Worst WordPress Plugins for WordPress Site in 2024

By Bhargab
26 Min Read

Worst WordPress Plugins: WordPress is a popular content management system, in part because it is free and offers a wide selection of plugins to extend its functionality. While plugins can enhance your site, not all are high-quality or well-maintained. Some plugins pose security risks if they have not been updated recently. When choosing plugins, opt for those that are actively developed to ensure continued compatibility and security updates. Vet plugins thoroughly, read reviews, and check when they were last updated. Quality plugins from reputable developers can add useful features without putting your site at risk. Avoid outdated or abandoned plugins, as their code may contain unpatched vulnerabilities. With due diligence, you can build a WordPress site that balances functionality, security, and performance using a selective mix of high-quality plugins.

How can one identify a quality plugin?

Quality WordPress plugins often rise to popularity organically based on positive user experiences. Telltale signs of an excellent plugin include a high user rating, a large active install base, continuous compatibility updates for current WordPress versions, and recent maintenance showing an engaged developer. The best-in-class plugins for categories like contact forms get discussed and recommended online as popular options many site owners choose for their needs. Rather than weed out subpar plugins, it is more efficient to identify the cream of the crop that already has widespread positive use cases and recommendations. If a plugin has gained critical mass with a large base of satisfied users, maintains compatibility, remains actively updated, and earns rave reviews – it likely delivers premium utility for its niche that will benefit your site as well. Seeking out these diamonds in the rough can spare you from sorting through outdated or vulnerable plugins.

Here are effective tips for identifying the best plugins for a WordPress site:

  1. Check User Ratings and Reviews: The best plugins have overwhelmingly positive user feedback and high ratings and reviews. This validates their usefulness to real users.
  2. Assess Downloads/Installs: Popular plugins with a large active user base tend to be vetted. High downloads and installs indicate positive adoption.
  3. Verify Regular Updates: Frequent plugin updates signal an active developer and commitment to maintenance and compatibility. This ensures continued security.
  4. Check Developer Reputation: Research the plugin author/company. Established developers with quality support inspire confidence in their offerings
  5. Evaluate Performance Impact: Test plugins to gauge their effect on site speed and resources. Efficient plugins won’t slow things down.
  6. Check Compatibility: Ensure compatibility with your current WordPress version, theme, web host, PHP version, and other plugins. This avoids conflicts.
  7. Review Feature Set: Assess if the plugin’s features match your needs. Too basic or too bloated wastes effort. The feature set should align closely with requirements.
  8. Check Support Options: Quality plugins offer timely customer support through forums, docs, chat, etc. This provides troubleshooting assistance.

Choosing plugins vetted by a large, satisfied user base and an engaged, reputable developer offering regular updates will lead you to the best options with minimal risk.

How can the Worst WordPress Plugins be identified?

Here are some ways to identify a bad or problematic WordPress plugin:

  1. Check User Ratings – Plugins with low user ratings or many negative reviews should raise a red flag. This signals real users have experienced issues.
  2. Verify Compatibility – Ensure the plugin is compatible with your current WordPress version and theme. Incompatible plugins can break sites.
  3. Check Last Update – An outdated plugin that hasn’t been updated recently may use outdated code or contain security vulnerabilities. Avoid plugins without updates in the past 6-12 months.
  4. Check Install Base – A very low install base compared to alternatives could indicate limited testing or user verification. Popular plugins are usually better supported.
  5. Review Plugin Company – Research the developer/company’s reputation for quality, support, security, etc. Avoid plugins from lesser-known/questionable sources.
  6. Assess Resource Use – Install the plugin on a test site and check its impact on site speed and resource utilization. Bloated or inefficient plugins can slow down sites.
  7. Scan for Conflicts – Test for conflicts with your theme, other plugins, widgets, etc. Some plugins are poorly coded and conflict-prone.
  8. Review Permissions – Check what user permissions and access levels the plugin requests. Overreaching permissions is concerning.

Err on the side of caution – if anything seems suspicious, buggy, or risky about a plugin, avoid installing it on a production site. Prioritize quality and security.

Here is a list of harmful plugins that you should avoid if you are a new blogger:

Worst WordPress Plugins 2024
Worst WordPress Plugins

1. Jetpack

Here are the potential downsides of using the Jetpack plugin that site owners should consider:

  1. Bloat – Being packed with many features, Jetpack can sometimes bloat sites with unnecessary code which impacts performance.
  2. Dependence – Sites become dependent on Jetpack, making disabling or removing the plugin more challenging without breaking features.
  3. Resource Heavy – Some site owners report Jetpack consuming substantial server resources which drives up hosting costs.
  4. Automatic Updates – Lack of control and testing for automatic background updates which can cause compatibility issues.
  5. Connecting Data – Some users express privacy/security concerns regarding requiring a WordPress.com connection to activate plugins and share data.
  6. Styling Conflicts – Potential issues with Jetpack’s design assets conflicting with existing site themes and styles.
  7. Locked Premium Features – Upsells can get aggressive to unlock full functionality, with key plugin features limited to paid tiers.
  8. Excess Features – The vast array of modules can overwhelm site owners, and make troubleshooting tricky with unused active modules.

