One of the things that make WordPress so awesome is the vast number and categories of plugins that are available for your business website. It really doesn’t matter whether you want to create a blog, eCommerce, Membership, Magazine, or a Multisite system, there is a plugin that will help you kick-start and run things on your favorite CMS.
As fantastic as this is, plugins are also one of the main reasons why your WordPress site can suffer from cyber attacks. As specified by Wordfence, more than 55% of WordPress sites get hacked due to plugin vulnerabilities. As a matter of fact, even some of the most popular plugins out there can cause harm to your website.
However, if you choose your WordPress plugins carefully, and regularly monitor their performance, you can avoid most of the security and compatibility issues.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can track the performance of your plugins properly, and resolve any problems. Let’s get on with it!
What Are the Most Common WordPress Plugin Issues?
Currently, there are more than 54,000 WordPress plugins available for download. With such a huge number of plugins, it’s no wonder that a good part of them are not properly formatted, and can cause serious compatibility and security issues.
Hogging the Entire Instance
Installing and enabling WordPress plugins is really easy. If one plugin is not good enough, you can easily disable it and replace it with another one. But, how many plugins are way too many?
More plugins add more code for the browser to load, which can effectively slow down your site, and this is why if you want better overall performance, it is advisable to use as few plugins as possible.
Your plugins also add lots of database queries if the developer hasn’t done their job right. When you do an update, it is crucial not to select and update/insert data at the same time when a page loads, so it’s much better to do the update via AJAX call.
If a plugin makes tons of database requests, it’s vital to ensure that this plugin is really important to the functioning of your website overall. Always make sure that you have an alternate solution that makes fewer database calls before you decide to dismiss the plugin or leave it as it is.
Another possible situation is when a plugin performs a complex job and uses a big amount of data in your hosting environment for every action, which again, damages the speed of your site. There are also plugins that make requests to 3rd parties and foreign APIs, and this can also have a negative effect on page performance. If a plugin can’t use the cache or transient API, the 3rd party API’s can limit the call to it, and the plugin won’t work properly anymore.
Bottom line, when it comes to WordPress plugins, it’s not in the number of plugins – it’s in the way the plugin is built, and how quality its functionality is for your site. In many cases, even one or two plugins can make the differences, instead of 30+ that suffocate your site.
Bad Plugin Combinations
Yes, the fact that there are so many plugins available is awesome! But here’s the thing – not every plugin is developed by an expert that knows how it’s done! This can easily result in plugin incompatibility as a result of a conflict between two plugins, a conflict between the theme and the plugin, and a conflict between the plugin and your version of WordPress.
This happens due to:
- Both or more plugins work on the same feature, but in totally distinctive ways.
- Plugins are developed with different WordPress versions and are not updated.
- Poorly-coded plugins.
If you spot some inconsistency in the website functions, or a plugin works wobbly, it may come as a result of plugin incoherency. In some cases, incompatible plugins can even break your entire site.
Monitoring and Resolving Plugin Issues
With the vast number of WordPress plugins, it’s no wonder that they pose a threat for both the performance and the security of your website. If you want to check whether a plugin is a common security threat, you can use WP Scan Vulnerability Database and search if your plugins are included in the previous and latest WordPress vulnerabilities.
Make sure that you check the plugin’s homepage as well, to see if there are recent updates in which the issues are fixed.
Test The Speed
There are numerous tools that you can use to diagnose the speed of your WordPress site. One of them is Google PageSpeed Insights.
Just enter the URL of your WordPress site and click “Analyze”. This will provide you with a detailed report on the issues that slow down your website performance based on two major parameters:
- Above-the-Fold Load – The time that the page spends to display content above the fold when requested by users.
- Full Page Load – The time that the browser takes to fully load the page when requested by users.
Google PageSpeed Insights quantifies your webpage performance for mobile and desktop devices. The tool loads your URL twice, with a mobile user agent and with a desktop user agent.
Your PageSpeed score can be from 0 to 100. A score of 85 and above shows that your page performs well. Take some screenshots and review the results to compare them with the new results after you resolve your plugin issues.
Checking for Compatibility
In most instances, plugin incompatibility is easy to identify. You just need to run through your plugins to detect the one/s that cause the problem/s. The easiest method to do this is to start disabling your plugins one at a time and refresh your site after each disabling operation to see if the issues have been resolved.
Navigate to your WordPress dashboard, and go to Plugins. Under each plugin, you’ll see the button “Deactivate”. Start by deactivating just one plugin.
Refresh your website, and check whether the feature that was problematic is working now. If the issue is resolved, you’ve just found the one that is responsible, and if not, repeat the same steps until the problem is resolved.
When you find the plugin that has caused the compatibility problem, first, you can uninstall and reinstall it to see if the problem is solved. Or, if you really need the plugin and can’t find an alternative, you need to get in touch with its developers and ask them for some help in fixing the compatibility error.
