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How to Manage Third-Party Plugins

by Celeste Caraker | May 20, 2024, 17:26 PM

When you’re a business owner busy juggling everything from purchasing orders to team morale, you may not think of your website often, let alone how to maintain its functionality. Maybe you work in manufacturing or an industrial field and the content doesn’t change that much or that often. Surely you can take a peek later, right? 

It can be daunting to add one more thing to your to-do list. However, when it comes to regular website maintenance, there’s one step you don’t want to skip: third-party plugin maintenance. It plays a critical role in keeping your website up and running seamlessly. Speed, responsiveness, and reliability are imperative in a world that is influenced heavily by digital impressions. 

Finally convinced you need to prioritize third-party plugin maintenance? Let’s get started. 

So…What Is a Third-Party Plugin? 

You may be familiar with plugins for your browser, but a third-party plugin for your website is different. Every website operates off a CMS (content management system). Different CMS platforms have different components and capabilities. Sometimes your CMS has everything you want, but it will often lack some functionality that would take your website to the next level. That’s where a third-party plugin comes in. 

Third-party means the plugin has been developed by someone else, not the CMS platform team. Plugin is used to signify that it’s an add-on, not something that is original to the CMS you’re working on. 

Common plugins you may use or want to use help manage things like contact forms, shopping carts, SEO, security, ecommerce functionality, social media integration, and news and events. 

Where Do I Go to Manage My Third-Party Plugins? 

This question can only be answered by your CMS. You’ll want to use tools, guides, and other resources from your CMS provider first. They’ve been vetted by a team of professionals who should be able to offer you the best advice available. One of the resources or a support team member should be able to quickly direct you to your third-party plugins. 

No matter what CMS you use, you’ll have to be logged into the back end of your website to access plugins. If you don’t know how to access your CMS, consult whoever designed or manages your website and have them create a user profile for you. However, be cautious. There are “undo” buttons for a lot of things, but you definitely don’t want to uninstall something and unintentionally break your website. Make sure you are confident before you click! 

Why Is Plugin Maintenance Necessary? 

Proper plugin maintenance has to find a place on your calendar for a few reasons. 

  1. Website Security

Users want their privacy to be protected while using your website. Since these plugins are created by a third party, they rarely offer a guarantee that they are or will remain secure. 

  1. Plugin Compatibility

Let’s say your website is working just fine but you want to add another plugin. You have to ensure that the new plugin won’t interfere with an old plugin or core functionality and make your website break or malfunction in any way.

  1. Performance Metrics

Plugins can be great additions, but if you bog down your website with too many plugins, they can cause a dramatic drop in speed and overall performance. You need speed to meet a modern user’s expectations. 

  1. Ongoing Support

A plugin can come from anyone, anywhere. You likely won’t have access to the developer who created the plugin. When something goes wrong, you’ll have to be able to problem-solve on your own.

The Basics of Plugin Maintenance

You know the what, the where, and the why. Now it’s time to take some action. Here are some basic steps to manage your third-party plugins. 

  1. Use Licensed Plugins

    Good news! There are licensed third-party plugins. That means the creator has taken the time to get their product licensed. It indicates a level of investment on their end and a way to find help (possibly) if you need it. 
  1. Check Reviews

    A licensed product does not always mean a good product. After all, many CMS plugin sources are created by a developer who wanted to solve a problem and shared the solution. But some have a great source of truth: reviews! See what actual users have to say about the plugin and its overall functionality. 
  1. Look for Support

    The best third-party plugins come with dedicated support. You can do your best to solve a problem on your own, but the plugin source will always have access to the most relevant and up-to-date information. 
  1. Evaluate Compatibility

    Many plugins will have a section that lists compatibility. Look for your CMS and your current version or other indicators of code compatibility. If you start with this simple step, you can rest easy that the plugin is much more likely to work. 
  1. Update, Update, Update

    Plugins are no different than other forms of software and code. They quickly become deprecated or new bugs or improvements are made. You should plan to regularly update your plugins to gain all the benefits of each update. 
  1. Test Your Plugins

    Add it to your calendar to test your plugins once a week. It sounds like a lot, but in reality, it should only take a few minutes. It’s the best way to keep plugins from becoming dysfunctional, and it gives you a chance to catch any issues before they become irreversible.


Make a backup before initiating any changes. A backup of your website can be a lifesaver if you initiate an update or add a plugin and it backfires. It’s much better to take the time to download the backup than to realize you made a mistake you can’t undo. 

Are Your Plugins Making You Blow a Fuse? 

If your plugins have gone awry and you don’t know what to do, take a deep breath and call BoxCrush. We have experienced developers who are familiar with common CMS platforms like WordPress and Sitefinity. If you use WordPress, we have tips for the top WordPress plugins. We can unravel the mess and perform regular third-party plugin maintenance for you. Fill out our contact form below and let us know how we can help. 

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