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OSOM plugins Starter Kit and Guidelines

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By Kamil Jankowiak

4 min read

It's hard to imagine a website without plugins, but it's easy to imagine what an excessive amount can do to a site's speed and security. With our guide, we shed light on the issues of plugins on a Wordpress site and list the most popular ones.

WordPress is a platform with a repository of thousands of plugins, all offering a unique bundle of features and capabilities. Many platforms provide their plugins for additional fees. On top of that a developer skilled in WordPress can develop a plugin by themself.  It all adds up to the allure of installing a multitude of plugins. It seems that with just a few clicks, you can augment the functionalities of your website – whereas what constitutes an advantage for WordPress also becomes a disadvantage if you fail to exploit its possibilities prudently. Check out the list below to find out why overloading your site with plugins is not the best idea.

 

Performance

The more plugins in place, the more code our website has to load, possibly slowing down its loading time and rendering it sluggish and unresponsive. It can be frustrating for site visitors and significantly boost the drop-off rate.

 

Security

An overwhelming number of plugins in the WordPress repository may carry a risk of introducing security vulnerabilities and loopholes into your site – outsiders may exploit them to install malware to access your website for various purposes. The probability escalates with the number of plugins installed. You can read more about how to guard against this at the end of the article.

 

Compatibility

Not all plugins are compatible with the up-to-date WordPress version. Installing too many plugins might add to the likelihood of conflicts, leading to site errors. All too often, when a fundamental WordPress update happens, numerous plugins cease to be compatible and can, for instance, trigger a critical error causing your site to crash completely.

 

Clutter and confusion

Whenever you have multiple plugins installed, you might face a situation where each one implements its settings in a different way – the higher the number of plugins, the more chaos in the panel. It significantly hinders site management and promotes the occurrence of conflicts or database overload that may substantially slow down the administration panel. Moreover, an overabundance of plugins means you may not remember their purpose. It is a mistake that can come back on us when we least expect it.

Does it mean that installing plugins is a bad idea?  Equally well, we could write the functionality ourselves, or hire a developer who will provide us with this solution in the right quality. However, this is not the way that will always prove to be the best in terms of costs and usability. We use the plugins to extend the functionality of the website, saving time and money. So the answer to this question is no, if we keep moderation and know what we want to do, it's OK.

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What should you pay attention to when installing a plugin?

Besides the above-mentioned potential drawbacks, there are several other factors to consider when deciding whether to install a plugin on your website. Here are some extra pointers. 

1. Assess your needs.

Before you install a software plugin, review its description and consider whether you truly need it. Perhaps you already have a feature or functionality that does the same thing? Or could you achieve the same effect differently?

2. Read reviews and ratings, and always pay attention to the download count.

Many WordPress repository plugins include reviews and ratings from other users. They are useful in the assessment of the plugins' quality and reliability. Seek plugins with high ratings, positive reviews, and high download volumes. 

3. Be aware of the source.

Always install plugins exclusively from reputable sources, such as the official WordPress plugin repository. Avoid downloads from distrusted websites or sources, as they may contain malware or be out-of-date.

 

How do we do it at OSOM?

We believe that, in some cases, it is OK to install plugins. Yet, we feel that the fewer plugins you have, the safer and faster your website is. We explained the reasons in the Security and Performance section. 

However, if you already opt to install a plugin, remember to pay attention to keep them up-to-date. Furthermore, you can double-check to see if the ones you have installed are safe. 

You may explore the database containing information on the susceptibility to attacks or well-known vulnerabilities reported at the following link: https://patchstack.com/database/.

We recommend that you back up your site to quickly revert it to its pre-installation state before you install plugins – it should save you time to fix critical errors caused by a faulty or outdated plugin.

Adhering to the above tips can significantly help you ensure the security of your WordPress site.

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OSOM's Starter Kit for WordPress plugins 

Below you can find a list of the plugins (Starter Kit) we use at Osom Studio. 

Please note that you must remember the rule that all plugins only apply as long as you perform regular updates.

Advanced Custom Fields

It is one of the most useful plugins in the WordPress repository for creating custom fields. These find use in many elements on the site to manage content in the admin panel. The plugin has immense potential that, in the hands of specialists, means they can create anything their heart desires.

Contact Form 7

A plugin that allows you to add a contact form. The ability to extend its functionality with multiple Hooks and Filters is undoubtedly the most significant advantage of this plugin. The integration with Google reCAPTCHA, which is easy to configure, is an extra advantage.

Yoast SEO

This plugin allows you to supplement a crucial part of your website, such as metadata like title, description or schema, used by Google algorithms to display your website in search results. Moreover, Yoast SEO creates extensive sitemaps of our website.

WebP Express

It is a plugin that converts image files with extensions such as .png or .jpg to .webp. It significantly reduces the website size.

Easy WP SMTP

As the name suggests, it is a simple plugin for SMTP configuration. Once it is configured correctly, it sends all messages via the wp_mail function via the SMTP server, thus dramatically minimizing the risk of our messages ending up in spam.

Redirection

A plugin through which you can easily and quickly add 301 redirections without the necessity to manually edit your .htaccess file.

Feel free to contact our Agency for a consultation if you have concerns that your site is overloaded with plugins or would like to verify whether your plugins are safe or could be replaced by a developer to optimize your site's performance! 

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