How Nasty Plug-Ins Can Turn Your Site into Humpty Dumpty

Those Nasty Plug-Ins!

There once was a plug-in so widely cherished by many. It was so highly recommended too. Installed it went right nicely into the theme. And by nightfall it all fell down just like Humpty Dumpty who sat on the wall.

The Humpty Dumpty Story of the Blog

Nasty Plug-Ins Almost Took Down The Site!

That’s what happened here. A plug-in almost took down the whole blog or a combination of nasty plug-ins with a theme.  Thankfully I had learned previously to back up everything and vola it’s back together again!

What can you learn here from this experience?

  • Always Back Up After Every Post.
  • Only Install One Plug in at a Time (after doing a back-up of course).
  • If Something Seems Wrong – Ditch the Plug-In (There are others and other ways to get around it with some coding).
  • Use the Least Amount of Plug-Ins Possible.
  • Never Use a Plug-In That Hasn’t Been Tested With an Upgraded Version of WordPress.
  • Again, Always Back-Up!
  • Don’t Panic – It Will NOT Help You.
  • Be Sure Your Server can Handle Your Data- if not get more or another host and if you do get another server Wait until it’s fully Propagated* which can take 48-72 hours.
  • Sign Up For FREE Services to let you know if your site does go down – BasicState.com is one and UptimeDog.com to name a few.

What is *Propagation?  It is the process of distributing an index from a context index server to one or more web servers for the purpose of providing search.  If you avoid making changes to your website during a transfer/propagation period, you will always have a consistent functional website available to your visitors. They won’t know that you have switched WHP’s because as far as they can tell, they are just browsing your website. They won’t realize that you are in a state of propagation and that from one minute to the next, they are potentially browsing your site from two different WHPs.

Does anyone else have stories of nasty plug-ins that almost took down their websites and can share which ones we should avoid?

Lisa loves helping others to thrive online through Content Marketing with Social Media, Blogging and SEO. What good is knowledge if you cannot share it with others? She has 20+ years experience in marketing/advertising with 6 years experience in content marketing, social media, blogging and SEO. Check out her latest eBook "Learn to Tweet and Thrive on Twitter" now on Amazon.

40 comments On How Nasty Plug-Ins Can Turn Your Site into Humpty Dumpty

  • Hi Lisa.

    I know you may not want to but I’d love to read about the combination of plugins that almost bought you blog down.

    I’m in the process of culling some of my plugins and your insights would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Peter
    Peter recently posted..The Science of Breath by Yogi RamacharakaMy Profile

  • 😉 hi lisa,

    thanks a lot for this informative post. I will sure apply these tactics to my wordpress blog. There is another plugin i would like to say is “DAtabase backup to dropbox”. I am using this and this is great. It automatically backup your whole database as instant or any regular interval to your dropbox account.

  • Nice tips Lisa. But backing up after every post seems to be inappropriate. By the way, there’s one plugin which actually takes place of 7 plugins! That’s CommentLuv Premium! Cheers

    • Hi Raaj, that’s something I may look into in the future as I do love the regular CommentLuv – I have heard wonderful things about the premium too.

  • Just a week or so ago, I updated the “WP to Twitter” plugin and found that the updated version was causing a fatal error, but only on the backend. My readers wouldn’t have noticed anything different, except for the fact that there’d have been no new content because I couldn’t log in to update my blog at all.

    I had to go to my FTP program and delete the plugin from my host’s server directly; that’s the only way I could regain access to my dashboard. It wasn’t a fun experience.
    Patrick recently posted..Orange Crush: My First Visit to the Golden Gate BridgeMy Profile

  • Hey Lisa,
    I learned the lesson to do a backup right after every post after my site got hacked by a rouge commenter 🙂 Getting hacked is another good reason to have a backup. I like your suggestion about signing up at the websites that can let you know if a site goes down…thanks for sharing that.
    ShelleyN recently posted..Trackback for More Links and Blog TrafficMy Profile

  • I don’t think I have the ability to do plug ins on my social network? Do you know if this can be done on HER? I love what you wrote, there have been times when I’ve gone to visit blogs I like and wondered why it was down or running slow. Ultimately I wasn’t able to add a comment. That had to impact the blogger that day. I also wanted to ask you another question about why it is when you go to some bloggers sites and go to leave a comment you are directed to an ad? That has happened to me and I wondered if it was a plug in as well?
    Nicole Moulton recently posted..6. Meet Melody Biringer, the owner/creator of CRAVEMy Profile

    • Wow Nicole, I haven’t had that happen yet where it directed me to an ad. Interesting – does sound spammy to me. I will have to research that. Are you using WP format on HER? At a glance it doesn’t look like it is.

