Avoid WordPress Plugin Overload

One of the greatest benefits of being a part of the WordPress community – is the access to the hundreds of thousands of existing plugins. A site owner can easily go from a vanilla site to something with a lot of functionality in a matter of minutes. On the same note – having access to all these plugins can easily cause more harm than help. Example: I recently worked with someone who was having problems with upgrading their site to the latest version of WordPress. I figured this would be a 30 minute task. After logging in and seeing they had over 60 plugins – 40+ which required upgrades – the task quickly grew.

Something to remember – plugins are not all created equally. Quick example – some plugin developers use best practices so that you do not have multiple copies of a javascript library loading while others will include multiple libraries regardless of what you may already have.

By keeping everything up to date is important – but I would also like to stress keeping a lean version of your site is equally important. If you need a certain custom functionality – take into consideration the server resources, time for updates/debugging, etc. versus what you really get from it. Debugging 1 plugin is manageable, debugging 10 plugins is a task, debugging 40 plugins is insanity. Also – if you decide that a plugin is just not working the way you expected – delete it and forget about. There is no reason you need to keep plugins that you do not need around. By keeping these files around – it also takes up valuable resources that could be better used elsewhere.

If you are looking for a fast and secure web site (who isn’t?) remember to keep it simple. Custom functionality is great – but don’t forget to think about the cost.

WordPress 2.8/Plugins Issues

I have updated over 25 sites so far and for the most part – everything has gone smoothly. There were a handful of sites though that had issues with a few plugins (including this site) due to one common issue: jQuery. If you are seeing any strange behavior – post upgrade, the first thing you will want to do is to make sure all your plugins are up to date. After that – if you are still having problems – check to see if any of your plugins rely on jQuery. If they do – next check the code (either look at the js files in the plugins, or look at your site’s source code to see if it is loading an old version of jQuery). There is a good chance they are using an older version, or are relying on something that no longer works with the latest release of jQuery (1.3.2 as of today).

Some plugin developers are aware of the issues but have not released an updated plugin. Because you are most likely not alone with your issues – check out their support forums, or post comments to see if someone came up with a quick fix so you can be back in business.

While most WordPress updates can be performed quickly and easily by almost any user – there are times when you run into unexpected problems that can cost you dearly. When this happens – don’t hesitate to call us. We have been working through WordPress updates for years and can help out!

SDAC Recommends: WP Plugin: NextGen Gallery

I get a lot of client requests for some sort of gallery plugin and it is clear to me now that the best gallery plugin for WordPress is: NextGen Gallery. The user interface is easy to use, the plugin is actively being developed, there are lots of options for the users, and it is a joy to work with. Out of the box it comes with a widget to load in recent or random images in your sidebar (or page) as well as an easy way to display single galleries or multiple galleries (albums). This is a must have for anyone who is looking for an elegant solution to display images.

SDAC Recommends: WP Plugin: WP Super Cache

There is a new (relatively) caching plugin in town for WordPress called WP Super Cache and after using it now for a few version, I have to say I would recommend this over the old standard WP-Cache plugin. The plugin is easy to install, easy to configure, and will produce a noticeable load time decrease for your WordPress sites. There are also options to set if you want to “digg-proof” your site, use compression, or “lock down” your site during an expected traffic spike.

WordPress Plugin Update: Akismet

Today Automattic released an update to the Akismet. This is a great plugin to help with comment spam and has been priceless on all the sites I manage. If you are not using this plugin, you can use it for free for personal sites, or pay $500 for commercial sites. Check it out!

SDAC Recommends: WP Plugin: Top Level Categories

If you have ever wondered how to clean up WordPress URLs by removing the /category/ from your URLs, check out the plugin: Top Level Categories. After you activate it, you can access your web pages that were once only reachable by: /category/web-design/ by now using just /web-design/.

SDAC Recommends: WordPress Plugin: Cool Player

After looking for a media player for WordPress sites and blogs, I have finally come to the conclusion that Cool Player is a great plugin to take a look at. A number of my clients need the ability to play a number of media files, and with an impressive list of supported media types, I recommend looking at Cool Player:

This version supports those types of files: rm, rmvb, ra, rv, ram, smil, smi, rtsp, rpm, asf, wm, wma, wmv, wax, wvx, ogg, ape, avi, mid, midi, wav, mms, m3u, asx, mov, qt, mqv, m4v, m4a, m4b, mpeg, mpg, m1s, m1v, m1a, m75, m15, mp2, mpm, mpv, mpa, flc, fli, cel, aiff, aif, aifc, cdda, bwf, rts, 3gp, 3gpp, 3g2, 3gp2, au, snd, ulw, smf, kar, qcp, sdv, gsm, amr, caf, amc, mp4, sdp, pdf, fdf, xfdf, xdp, xfd, gif, jpg, jpeg, bmp, png, xpm, dir, dxr, dcr, cst, cct, cxt, w3d, fgd, swa, swf, spl, mp3, flv, rtmp, rbs, xml, rss, xspf, atom.

SDAC Recommends: WP Plugin: Permalink Redirect Plugin

If you ever want to change your permalink structure in WordPress, but still want to have all your old URLs to work, download Permalink Redirect Plugin. This plugin will make sure that all your posts will get redirected to the new permalink structure you moved to without any hassle whatsoever. Not only will your readers be thankful, your SEO rank will not suffer with any URL reorganization.

SDAC Recommends: WordPress Plugin: My Page Order

If you need to display pages dynamically within WordPress, and want to order them (and their sub pages), check out the My Page Order WordPress plugin. This plugins allows the WordPress administrator to manage the page order from within the WordPress admin area without hard coding anything in your template.