In summary – the expanded attack surface, lack of control over updates, connected data sharing, performance drag and inability to remove dependencies mean Jetpack may not suit all site needs or risk tolerances despite its popularity. Assessing one’s specific requirements is advised.

Alternative Uses

Here are some alternative plugins to consider instead of Jetpack:

Security and Backups: Use VaultPress or UpdraftPlus for security scanning, malware detection, and automatic backups without needing a WordPress.com account. Both have free and paid options.

Performance: Use a dedicated caching plugin like WP Rocket or WP Fastest Cache to improve site speed. They offer more advanced performance optimization tools.

SEO: All-in-one SEO Pack Pro or Yoast SEO Premium has robust SEO enhancement features focusing solely on search optimization.

Media: Enable default WordPress media handling, and expand functionality carefully only with standalone gallery, carousel, and slideshow plugins to avoid bloat.

Income: Instead of Jetpack’s affiliate links and payment buttons, use dedicated e-commerce plugins for stores – such as WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads.

Overall, using a targeted collection of standalone plugins for specific needs avoids excessive overhead and integration risks. Conduct due diligence in assessing plugin alternatives based on performance benchmarks, user experiences in forums, and compatibility, and consider both free and premium options to find the best fit. The array of quality WordPress plugins means sites can “roll their own” optimized stack.

2. Any Instagram Feed Plugin

Here are some potential downsides of using Instagram feed plugins that WordPress site owners should consider:

1. Suddenly Stops Working – Instagram changes its API frequently, breaking feeds relying on unofficial access without warning.

2. Privacy Issues – Broad permissions are sometimes requested to access user profiles and metrics for display. This raises privacy red flags.

3. Slows Down Sites – Unoptimized queries and embedding third-party content can negatively impact site speed.

4. Display Limitations – The Instagram feed display options may be constrained or less optimized for site visual design. 

5. Advertisements – Some plugins inject random Instagram ads which may distract visitors.

6. Difficult Customizing – Modifying feed layouts and visual styles can be tricky beyond the basic settings that plugins allow.

7. Requires Login/Auth – Needs users to reauthenticate Instagram access and renew permissions when they expire constantly.

8. Licensing Violations – Instagram’s terms prohibit displaying feeds without explicit commercial API approval. Could risk site penalties.

In summary – any unofficial Instagram feed integration has inherent risks of sudden breakage, performance, and customization limitations. Manual embedding for selected visual content may be safer than broad profile pulls. Officially sanctioned channels like Creator Accounts offer more reliability.

Alternative Uses

Rather than embedding a live Instagram feed that risks performance problems or sudden breakages, a safer approach is to manually curate Instagram highlights. Select specific Instagram images you have already posted to assemble into an Instagram-style gallery showcase on your blog using multiple side-by-side columns with 6 images each. You can recreate the look of an Instagram carousel post while linking to your relevant Instagram accounts.

The advantage of manually aggregating visual highlights versus dynamically pulling a live feed is reliability, site speed, and control. You can take time to pick your best images to convey the Instagram account’s purpose without inundating blog visitors. And since you can update this custom gallery less frequently, it saves effort while maintaining attractive visual content that followers can link through to Instagram from recent photo history. Focused, intentional curation beats fragile automation.

3. Woocommerce

Here are some potential downsides of using the WooCommerce plugin that some users should consider:

  1. Can Slow Sites – As an expansive plugin, WooCommerce can impact site performance if not properly optimized. Requires extra configuration.
  2. Steep Learning Curve – With so many settings and options for stores, the plugin has a steep learning curve, especially for new users.
  3. Dependent Stores – Stores become heavily dependent on WooCommerce, making disabling or removing the plugin challenging.
  4. High Customization Needs – Realistically requires deep customizations via CSS, hooks, widgets, etc. for polished storefronts. Extra work/skills needed.
  5. Ongoing Maintenance – As with any e-commerce platform, WooCommerce stores need regular security updates, testing, and fixing compatibility issues each time WordPress or plugin updates.
  6. Limited Support – With the free version, site owners get access to community support only. Paid support is expensive at $299 per year per site.
  7. Additional Costs – Free WooCommerce core software needs payment gateways, shipping carriers, etc. so hidden costs apply for a working store.

