Should I Install WordPress Plugins Myself?

smiling man scrolls on mobile device

While adding a plugin might seem like a magic button to upgrade your site, there might be more drawbacks than you realize.

The right WordPress plugin can help your website — but the wrong plugin can hurt your site, so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with before using one. A plugin is simply a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to your already existing WordPress site. It can extend current functionality on your website or add new features to it. While plugins can be great additions to your site, they can also be extremely tricky to deal with, and an extensive knowledge in programming is needed to avoid all of the possible problems that come with them.

For starters, there are now over 46,000 plugins available, and choosing amongst them is only a small part of the potential problems. Too many plugins can slow down your website, so it’s essential to know exactly what you need, and what will only weigh your site down. A lot of functionality that a plugin brings to the table can be done by adding a simple snippet of code instead — your site developer will know when a plugin is actually necessary to do what you want.

Even if you have all the criteria needed to install plugins to your site yourself (Server Hostname, FTP username and password, connection type, or an extensive knowledge in programming if you’re installing manually), we don’t recommend it because the list of things that can go wrong is practically endless. WordPress plugin conflicts are by far the most common issue that WordPress users face — if you’ve never experienced a blank screen or a wacky looking theme after installing a plugin, you’re lucky.

Prevention is the best care you can give when using WordPress plugins. It’s extremely important to test a plugin thoroughly, and just clicking around on your site after installing a new plugin won’t cut it. More often than not, plugin conflicts are hidden and don’t show up until very specific circumstances occur. For example, maybe the plugin conflict only arises when customers access recurring payments on your site, but doesn’t arise with one-time payments. So you’ll want to run every single major functionality on your site to make sure no conflicts arise once your site is live.

Essentially, for the best results, it’s best to leave all of the plugin installation and maintenance to your web developer, because plugins sure need a lot of maintenance: Avoiding out-of-date plugins, updating ones that should be updated, knowing what you’re updating when you’re updating, and preventing your plugins from butting heads with other plugins or your theme are just a few things that your web developer can spend time on where you can’t. It’s tricky business, so save yourself (and the people visiting your website) the headache. Have a plugin that seems like it does exactly what you’re looking for? Let us know; our Support Team can vet plugins and let you know if a plugin is the best solution for the problem you’re trying to solve.

young woman with long dark hair smiles

When she’s not playing the cello or brewing up a cup of coffee, Madison is working as a freelance writer. She has previously been published in Good Grit Magazine, Montevallo Today and The Alabamian. Madison likes to spend her time away from the keyboard rock climbing with her fiancé, David, and watching The Devil Wears Prada with Milo, her cat, curled in her lap.


See more articles from Madison Griggs