7 Ways To Avoid Plugin Conflicts In WordPress

One of the joys of customizing and running your own blog or website is the freedom to choose your own plugins. There are tons of them and plenty are even free, it’s like a digital buffet for WordPress. Of course, too much of anything can be bad and plugin conflicts are a thing you should certainly not ignore.

Look, WordPress’ plugin repository may be an international buffet, but not all the food goes well with one another. One chef makes baby back ribs while the other makes salmon sushi and if they combine both in one plate, you’ll likely be asking for the manager. Okay, let’s drop the food analogy here since it’s making us hungry. What we’re saying is, each plugin developer codes their plugins differently and this can result in plugin conflict.

As with all conflicts and issues, however, prevention is better and less expensive than cure. Learning how to prevent plugin conflicts can save you a lot of time and effort in the future. So, we’ve made a list of things you can perform to save yourself a plugin-induced headache.

Avoid installing outdated plugins

As a rule of thumb, always remember to check if the plugin you want is still supported and is compatible with the latest WordPress version. WordPress usually tells you which is which and indicates just how outdated a specific plugin is.

There are instances where your installed plugins might become outdated without you knowing, however. That means you’ll eventually have to check in on them periodically. Every three months or so, you’ll want to go the WordPress plugin page of the plugin and see how long it has been since it was last updated. As long as it’s still compatible with the latest WordPress version, that should be good enough.

Don’t install too many

Now, you might get tempted to grab as many plugins as you can for each mundane task on your website but that might not be a good idea in hindsight. Apart from slowing down your website, it also increases the likelihood that of plugin conflicts on your website. This might be the case especially with unpopular plugins that don’t have thorough support compared to others.

In this case, less is more when it comes to installing plugins. The benefits of having plugins that you only need on an essential basis far outweigh an extravagant plugin library. Having way too many plugins than you need can also increase the likelihood that some of them have overlapping functions. That in itself can cause many conflicts as well once they start their specialized tasks.

Update plugins individually

This one could be a hassle and can be timeconsuming but it’s better than not knowing what’s wrong with your website after a mass plugin update. Updating your plugins one-by-one means you can check which of them is causing a conflict with another. You can then roll them or your whole website back to their previous functioning versions.

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So instead of using the button to automatically update everything, you might want to take your time instead and meticulously update each plugin. You don’t even have to do it every day, a weekly or monthly schedule could do and should save you the trouble of playing guesswork if ever a plugin or two suddenly stopped working or your whole website goes buggy.

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Check the plugins’ support forums

Each and every plugin in WordPress’ plugin store actually displays how much the plugin users loved or hated the software. However, those five-star ratings don’t always show the full story. Some plugins could have a hidden or undiscovered incompatibility with others that only the users can unearth.

On the WordPress plugin page of the plugin, look for the “Support” tab. You’ll usually find a mini-forum in this tab with plenty of people discussing all the matters involving the plugin. Simply check for any conflict or problems with the plugin to see if the software is more trouble than it’s worth.

Have a demo site

Having a demo or staging website on your localhost is another great way to do a test run for any plugin you suspect might not be problem-free. Because if a plugin causes problems on the demo site, then chances are, your actual live site isn’t safe or exempted. A demo website is basically a clone of your actual website often installed in your computer’s hard drive.

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It may sound complicated but it can be as simple as installing a plugin. You can even install a demo or staging website through a plugin. That function typically comes bundled with backup or migration plugins and these can handle your demo site setup. Keep in mind that a demo or staging site has many uses other than testing plugins and having one goes a long way.

Always have a backup of your website

If you’ve installed a plugin that lets you do an easy demo site setup, then chances are, you already have a good backup plugin. If you don’t want a plugin to handle the backups, you can always let dedicated software or other websites handle it for you. The bottom line, however, is that you always want a backup of a working phase of your website.

This way, if a plugin messes everything up and somehow causes a domino effect, you can always revert your website back to a time when it was working. Like demo sites, website backups, particularly the automatic ones, have many other functions that can save your website apart from rogue plugins.

Do the same for themes

Unsurprisingly, plugins not only come in conflict with each other but also with other aspects of WordPress. Sometimes it even causes problems with WordPress itself depending on the plugin. To that end, it can also cause problems with themes and vice versa. That’s why it’s important {(but not mandatory) to repeat the steps you did here for your themes.

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This way, you can ensure good harmony between your themes and your plugins. Once you’ve crossed plugin conflicts out of your problem list for WordPress, you’ll be more productive and shift your focus on other aspects.

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