So, you fancy yourself a WordPress expert. Well, you’re not alone. But using WordPress for several consecutive years does not necessarily make you an expert. A genuine expert is one who knows all the ins and outs of the platform to the degree that he or she can do just about anything without needing outside help or support.
We could offer several different litmus tests to determine whether you are a true expert or not. In fact, let’s do that. Let us introduce the plugin litmus test.
How much do you really know about plugins, what they do, and so on? Below is a list of five things every WordPress expert knows (or should know) about plugins. If you know all five, good for you.
1. Plugins Are Apps
WordPress may officially define plugins as a way to “extend and add to the functionality that already exists in WordPress”, but they are more than that. They are actually small apps that run inside the WordPress box. We know they are apps because they perform certain kinds of function. Therefore, you should be looking for plugins that truly enhance functionality with minimal risk and as few complications as possible.
2. Plugins Are Written by Third-Party Developers
Although there are some plugins written directly by members of the WordPress development team, the vast majority of them come from third-party software developers. Some developers create their plugins as moneymaking enterprises. They will offer both free and paid versions.
Other developers are students who use the opportunity to create plugins as a way of practising the skills they are learning in school. They may even use plugins to complete assigned projects.
Last is a small number of third-party developers who create plugins as a public service. They are individuals attuned to the idea of open source software and creative commons licensing.
3. Plugins Slow Things Down
You may have heard WordPress experts say that website owners should limit the number of plugins they use. There are lots of reasons for this, beginning with the fact that plugins slow things down. Remember, the plugin is an app that performs a certain function. The execution of that function takes time. Therefore, using large numbers of plugins inevitably slows down page load times.
4. Plugins Can Be Vulnerable
WordPress has a reputation for being insecure. That is not really true for the platform itself. On its own, WordPress is very secure. Security issues are directly attributable to the plugins that site owners use. In short, plugins can be vulnerable to security threats if not regularly updated and continuously maintained.
5. Plugins Can Cause Errors
Just like plugins are the biggest security threat in WordPress, they are also the source of most of the errors generated by pages and posts. If something on your site generates an error, look at your list of plugins. Start disabling them one by one until the error is fixed. Then get rid of the plugin causing the problem.