In summary – users with limited WordPress skills or technical resources may struggle to set up, customize, secure, and maintain complex WooCommerce stores long-term. The plugin’s complexity also impacts performance. As such, non-technical site owners or very small-scale stores may be better served by simpler, lightweight e-commerce solutions. Getting clarity on the level of effort needed is key before adoption.

Alternative plugins

Here are some solid alternative e-commerce plugins to consider instead of WooCommerce:

Easy Digital Downloads – Lightweight plugin optimized for selling digital products like ebooks, music, and software. Simplicity and speed make it easier for non-tech users.

Shopify – Hosted e-commerce platform. More limited flexibility but handles security, speed, and scalability well suited to growing stores.

Ecwid – Third-party cloud-based e-commerce platform tightly integrated across WordPress. Outsources store infrastructure complexities.  

WP Simple Pay – Streamlined payments integration focused on selling services, taking donations, and event ticketing vs physical shops.

Stripe Payments – Build customized payment workflows for one-off and recurring payments using Stripe gateway.

MemberPress – Specialized WordPress membership plugin with a strong recurring payments engine and metered paywall features.

Overall, evaluate if an extensible do-it-all platform like WooCommerce is needed or if a lightweight payments-focused alternative aligns better with current and projected requirements. Consider options like managed SaaS platforms as well to offload the management overhead of stores for lean operations.

Here are some potential downsides of the Broken Link Checker plugin that WordPress site owners should consider:

  1. Resource Intensive – Running constant background link checks can consume server resources like CPU and memory, affecting site performance.
  2. False Positives – The plugin may incorrectly flag valid links as broken due to temporary server issues or site credentials needing reauthentication.
  3. Annoying Notifications – If thresholds aren’t adjusted, a flood of notifications can overwhelm and desensitize site admins about critical issues.
  4. Limited Flexibility – Configuration options are mostly targeted to developers vs ease-of-use focused. This makes customizations tricky.
  5. Steep Learning Curve – Understanding how to optimize authentication, crawling scheduling, and other advanced options involves a steep learning process.
  6. Imperfect Accuracy – Since automated checking cannot assess context like humans, some bad links get missed while good links get marked broken.

In summary – Broken Link Checker offers vital functionality but needs careful configuration tuning and interpretation of results filtered from false positives. Alternatives like manual periodic link audits may suit less technical users better depending on site size. The plugin’s crawling impact and potential for misidentifying threats need balanced evaluation.

alternative plugins

Here are some alternative options to consider instead of the Broken Link Checker plugin:

1. Manual Checking – Periodically manually verify links on key site pages. Less robust but more customized without server overhead.

2. Screaming Frog SEO Spider – Free power tool for developers to crawl links on-site more flexibly than an automated plugin offers.

3. Integrations – Enable link checking in all-in-one SEO tools like Yoast SEO Premium or SEOPress PRO with their dashboard alerts.

4. unbroken Link Checker – Client-side javascript plugin performs checks without server impact but is limited in scope.

5. On-Demand Scans – Use a specialized external broken link scanning service instead of constant checks when needed.

6. Page Builders – Some like Elementor have integrated broken link identification within their interface during page edits.

The right approach depends on available technical skills, site size, and resource limits. For lean sites, manual spot checks on high-priority pages combined with occasional full scans may deliver the best ROI. Strong alternatives exist to constant, passive tracking if the workflow fits better.

Here are some potential downsides of related post plugins that WordPress site owners should consider:

1. Irrelevant Content – Algorithms can match unrelated posts together based on loose keyword connections, confusing readers. 

2. Visual Design Disruption – Automatically inserted content can displace carefully designed page layouts and distract from key messages.

3. Slows Page Loads – Related content widgets can increase page size, hurting site speed, especially on mobile devices.

4. Ad Clutter – Some plugins inject banner/text ads rather than contextual post links to monetize, annoying visitors. 

5. Dependency Risks – Removing the plugin later can suddenly eliminate related content sections leaving gaps in site content flow.

6. Limited Control – Plugins offer minimal opt-in/opt-out flexibility for showing related post overrides on specific posts/pages. 

7. Privacy Issues – Users have little visibility on what behavioral/profile data gets tracked to serve “relevant” post suggestions that may seem invasive.

In summary, automated related posts rely on website owners surrendering contextual control and site performance for questionable accuracy and convenience. The costs in relevancy, speed, and design disruption need to be weighed carefully against benefits. Selective manual link curation often creates better visitor experiences.

alternative plugins

Here are some alternative options to consider instead of automated related posts plugins:

1. Manual Link Insertion – Carefully curated contextual links within the post content body or inserted via footnotes. More work but higher relevancy.

2. Tag Pages – Create content aggregation pages for specific topics/tags with curated related posts for readers to further discover.

3. Newsletter Recommendations – Use email newsletters and notifications to highlight related content to engaged subscribers.

4. Popular Posts Widget – Let your readers dynamically surface popular articles they read the most rather than plugin guesses.

