How to ensure the right fit between plugins and add-ons?

As the preferred choice for e-commerce websites, WordPress features an array of tools to assess the compatibility of plugins and add-ons. The WordPress Plugin Directory serves as a useful resource for determining the compatibility of different plugins, courtesy of scores of everyday users.

At last count, some 57,071+ plugins were available for WordPress e-commerce websites, making the task of evaluating compatibility an important one. The listing of WordPress plug-ins encompasses a wide range of categories such as popular plugins, beta plugins, and featured plugins. Essential plugins for WordPress include the likes of:

  • Yoast SEO – a top-ranking WordPress plugin for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a great fit for optimizing your e-Commerce website with meta titles, meta descriptions, and meta keywords.
  • WooCommerce – a powerful WordPress plugin that is 100% free to use and ideal for creating an incredible online store with top-class themes, customized pages, and an amazing display of goods and services for your e-Commerce platform. Plus, WooCommerce is an essential solution for simplifying taxes, payments, and shipping et al. A must have plugin.
  • Sucuri – beef up the security of your WordPress site with this powerful security plugin. It increases speed and makes it much easier to process PHP scripts. Expect rapid loading every time. That means less bounce and more stick!

As part of the WordPress ecosystem, plugins serve an important purpose for e-commerce websites. In fact, e-commerce platforms would not be functional without these plugins. These plugins and add-ons are similar in many ways to the apps that you download to your Android or iOS smartphone, or tablet.

While WordPress features some 57,071+ plug-ins, professional developers have proprietary plugins, and other third-party hosts such as GitHub feature scores more. These bits of software are integral to the functionality, performance, and synergy of all aspects of your e-commerce website. Among the many benefits of using WP plugins and add-ons are the following:

  • A professional blog
  • Creating an e-commerce site
  • Kickstarting a podcast website
  • Creating a functional business directory
  • Building a photography, journalism, or art website

Plugins and add-ons – as their namesake suggests – are added to your e-commerce website to make it work the way you want it to work. Plugins can be created for any number of purposes, including enhancing the user experience, improving search engine optimization, allowing for multimedia functionality, and adding contact information, among others.

The challenges occur when e-commerce websites feature multiple plug-ins and add-ons, some of which may conflict with one another. When this happens, it adversely affects the user experience and is counter-productive to generating leads, sales, and repeat business.

Feel free to read more here about how to troubleshoot your WordPress e-commerce website for identifying the source of conflicts and possible remedies for these challenges.

What types of problems can you expect with conflicting plugins?

Believe it or not, plugin conflicts occur from time to time. Unfortunately, these incompatibilities usually render the most important plug-ins on your e-commerce website dysfunctional. This is particularly true if your website has multiple plugins operating simultaneously. Before you do anything, ensure that you have 100% complete backups of your e-commerce website prior to making any modifications to your website.

You will want to be completely sure that the latest version of WordPress is running at all times, including your WordPress themes, and add-ons. Many e-commerce website users have thanked their lucky stars for having complete backups before significant changes/updates were made. If problems arise after the plugins and add-ons are updated, you can always revert back to the older versions.

Since WordPress is a dynamic platform, there are constant updates being made to the ecosystem. The problem with running outdated WordPress plug-ins is that they will not function optimally, if at all, on updated versions of WordPress. If the plugin is not supported or maintained, it will invariably have compatibility issues with the latest version of WP. Sometimes, older add-ons and plugins are no longer available for download after you have updated WordPress, and you will have to install others.

For safety’s sake, WordPress experts highly recommend creating local development versions of your e-commerce website. You can do this with applications such as WAMP or MAMP on a local PC, Mac, or mobile device. This is great for testing and amending individual plug-ins that have recently been installed. Before you go live on the Internet, you can check out the functionality and compatibility of different plugins and add-ons.


Incompatible plugins make for poorly performing e-commerce websites

Conflicts typically result in poorly performing, erratic, or non-performing features, functions, and actions on your website. Some plugins and add-ons will not work with one another period. Users may find that the UX is severely compromised. This does not bode well for conversions, or customer satisfaction. Best practice methodology is to update your plugins one at a time. When done this way, you can immediately tell which plugins are creating the compatibility problems.

This is a much better approach than updating plugins at the same time. If problems still persist, it is possible to enlist the services of WordPress plugin forums for free and premium add-ons. If you have tried everything, and the problem cannot be resolved, you may need to search for an alternative plugin. Fortunately, WordPress and third-party developers make tens of thousands of plug-ins available to users, so you won’t be wanting for options.

WordPress makes a point of providing information on which plugins to disallow to ensure the best possible scalability and efficiency of hosting operations. Plugins range from backup plugins to caching plugins, from FSA plugins to SQL plugins, and automated plugins to email plugins, et al. Luckily, WP has already identified a great many plugins and add-ons that are problematic and are not allowed. In their place, WP advises clients to use things like third-party solutions which can easily be integrated onto your e-commerce website.

Many developers try to keep their plugins updated, but this is certainly not the case for all of them. Code is often fraught with problems. As you can expect with open-source software, inconsistencies and problems are likely to come up from time to time. As the world’s premier selection for e-commerce, WordPress themes, add-ons and plugins often face incompatibility issues.

Fortunately, there are usually easy fixes available. Some solutions simply require updating the software for the plugin, while others require replacement with an updated and enhanced plugin, or add-on. Either way keep the plugins to a minimum – whatever is required for maximum functionality and performance!

Photographs by StockSnap and Werner Moser