This post is just for WordPress users today but if you are on Blogger and are thinking of switching then listen up! Plugins are one of the best things about WP, they make your blog customisable and make the whole process so much easier! All three of us use WP and we have written about our top plugins before, they are just fab!
As much as bloggers love a good plugin, so many do not realise how they work. A plugin is a 3rd party product that you are installing on your very precious blog. They are NOT owned by WP and can therefore go wrong. You should always check for compatibility and look at the ratings and number of active installs before choosing a plugin in the first place. Chances are, if a plugin only has 300 active installs then it isn’t going to be any good and you risk doing damage!
Why you need to update your plugins
- Security– If you do not have the latest update for a plugin then your site becomes vulnerable. An old version may allow malicious behaviour and cause irreparable damage. As long as you keep up to date then you know you have all of the latest security software included.
NOTE: This applies to your WP updates too- keep an eye out for those so you know you are using the very latest version.
- Performance– Is your site running slow? You probably have a few updates sitting in the queue right? Get them updated and you will see that your site speeds up straight away. Old plugins can hinder performance as they can interfere with the latest version of WP.
- Compatibility fixes– Many times, when WP versions are updated it can cause plugins to become unstable. They will not be compatible to the updated version and will cause problems on your site. Keeping your plugins up to date will mean you are using plugins that have been checked for compatibility and are therefore less likely to do damage.
What do I need to do?
Before you update any plugins you should always make sure you take a backup of your blog. Sometimes a plugin may not be compatible with your blog and you risk breaking it! Ideally you should be backing up your blog weekly to ensure you always have a safety net should the worst happen!
Last month I was locked out of my blog! Each time I tried to log in it told me I was putting the wrong password. I rang my host, panic stricken, and explained the situation. After much discussion we realised that it was due to the fact that I had nine plugins in need of an update! One of the had turned bad and had allowed malicious behaviour on my site. Friends were getting security notices and I felt very very sick! Thankfully I back up my blog weekly and my hosts were able to deactivate the plugin and restore me to full health! I have totally learned my lesson!
Nobody wants to put their precious blog at risk do they? Make sure you keep an eye out for those alerts and you will be fine!