As a piece of software, plugins contain a set of functions. The developers nowadays take advantage of plugins to add feature or functionality to web applications without writing longer lines of code. At the same time, plugins also make it easier for programmers to customize and extend the web applications according to precise business needs. WordPress enables programmers to add features or functionality to website by availing a variety of plugins written in PHP programming language.
At present, developers can choose from over 40000 free plugins in WordPress Plugin Directory. Some of these plugins improves the website’s backend, whereas others add specific features to the website’s user interface. WordPress even allows programmers to write custom plugins in PHP according to specific requirements. But the developers must understand the pros and cons of using plugins in WordPress to deliver high quality websites and web applications.
Advantages of Using Plugins in WordPress
Choose from a Wide Range of Plugins
The statistics posted on various websites depict that WordPress provides more plugins than other content management systems. The developers even have option to use over 40000 plugins without increasing project overheads. The large number of plugins makes WordPress score over other content management systems. Also, the developers can choose from a number of similar plugins for the website’s frontend or backend.
Accelerate Frontend and Backend Development
Nowadays, developers need to build websites that meet precise business requirements and deliver optimal user experience. They have to write lengthy and complex code to add features to the websites. The plugins enable developers to add features to the website without writing any code. The users can even take advantage of plugins to build WordPress websites without being proficient in frontend and backend web technologies.
Simplify Website Maintenance
In addition to accelerating custom web application development, the WordPress plugins even help programmers to maintain the website smoothly. The developers can extend the functionality of existing WordPress applications by installing specific plug-ins. Likewise; they can easily update the WordPress applications by upgrading or replacing specific plugins.
Overcome Shortcomings of WordPress
WordPress was originally developed as a blogging platform. It still lacks some of the built-in features and tools provided by robust website builders. The plugins make WordPress more popular than robust website building tools by enabling programmers to create forms, implement caching, optimize images, perform search engine optimization, integrate social media, and enhance security. Also, the developers can use robust plugins like WooCommerce to convert WordPress websites into fully-functional ecommerce websites.
Option to Write Custom Plugins
In addition to taking advantage of the existing plugins, the developers also have option to write custom WordPress plugins. Any programmer proficient in PHP programming language can write custom plugins by following WordPress naming conventions and best practices. The custom plugins enable developers to add features to the website without impacting its performance and security. The programmers also have option to make the new plugins available for download.
Disadvantages of Using Plugins in WordPress
Quality of Plugins Differ
WordPress allows developers to choose from a number of identical plugins. But the quality of individual WordPress plugins differs. Some of these free plugins lack adequate support and are not updated regularly. Hence, the developers have to replace the abandoned or obsolete plugins frequently to make the website deliver richer user experience.
Slow down the WordPress Application
Plugins May not be Compatible with Each Other
WordPress is supported by a large and active community. The members of WordPress community develop and distribute new plugins at frequent intervals. But they often do not update the plugin for the latest version of WordPress. Also, the plugins developed by various developers may not be compatible with each other. Hence, it becomes essential for developers to resolve compatibility issues between various plugins to make the website run smoothly.
Make Applications Vulnerable to Targeted Security Attacks
Some of these WordPress plugins are written by skilled PHP programmers, whereas others are developed by novice web developers. Hence, there are many WordPress plugins which are unsecured and poorly coded. The loopholes in the source code of such plugins impact the website’s security directly and negatively. The cyber criminals often take advantage of the vulnerabilities in the unsecured plugins to hack WordPress websites and execute targeted malware attacks.
On the whole, WordPress simplifies web application development and maintenance by allowing users to choose from a wide range of plugins. It even allows programmers to write custom plugins to according to specific needs. But the developers must remember that the quality of individual WordPress plugins differs. Also, they need to ensure that the plugins are not impacting the website’s speed and user experience adversely.