Abandoned WordPress Plugins
July 2, 2021
Plugins are a strength of WordPress. They allow functionality to be added to WordPress sites, from elaborate contact forms to slideshows to backing up your site automatically. Plugins are also usually free, with paid options for additional levels of functionality.
At the same time, plugins are a weakness of WordPress. Any developer can build and distribute a plugin through the WordPress ecosystem. In fact, there are usually many, many plugins that serve the same purpose, all of varying quality. Often the only way to judge if a plugin is any good is to install it and try it out. Luckily, they are as easy to remove as they are to install.
Most good and widely used plugins are updated on a regular basis by the developers who've created them. However, there are occasions when a developer simply walks away from a plugin and stops updating it. The result is an "abandoned" plugin.
While an abandoned plugin may continue to function properly for a while, at some point it is likely to be incompatible with the latest versions of WordPress and / or PHP, which is the underlying coding language used to power WordPress websites. In such cases, the plugin may partially or fully stop working or annoying error message may appear in the Admin area or on your front-end.
A more dangerous scenario is one in which an abandoned plugin contains security vulnerabilities that hackers exploit. You'll find reports of plugins with security holes allowing hackers to go so far as to take over control of websites or use them to upload nefarious files, all because they are no longer updated.
Because of these issues, we take abandoned WordPress plugins seriously. As part of our monthly Security & Maintenance plans, we check your site for plugins that are no longer being updated. If it's a plugin that is no longer need for your site, we completely remove it. If it is needed, we find a comparable replacement that we install and configure as needed.
If you're not sure if a plugin is needed, we generally recommend deactivating the plugin (but not deleting it) to see if there are any meaningful impacts without it. If there are no issues, we go ahead and delete it.
In conclusion, we consider abandoned plugins a ticking time bomb: at some point, they are going to cause an issue with your website. So the sooner they are removed or replaced, the better!
If you need help with abandoned plugin or you're not even sure if you are using WordPress plugins that could cause an issue, please Contact Us for a free initial review and evaluation.