Recently, I was doing a search for plug-ins to fix a specific problem. It was easy to find and install using Plugins and Add New from within WordPress. However, the info that displayed was a subset of what was available. In hindsight, I wish I had done the same search against https://wordpress.org/plugins/ because it would’ve saved me some heartache.
Close But No Cigar
One thing I appreciate about WordPress is the community. People are willing to share information and support. In the case of plugins, this might be in the form of user-submitted reviews or support requests. From my perspective, both are important when evaluating plugins. What I discovered after the fact is that where you search for plugin information matters.
As example, when I search within WordPress for WordPress HTTPS, this is what I saw.
On the surface, it looks like I have access to all the items I need to make a decision. But do I? Look at the image above and then compare it to the one below. I added the red outline to make it easier.
You’ll notice the info provided within WordPress is a subset of what you get if you were to visit WordPress.org. The key item I needed was the Support tab. I think looking at peoples’ support issues can be critical when evaluating a plugin. I’ve also learned that I should review this Support tab prior to doing software updates. This is where you see many of those compatibility issues arise that might map to your environment.
Slicing and Dicing WordPress PlugIn Info
In addition to WordPress, there are other services that provide plugin information. One new one is from ManageWP.org. They have created a service that quantifies data in the repository, but added some of their own. As example, they have created a proprietary “Quality Score” that incorporates:
- Last Update
- WordPress Compatibility
- Plugin Popularity
- Author Popularity
- Other author plugins
This quality score is a new measurement I’ve not seen, but find intriguing. It’s something I think a lot of us want to see and possibly standardized. Still, I wouldn’t solely rely on one stat to make a decision.
The service also has several predefined searches. One that might appeal to folks is Best New Plugins. This is probably handy for people that haven’t found their solution yet or are plugin reviewers.