We do not actively ban or restrict plugins you can use on your website(s). You are free to use any and all plugins you want. There are, however, some plugins that utilize more than their fair share of resources (potentially causing us to ask you to upgrade to a dedicated plan), others we dislike, and some that simply don’t work very well with our hosting platform.
These are general guidelines and we’ll update this article over time as more information becomes available.
Plugins to Avoid #
Broken Link Checker #
Notorious for causing performance issues and being a resource hog. So much so, it is banned by some of the other popular hosting providers. There are free, non-WordPress alternatives that won’t eat up your servers resources. Check out ahrefs free tool instead.
For a hassle-free solution, our Performance & Reporting plan includes a quarterly broken link report.
WP Bakery #
It has definitely improved over time, but when there are services that exist dedicated to cleaning up after it, something is seriously wrong with how it is implemented. We cannot see a use case where this plugin makes any sense. There are much better alternatives available these days such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Divi that work much better and are so much easier to work with. Even WordPress’s own build-in Gutenberg has matured enough to recommend it.
Revolution Slider #
There is no doubt, you can build some really cool sliders with it. It’s just bloated, slow, and has had severe security flaws in the past reportedly resulting in 100,000+ hacked sites. Unfortunately we do not have a replacement recommendation for this one as any close alternative suffer some of the same problems.
In general, sliders aren’t great for conversions and we generally do not use or recommend them anymore.
Contact Form 7 #
Our team has mixed feelings about this one. We’ve seen a few issues with it recently (although the developer did fix them pretty quickly) and it loads on every page, regardless of whether it’s being used which slows down your website and uses more resources than necessary.
If you are using it, we highly recommend optimizing your website and only load it’s resources on the pages where a form is being used. You can accomplish this in a few ways:
- Code: you can follow these directions provided by the plugin’s author
- Free Plugin: Plugin Load Filter or Plugin Organizer might get the job done, though we haven’t used either
- Premium Plugin: Perfmatters or Gonzales are highly recommended
- Care Plan: We do quarterly performance reviews and implement optimizations on our Performance & Reporting plan
Enable Gzip Compression #
Gzip is already enabled by default on our hosting platform.
WP PHPMyAdmin #
This plugin is not a great idea to begin with and could pose some serious security risk.
The WordPress Plugin Repo banned this plugin after it was used to distribute malware. We’re including it here simply for that reason.
Duplicator is an excellent plugin, we have no hard feelings against it at all. It just doesn’t work well with our platform. Instead, if you really need a plugin to do some sort of migration that we’re not handling for you, we recommend Migrate DB Pro, All in One WP Migration, or Migrate Guru.
Caching Plugin Guidelines #
To prevent any conflicts with our server side caching, we recommend that you do not use any plugins other than the Nginx Helper and GridPane Redis Object Cache plugins we’ve installed and setup by default.
If you have requested that we disable our server caching, then you may want to check these out (in order):
- Swift Performance Lite (Free)
- Swift Performance Pro (Paid)
- WP Rocket (Paid)
- Simple Cache
- Cache Enabler
Start with Swift Performance and work your way down. Swift is likely the best non-server caching plugin available. The rest are pretty solid.
If you do move forward (or are already using one of these plugins), be sure to review more details about how our server side caching works
One final note, do not use Litespeed Cache as it is not compatible with our Nginx servers.
Don’t Use Nulled Plugins #
A Nulled Plugin is one that is a copy of a paid plugin but purchased from a third party.
This is just a bad idea. It’s theft and it’s inherently insecure. Nulled plugins may be modified to wreck your site, open up vulnerabilities, or steal information. Please don’t used nulled plugins on any of your websites.
Beware of Themeforest #
As a general guideline, we stay clear of Themeforest.
There are undoubtedly some well made, high-quality themes on Themeforest. However, a huge amount of the themes available are ultra bloated, poorly constructed, and poorly maintained. Many are also insecure as the plugins they’re bundled with often have no way to update to the latest version. This is just asking for trouble.
Getting a refund for a crap, unsupported, unusable and/or outdated theme is next to impossible. If the theme you buy isn’t a great seller then I wouldn’t expect updates or timely support.
A good rule of thumb is to check whether the theme demo is the up-to-date version of that theme. If it isn’t, then approach with caution.
If you’re confident that a specific Themeforest theme is solid, great. If you are unsure, save yourself the hassle, and go with a reputable, well supported theme with a good user base and history of good support and good reviews.
Themes We Recommend and Like #
There are several great themes out there, but here are a few that we have used, like, and have good reputations: