WordPress Plugins, Themes, Third-Party Add-ons/Extensions

After almost 20 years building out content management systems and 10+ years working specifically with WordPress websites, we have accumulated a great deal of knowledge about what themes, plugins and other third-party add-ons work well together to ensure a secure, efficient and well-managed website.

Obviously, all software should support the design and development requirements of the website, be compatible with the content management framework and other installed software and, of course, perform the user functions you need it to do. Aside from the basics, what are some other considerations when it comes to selecting the perfect theme and set of plugins?

The first thing we consider at DEV805 when choosing plugins is how well-supported they are. If a plugin hasn’t been updated in a year, or has only been updated once in the past year, perhaps that’s not the best plugin to select for your website. Why? Because you want to know that when a bug is discovered, the developers are still actively supporting their product and resolving any issues that might pop up. It’s rare that a plugin is so simple that it doesn’t require any updates for an entire year. Look for plugins that have been consistently and recently updated.

The next consideration is likelihood of long-term survival and support of the plugin/theme. The last thing you want to do is build a website for a client only to discover that a vital piece of code your website relies on has been abandoned because the developers have decided to sunset their product. Choosing products that have been updated consistently and recently is one indicator that a theme or plugin will continue to be supported, but you also need to stay on top of news in the industry to know what’s going on with various app developers. This might mean subscribing to developer newsletters to see what’s happening in their corporate world.

For some clients, the country of origin is important. US government clients may have restrictions on plugins developed outside of the United States being used to support US government websites. Similar restrictions may apply to other governmental entities in other countries.

Compatibility with hosting services should not be neglected. It is important to verify each application’s system requirements including factors such as PHP version, PHP and web server extensions, memory and processor consumption and compare to what is furnished by the hosting provider. Some hosting services may place restrictions on plugins that consume a large amount of processing power or disk bandwidth by preventing installation of these plugins or limiting the frequency of their usage. This is the case with several popular backup plugins.

Below is a table of plugins we support and any relevant notes based on our experience developing websites over the years.