setup Google Analytics on your site. It’s easy and there’re a lot of tutorials that teach you how to do that.

If you are installing a plugin, do take note these tips I’m going to share with you to avoid installing bad plugins that would do harm to your website.

What Are Signs of Bad WordPress Plugins?

Bad WordPress plugins are plugins that would damage or harm your website in the long run. It’s important to know how to identify which plugin you could install and use, and which one you have to avoid.

WordPress, being the most used CMS in the world, is under constant attack from hackers on a daily basis.

Installing a bad plugin provides easy access for hackers to your website and it’s one of the main culprits for any hacked WordPress site.

In this post, I’m going to show few criteria to keep in mind when installing a plugin and avoid plugins that fell under this criteria.

Outdated Plugins: Is It Still Maintained? or Abandoned?

WordPress has been releasing update regularly to fix any loopholes in the system in order to keep their system secure. This requires the plugin developer to also update their plugin to ensure it functions as it should be.

To keep up with changes introduces by WordPress, plugins need to be updated regularly. However, depending on the functionality of the plugin, it could be doing something very simple that doesn’t require an update at all.

An outdated plugin is the first sign that the plugin might be abandoned by its author.

Not Compatible with Latest WordPress Version: Will It Break Your Website?

When you updated your WordPress version, WordPress is smart enough to figure out if your installed plugins are compatible with WordPress.

When a plugin isn’t compatible, it might not give you full functionality. Sometimes it might break existing functionality on your website such as your contact form isn’t submitting, or you can’t click on your gallery anymore.

While outdated plugin might not cause any harm at times, but an incompatible plugin could potentially cause a lot of harms in the future. Besides breaking things on your website, it might open up a security loophole that’s fixed by WordPress and give hackers green light to attack your site. Just like a volcano waiting to erupt.

Bad WordPress plugins are like erupting volcano.
Like a volcano, your website could break anytime without warning.

If the plugin is critical to your site, do contact the plugin author or check out the support forum for any sign of newer version update. If the author didn’t plan to update the plugin, it’s time to look for an alternative.

Badly Built Plugins: How Do You Do This or That? What Is It Doing to My Website?

When you installed a plugin and you don’t know how to use it, it’s badly built.

How many times you install a plugin just to find yourself spending hours figuring out how to actually use it on your site? Or you just don’t what to do with the plugin?

A good plugin author would make it easy for people to use their plugin. When it gets complicated, it needs to come with a good documentation and guide or tutorial on how to configure or use it.

An example of a plugin with good documentation and updates are Social Warfare. Not only it has a clean design, every option is easy to understand. I managed to set up Social Warfare on my blog in just 5 minutes. In addition to that, the folks behind Social Warfare regularly post tutorials, case study, and feature updates on their site to make it easy for you to use their plugin.

Tons of Negative Review / Slow Response: Is the Author Active?

A badly built plugin will raise tons of questions and issues from users that’s seeking help, reporting an error or just complaining about their experience with the plugin.

When you’re searching for a plugin, it’s good to take a look at its ratings and support forum’s activity.

There’re a couple of things to take note of. First, how recent are those issues. Second, how active is the plugin author addressing those issues.

While having tons of issues means the plugin still requires a lot of work, knowing that the author is actively addressing the issue together with its user is great.

You would eventually be one of those users and knowing your concern would be addressed by the author is relieving.

A plugin with bad reviews or lack of support is the one you should stay away from.

Nulled Plugins: Should You Install These Free Premium Plugins?

This is easily the biggest sign of a bad plugin. A nulled plugin is a pirated copy of premium plugin distributed freely on the internet.

You might find a good premium plugin on Theme Forest one day and try to do a quick google search to download a free version of it and you found a nulled version of the plugin. Don’t fall prey to these free (nulled) plugins.

Installing a nulled plugin on your site is like unlocking the front door to your house. You’re opening a backdoor to your site and it’s just a matter of time for a hacker to attack your site. You could lose ownership of your site.

For further reading, we highly recommend:

Why You Must Avoid Nulled WordPress Plugins & Themes (9 Reasons) (via WPBeginner)
WordPress Security: When Plugins Go Bad (via Sucuri)
Fake jQuery Scripts in Nulled WordPress Plugins (via Sucuri)

Final Thoughts

By now, you should be able to identify which plugins you could install on your WordPress site and which one you should avoid at all cost.

Plugin vulnerability is one of the biggest reasons for WordPress hacks. Don’t let your website get hacked because you installed a bad plugin.

I recommend you to install a backup plugin to keep your data safe. You don’t want to lose all those hard work and start from scratch. It’s devastating, I’ve seen it before. Don’t let it happen to you.

Don’t forget to always update your plugins to the latest version!


I am a front-end developer and I teaches entrepreneurs who want to grow their audience, start an online business, and pursue their dream life. When I spend time away from the computer, I enjoy reading books and having a cup of green tea.

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