WordPress plugins can be a great asset to your website, helping to expand its functionality and design for a more user-friendly experience. Unfortunately, they can also serve as a way for malicious individuals to gain control of your website and its information.

These issues are alarmingly common. In fact, one research company found that WordPress plugin vulnerabilities increased an astounding 142 percent from 2020 to 2021. Other reports indicate that over half of all WordPress vulnerabilities are directly related to plugins.

Plugins often aren’t designed with security in mind, and the ever-changing nature of the web means that even a previously “secure” plugin can become out of date and present a security risk. 

Here is how you can keep your website safe from plugin-related threats.

1. Be Vigilant When Downloading New Plugins

Safety starts when you first download a new plugin for your WordPress site. Some developers will put more time into security than others. You should always strive to download reputable plugins from trusted marketplaces like WordPress’s own Plugin repository, which vets plugins before making them available.

You can also check the plugin’s user ratings and reviews, active installation stats, and updates and support documentation to determine if it is a good (and secure) fit for your site. You can also contact us to discuss your needs, and we can make recommendations to help you find the best options.

2. Regularly Update Your Plugins

Out-of-date plugins are one of the biggest causes of security issues on WordPress sites. Even when an update is available, it won’t necessarily be automatically downloaded to your site. If you don’t regularly update your plugins, you won’t just have a security risk — you may also experience worse site functionality.

Fortunately, the WordPress dashboard displays an icon to notify you when updates are available for your plugins. Regularly checking for (and making) needed updates is a must.

3. Scan For Vulnerabilities

Unfortunately, not all developers will continue updating their plugins. Over time, a plugin could experience security vulnerabilities — and no update is made to fix it. Services that monitor for potential security threats with your plugins can alert you when a plugin poses a risk. 

If a plugin does not have an update available, it is safer to delete it and replace it with a different plugin that offers similar functionality.

4. Delete Plugins You No Longer Want or Use

As you continue to update your site, you may stop using certain plugins or replace them with better alternatives. However, you need to do more than just “stop using” them. Inactive plugins should be deleted entirely. Not only do they still pose a security risk if they aren’t updated, but they will continue to consume server space, which could slow down your website’s speed and worsen the user experience.

Using Plugins Safely

When kept up to date, reputable WordPress plugins can be a big benefit to your site — and Site Rockstar can help. Our website care plans include regular theme and plugin updates to ensure that your website is always up to date, functioning properly, and less likely to suffer from a hack. We’ll take on the burden of managing plugins so you have one less thing to worry