WordPress Plugins – Replacing Old Plugins With Newer Ones To Protect Site Stability and Security

wordpress logoTwo Similar Plugins 
Which To Use?

While these plugins may not apply to you… the process of quickly determining which plugin to use is a good skill to know! 

Recently, a marketer who had just changed his permalinks advised his followers to use the “Permalinks Moved Permanently” plugin to clean up any URL redirects that they might have missed when adding them to the .htaccess file. 

Sounds good… except… when you open the link for the plugin you discover that it’s a plugin that has not been updated since 2007… yikes! 

While the plugin does work at this moment… such an old plugin is a nasty time-bomb waiting to break your site (or cause you to get hacked).

The plugin is a settings-less plugin that simply looks at a visited URL … and if it does not exist… tries to match it to a URL slug that does exist. It tells Google a “301 code” which is what Google needs, improving traffic and improving the user experience. All automagically. 

What it does not do is actually patch the .htaccess file so it is really only a band-aid. 

No sense in using a dirty band-aid!  

A plugin like this is useful in the short interval while you are getting all of your redirects rewrote in your htaccess file. It ensures that Google won’t find broken links while giving you a short window to get things set up correctly.

A quick walk through the WordPress repository finds us “Change Permalink Helper” which is functionally the same plugin.

In fact, because both plugins are (correctly) GPL licensed, there is a good chance that this is a later version of the original, by another developer.

And… we notice that it was last updated 2 months ago! Yay! (And has plenty of 5 star ratings)

This simple “switcheroo”… from a dangerous older plugin… to a newer version that does similar things… is an important part of keeping your WordPress site safe, stable, and secure!

If you’ve been blogging for two years or more (or ever consulted an old top plugin list), you would be very wise to go through your current plugins (both active and inactive) and check them against the WordPress repository to make sure that they are still listed AND updated within the last 2 years.

While occasionally an old plugin will remain both safe and viable (such as ReplyMe), this really is the exception rather than the rule!

Two  plugins that can, when used together, help us identify problematic plugins we may have installed are “No Longer In Directory” and “Better Plugin Compatibility Control“. 

Have you ever encountered trouble from an old or out of date plugin? 

~ Kim ~ 
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23 Comments on "WordPress Plugins – Replacing Old Plugins With Newer Ones To Protect Site Stability and Security"

2 years 7 months ago

WP will always remind the user if a newer version is available of the plugins they have installed and I will always update to this later version.

You quite rightly point out though that there are plugins that are never maintained and can pose a threat to user sites, the best policy is to use recommended plugins by well established authors, or if you are feeling flushed go for a paid version.

Thanks for the article Kim

2 years 7 months ago

That’s great that new plugins appear and we have an opportunity to use them and to be sure in our security and feel safe

Julia Spencer’s recent post.. Awesome Facebook Templates For Personal Pages

2 years 7 months ago

Hi Kim, Great post. I fail miserably at updating old plugins, but I know I should, for the reasons you suggest. One thing I’m better at is when installing new plugins to my site, I may find three similar plugins, but only add the one that has been updated the most recently. Plugins that say “Last updated 459 days ago,” will never be added to my site : )

2 years 7 months ago

Great advice Kim! A good reminder to go through my Plugins and make sure they are up to date. Quick question for you, is it best to completely delete a plugin if you are not using it at the moment and you don’t have it activated?

2 years 7 months ago

Hi Kim, Great advice. Most of the plugins we use are free and we don’t give them a second thought after we install them. I will definitely do a plugin audit to see which plugins need to be replaced with current plugins.

Thanks for bringing this important issue to our attention!