A WordPress plugin can seamlessly expand functionality or add completely new features to your WordPress site. From E-commerce, to interactive calendars and even creating a full blown WordPress powered social network, plugins can offer, in many cases, instant gratification with little coding work. But when it comes to WordPress security, plugins can also be a back door to malware and cyber attacks. How can you minimize WordPress vulnerabilities and improve the security of your WordPress site?
Check reviews and ratings: Not all plugins are made from reliable sources. We always recommend to use premium or paid plugins developed by well rated development firms that offer regular updates and support. While there are certainly some great free plugins, in many cases, these come with a price as well. Updates are infrequent and not guaranteed. Sometimes developers take some shortcuts or write sloppy code. Premium paid plugins usually come with support and updates. They often have more features and the code is often clean and customizable.
Update, update, update! Even if you use premium plugin, you need to stay on top of updates. Many come with auto update features, so make that feature is enabled. Why is it so important to update or remove outdated plugins?
There are several key areas affected by outdated plugins:
- Bug fixes & Compatibility
Security: Updates to WordPress plugins often increase security by patching vulnerabilities and strengthening against attacks. According to WPBeginner, 83% of hacked WordPress sites hadn’t been updated. According to page.ly’s stats, WordPress sites are frequently hacked due to “outdated versions of: PHP, WordPress, themes, or plugins”.
Performance: An updated site will perform better and often will improve the performance of WordPress itself, a plugin or theme.
Bug fixes & Compatibility: After a major WordPress release, many plugins will get an update to ensure compatibility with the new version, or to make use of new features.
Features: Keeping your site up to date also gives you access to new features. For example, recent releases of WordPress have included big improvements to the UX of the admin screens as well as accessibility improvements. Plugins can do this too, which means that keeping things up to date gives you access to the latest improvements.