Blocking Plugin Compatibility Issues
We can’t say that you won’t make a mistake with plugin compatibility, however, there are certain steps that will ensure that you’ll reduce the chances of experiencing these types of WordPress plugin problems:
- Make sure that your plugins are harmonious with the latest version of WordPress.
- Check if the plugin has been regularly updated. Avoid plugins that are not updated in at least several months.
- Read user reviews. If there are too much website owners that complain about a plugin not being compatible with everything else, you should definitely avoid it.
Checking for Gutenberg Compatibility
There are still lots of mixed feelings about the jewel of the latest WordPress 5.0 “Bebo” version, Gutenberg. But, the fact is that WordPress came a long way since the Gutenberg Editor was announced back at WCEU 2017.
A lot of plugin developers might’ve still not updated their versions to work properly with the Gutenberg editor, and this is why you need to test your plugins out and gauge their Gutenberg compatibility.
Your first step in testing should be to check the Gutenberg Plugin Compatibility Database.
Download the database and browse through 5,000 plugins, including the most accepted and popular ones.
You can also examine the Gutenberg plugin compatibility manually on your site.
In the WordPress backend, first examine the Classic Editor if the plugin exposes any editor-specific functionality (a meta box, TinyMCE button, etc.).
If the plugin exposes functionalities in the Classic Editor, open the Gutenberg Editor and see if you can perform the same functional task. If the plugin is compatible, everything should work 100% as expected.
Common incompatibilities include:
- An “Add Media” button in the Classic Editor, which doesn’t exist in Gutenberg.
- A metabox in Gutenberg that isn’t fully-functional for some reason.
If the plugin doesn’t uncover the editor UI, then it’s probably compatible with Gutenberg. But again, you need to check the plugin database and contact the plugin creators to get more information about it.
Monitoring and Maintaining the DevriX Way
For our team, building a website is not a once-in-a-lifetime job. The web presence of our clients requires observation and maintenance work 24/7, both online and offline.
Stability, performance, security and backward compatibility can only be ensured through following the standards. Our team of WordPress developers is deeply involved with the WordPress community and the development ecosystem and adheres to the recognized coding standards.
In order to ensure consistency in our WordPress development workflow, we have designed a plugin framework and released it to the public. Hundreds of plugins have been built on top of our infrastructure toolkit for building reliable plugins and this ensures the seamless integration with the WordPress core, existing themes, and other plugins integrated within the platform.
Our plugin framework has also been used in various WordPress training courses for developers and entry-level WordPress experts who are eager to get up to speed with the best industry practices and produce high-quality code when delivering solutions for themselves or clients.
We are the technical backbone of our clients, and maintaining and implementing plugins in WordPress sites help us to support the technical stack and implement new strategies to reach business goals while increasing the client profit and web traffic in the process.
As a matter of fact, at Devrix, we develop custom plugins and solutions that perform only the necessary functionalities, which improves your WordPress performance and removing the excessive overhead. We pay attention to every small detail and optimize every single component of your web platform.
Whenever possible, we optimize existing plugins, exclude unnecessary components and features and make separate plugins play well together. Whenever the plugin architecture isn’t stable or easily detachable, we build custom tailored plugins that solve your problems in the best way possible, optimized both for speed and user experience.
A portion of our plugin maintenance process is automated with plugins such as P3 Performance Profiler and tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights mentioned above.
This P3 plugin works by creating a profile of your WordPress site’s plugins’ performance by measuring the impact on your site’s load time. By using the P3 plugin, we can narrow down anything causing slowness on your site.
This plugin uses the canvas element for drawing charts and requires Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, or IE9 or later.
There’s also a plugin called Query Monitor, which enables debugging of database queries, PHP errors, hooks and actions, block editor blocks, enqueued scripts and stylesheets, HTTP API calls, and more.
In the static code review, we’ll identify problems by extracting potentially problematic components into separate pages and areas for isolated testing. At the final stages of resolving a plugin issue, the entire code is refactored and gradually rebuilt to be optimized for maximum performance!
As we’ve said, there are plugins that can help you monitor and resolve issues. But, to make sure that everything is on point with your WordPress plugins and your entire site compatibility and stay safe in the process, you must invest in a serious maintenance plan that works!
Wrapping It Up
As you can see, plugins play a big role when it comes to the safety of the platform, as well as the performance of your WordPress website. But, monitoring and resolving plugin issues hopefully doesn’t have to be difficult after you’ve read this article.
Last, but not least, time is everything in business. As a business and website owner, would you rather tinker with plugin compatibility and code, or would you rather be busy with growing your company?
Rather than doing the legwork yourself, why not obtain the needed WordPress maintenance task from one technical partner?
As a team of plugin developers, whatever your plugin architecture is, we can build you a custom-tailored plugin set that solves each of your website problems while optimizing it both for speed and better UX in the process. If you are looking for a team of WordPress plugin developers and professional software engineers who can handle your existing platform or extend the portfolio of plugins for your organization, get in touch with DevriX.