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WPCandy, my favorite website for WordPress news, started a post series called, "Behind the Site."  Pretty self-explanatory: they showcase a nice site built with WordPress, then talk about how it was made.

 

The highlight for me is when they reveal which plugins they use.  It's fun to discover cool plugins I never knew about before. 

 

To kick things off, WPCandy did a profile of itself.  I have to say, that is the longest list of plugins I've seen anywhere.  They have a good reason, though.  WPCandy is actually 5 websites: a blog, a forum, a professional directory, a podcast, and a video site.  Did I miss one?  By taking on so many roles, WPCandy can't help but use a ton of plugins. 

 

I'm curious, what are your policies on installing plugins?

 

Some of my criteria:

 

--A well-known developer, e.g. Yoast.  Reputation goes a long way.

 

--Recommended by a WordPress blog I trust, e.g. WPCandy.

 

--100,000 downloads or more.  The more widely it's used, the more likely it will keep being updated.

 

--Updated within the last year.  Matt Mullenweg announced in his 2011 "State of the Word" that any plugins that haven't been updated in 2 years would be hidden from search results.  An elegant, simple solution to what could have been a complex problem. 

 

--If the plugin page has a video tutorial of how to install and use it.  This is a bonus, since it's not that common.  A good example is Admin Management Xtended.  The description doesn't capture how cool and useful it is, but the video does.

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Replies to This Discussion

Developer reputation is a huge factor for me.

 

Track record, documentation and developer responsiveness go a long way as well.  

 

Manual code review for any plugins users can directly interact with is a must.  XSS and SQL injection are still all too common when it comes to plugins, templates and themes.

 

I sometimes avoid plugins that shy from using a well documented WP API, especially the DB API.  One trick I'll occasionally use is to see how many depreciated functions and features are used within a plugin.  This can help you avoid soon-to-be and already obsolete plugins.

Great advice, Josh.  Thanks for linking to that post about deprecated functions.  Very informative.
I try to keep wordpress as minimal as possible.  The more plugins the more performance/server will be hit, though W3 Total Cache and similar will mitigate that.
W3 Total Cache is great. :)   I really wish they would include caching into the WP Core.
Great writeup Marcus, thanks for sharing!

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