Tips to Choose Trustworthy WordPress Themes and Plugins
With thousands of themes and plugins to choose from, finding ones which are safe with a good quality of code can be a difficult task. In this article, we will look at some tips to help you select trustworthy WordPress themes and plugins.
WordPress Directory is the safe zone
As a WordPress user, you might be aware of the plugin directory and the theme directory available at WordPress.org. These directories offer a wide range of plugins/themes and are maintained by a team of active contributors. They ensure that immediate action is taken on any report regarding untrustworthy content and the abusive ones are quickly removed. Also, all new plugins/themes are reviewed before being published. Hence, it is safer to download tools from these directories rather than other sources online.
Reviews and Download counts matter
Before you download a plugin/theme, take a look at the download counts. Ideally, select a plugin with at least 100,000 downloads. There might be a few new plugins which will have a low download count. These can be assessed based on the reviews.
In the WordPress directory, registered users can rate and review a plugin/theme. Ratings are provided on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest. Read reviews from both the extremes of the spectrum. Try to understand why users have given it the lowest rating. Is there a problem with the plugin/theme or is it a user-specific issue.
In the WordPress directory, each theme/plugin has a dedicated support area. Before selecting a tool, ensure that you go through this section and check if there are any issues that might conflict with your requirements. Also, check how many issues have the authors resolved and how many are still pending.
Look at the last updated date of the plugin/theme. The WordPress core is updated at least once every few months and the plugins/themes need to update themselves to keep it compatible with the current WP version. Avoid tools that have not been updated over the past two years.
Technical point – Beware of base64_decode
The base64_decode is the primary culprit behind abusive scripts that are hidden in WordPress. This function is widely used in WP plugins and themes for dishonest reasons. The function allows developers to insert encoded scripts without being detected.
Look at the performance of other tools from the same developer
Regardless of the popularity of the developer, ensure that you look at the performance of the other plugins/themes created by the developer. Do they follow WordPress development best practices? Is there a common thread of issues across all tools? Research well.
If you are tech savvy, then you might want to look at the code and see if there is anything detrimental in it.
While plugins and themes can add a lot of power to your WordPress website, a bad one can adversely impact its performance. Therefore, ensure that you consider all aspects before opting for one. Also, in order to keep your site working in good condition, it is important that you update the WP core and plugins regularly, optimize the database and take regular backups of your website. You might want to consider employing the services of a Managed WordPress Hosting provider who can take care of these technical tasks for you. We hope that these tips help you find and install trustworthy plugins and themes. Good Luck!