5. Segmented Content Blocks – Reuse modular content units in multiple applicable articles for contextually relevant message reinforcement. 

6. Contextual Ads – If monetization is the goal, use Google AdSense units that target site search keywords instead of random plugin ads.

In summary, human-curated context beats algorithms. Evaluating where related content offers the most value through asking first principles rather than plugging in a widget keeps the focus on optimizing for visitors. This demands more effort but pays off in relevancy and revenue.

6. Grow. Me by Mediavine

Here are some potential downsides of using the Grow. Me plugin by Mediavine that site owners should consider:

  1. Resource Usage – The plugin’s constant analytics tracking in the background can consume extra server resources and slightly slow down site performance.
  2. Data Privacy – Grow. Me collects, transmits, and displays detailed site analytics which some users may be uncomfortable exposing publicly.
  3. Mediavine Lock-in – Getting locked into the Mediavine ecosystem can make migrating to other ad networks more challenging in the future.
  4. Limited Flexibility – Being optimized for Mediavine, customizing analytics displays and metrics beyond what Grow. Me allows requires expensive development.
  5. Steep Learning Curve – Understanding all the Mediavine-centric statistics and terminology displayed takes time for site owners unfamiliar with advertising KPIs.
  6. Ad Fatigue – With a primary focus on promoting Mediavine monetization programs, the persistent ads and recommendations to join those programs can fatigue site owners.

In summary, users outside the Mediavine network or looking for more configurable analytics may be better served by Google Analytics or standalone statistics plugins that offer wider flexibility. Site owners comfortable exposing in-depth traffic data to Mediavine and optimizing monetization through their network get the most from Grow. Me. However, its singular focus limits broader use cases.

alternative plugins

Here are some alternative analytics plugins to consider instead of Grow. Me:

1. Google Analytics – The industry standard free analytics platform. Tons of detailed data with flexible dashboard options albeit complex to master.

2. MonsterInsights – Popular Google Analytics plugin tailored for WordPress. Makes GA easy to connect and access key site stats.

3. Analytify – Robust Google Analytics plugin with advanced features like role-based stats access, custom reporting, etc.

4. Simple Analytics – Lightweight yet powerful privacy-focused analytics alternative without cookies/data sharing. 

5. WP Statistics – Basic yet customizable WordPress analytics and stats suitable for small sites.

6. Shake Analytics – Compliant analytics platform focused on essential, easy-to-understand site metrics.

Rather than getting locked into a single network’s analytics platform, consider standalone options that offer wider flexibility in displaying data, allow custom dashboard building, and integrate across various monetization models. The plugins above cater to users wanting core analytics beyond just optimizing Mediavine ad performance.

7. Contact Form 7

Here are some potential downsides of using the popular Contact Form 7 plugin that WordPress site owners should consider:

1. Steep Learning Curve – The plugin uses non-intuitive shortcodes and HTML markup for building form code that is challenging for non-developers.

2. Basic Features Only – Light on integrated features beyond contact form building blocks. Extra plugins are needed for automation, analytics, etc.

3. Performance Issues – Known for getting bloated and slowing sites down without careful limits on form size/use.

4. Spam Management – Very limited anti-spam recaptcha options unless integrating another plugin with a complicated additional setup. 

5. No Drag-and-Drop Editor – Form layout/styling is manually adjusted via CSS only, demanding design expertise.

6. Messy Validation – Client-side browser validation relies on HTML5 rather than cleaner server-side validation.

7. Limited Support – Some site owners complain of inadequate customer support response to issues. Reliant on forums/community.

In summary, Contact Form 7’s technical orientation makes it a poor match for less technical site owners looking for an intuitive, feature-rich contact form solution. The need for added plugins and design skills to achieve robust forms introduces more ways for things to break.

Alternative use

Here are some solid contact form plugin alternatives to consider instead of Contact Form 7:

WPForms – This very intuitive drag-and-drop form builder is packed with integrated features like spam blocking, multi-page forms, conditional logic, and analytics.

Formidable Forms – Advanced forms and form builder combined with surveys, polls, and quizzes in a user-friendly package.

Gravity Forms – A very powerful premium form builder option with extensive functionality, flexibility, and top-notch support.

Ninja Forms – Straightforward forms builder with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor and anti-spam filtering built-in.

FormCraft 3 – Modern contact form builder delivering complex multi-step forms without code using a visual editor. 

Fluent Forms – Lightweight but fully-featured contact form creator with great documentation and helpful support.

For non-developers wanting rich contact form functionality without fuss, the well-supported premium form builder plugins above eclipse Contact Form 7 without demanding users manually code everything.

Also Read: How to Grow Your Website Traffic Exponentially in 60 Days or Less: Discover Powerful Strategies

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