How do I know if a WordPress plugin is secure?
In this article, we will talk about plugins and finding the ones that are less likely to open security vulnerabilities for you and your site.
Because of the nature of plugins, it is unfortunately possible that some are less secure than others. However, there are ways to help ensure that the plugins you use are more secure. There is no fool-proof way to determine if a plugin is 100% secure or not, but there are ways weed out the less secure ones.
Always check the reviews of a plugin and make sure that it has a decent rating and that it has enough reviews to make its rating count. For example, if a plugin has a 5 star review, but only 3 people left reviews, that 5 star review may not mean much. You may be better off in that situation to continue looking for other options with a more solid review status.
Always search for a plugin you are about to install and make sure that none of the results show issues with security. Sometimes you may find something regarding a security hole, if you do, check the version number, the date and the nature of the security hole. It may have been patched.
One search term you can use is “[plugin name] + security“. Using that type of search terms should help narrow down the results and help you find any possible security issues with the plugin.
Read comments about the plugin on both the WordPress plugin market as well as any pages that appear in your search results. A lot of times if a plugin has issues (like a security issue), you will find it in the comments about the plugin.
However, keep in mind that some “issues” that may be talked about in the comments might just been an issue relating to the person trying to use the plugin. Because of this, each comment should be considered with a grain of salt.
Check the last time the plugin was updated. If a plugin has not been updated in more than a month or two you can not only run into compatibility issues with the current version of WordPress, but it could also show that the developer is not actively working on the plugin and in turn not fixing any security problems that may have been discovered.
Review the Code
If you have any programming experience, you can review the code to see how it is structured and how the code is laid out. While this is never a guaranteed way of knowing if a plugin is secure or not, it will give you an insight into the programmer and how well he works with his code. If the code appears to be a mess, it may not be the best option for you.
Once again, this is never a surefire way of telling if a plugin is secure but it may be a clue.
No plugin is perfect. But with the information above, it should help you to reduce the possibility of installing insecure plugins on your site.