  • Lisa,

    I had a plugin once I just couldn’t get to work right. I tried and tried and tried. I researched. I removed it and reinstalled it. I deleted others I thought were interfering. Nothing. It didn’t wipe anything out. I think it just didn’t work well with my theme. It is still there. I gave up but I need it. Some day I’ll fix the issue but for now my blog will go one. LOL.

    ~Allie

    PS Thanks for the backup reminder.
    Allie recently posted..Ranked on Google First Page: Thanks GnomieMy Profile

  • Well you already know that I am going through heck with my site. It looks like it isn’t on my end. What caused the outage on Saturday was a nasty plugin. What happened Tuesday night, not even my host knows yet. They haven’t been able to tell me. It is all backed up thought and I am not worried about losing anything. Just sucks for it to be down after all that good traffic I built.

    • Hi Susan, I know the feeling 🙂 Do you know which plug-in it was? Yes, I’ve been backing up daily now ever since. Good luck and I hope it’s all smooth going forward.

  • 😛 Awesome post Lisa. I think that Backup is the one key here that people tend to forget Before they play around with plug ins. Personally, I am prone to break things. This is a shortcoming of mine that I know! So for me, I hire someone to handle my plugins all the time.
    Now that I read this post It seems so easy to do! I may give it a whirl.
    Thanks
    Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted..ProcrastinationMy Profile

    • Donna, that’s the way to go if you can – hire some technical help. Yes, backup is so important I have found and glad I had. Thanks for commenting today.

  • I have a backup emailed to me automatically….is this the same as the backup you are referring to? I also go in and download a backup periodically.
    I don’t use many plug ins because I fear most of them. lol
    Optimistic Mom recently posted..Hormones and Aging ~ by a Four Legged MomMy Profile

    • I have not had them emailed. I will check into that one. I use the Export file on the dashboard, then export all and then it goes into a notepad file to be saved. Thanks!

  • Lia, thank you for this post :)!

    I started lasted year and like every new come wanted and tried to do all.. One thing that really got affected was my site, It was built on WP and with out getting to know more about the plugins and ad-dons I just started adding each and every that were free, i thought that I will get to know more about the sites and working..

    These plugins really chewed down my site and had to spend $600 to get the site revamped!

  • Hi Lisa! I´m familiar with bad plugins as well.One should only install as few plugins as possible, this ensures that the site loads fast and there is less risk of a error.I once installed a social media plugin and it screwed up everything.I had to install everything from scratch.I was lucky enough to have a backup or I would have lost 3 years of hard work 🙂

    • Thanks Tom, I agree – the less plug-ins the better. I am looking over the 17 I have and seeing what I may eliminate next. Thank goodness you had backed it up Tom. 3 years of work is an awful lot to lose!

  • Just one day too late for me.
    A plugin wrecked my clients htaccess file just yesterday.
    Fortunately it was a brand new WordPress installation so no real harm done. I got him back online in 10 minutes but it taught me a lesson.
    Stick with what you know and love. If you are going to try something new, do some quick research first.

  • Hi Lisa,

    I didn’t know about the free services that let you know if your site is down. Thanks for sharing those.

    Yes, I’ve had plugins and even innocent-sounding theme updates completely crash and burn a blog! As you correctly pointed out, stay calm.

    It takes exactly five minutes to re-install WordPress, and put your stuff back- assuming you have your stuff backed up!

    There are plugins that will backup your site, posts, images, database, everything, and email it to you at a frequency you choose.

    Great post – so useful.

    Thanks 🙂

    Dee
    Dee Ankary recently posted..What The Food Pyramid Taught Me About Online BusinessMy Profile

    • Hi Dee, You are welcome. I’ve used one for years and just recently used the other for this blog. It’s a great way to keep an eye on it without always having to check yourself.

  • Plugins are the backbone of wordpress, they are one of the main things that makes it great but you are right, when you get a bad one then all hell can break loose! I have had a site totally incapacitated by a bad plugin I once activated, I also once had one steal my username and password and email it to someone! I would say to make sure you always get them from a reliable source (like the wordpress site!) and also, someone needs to make a virus checker for wordpress!

    • Hi Laura, that sounds like a nightmare. A virus checker – good idea! You are right they should come up with that one. Thanks for coming by.

  • I have a lot of stories about plugins that have more or less destroyed my blog. And I don’t know how many hours I have spent trying to fix the problems 🙂
    Jens P. Berget recently posted..Relationship Marketing and The Greenhouse EffectMy Profile

  • i’ve never had issues with plugins, but I don’t use many. i only had an issue when i updated not the last version of wordpress, but the version before that.. everything went weird.

    how do you know if your server can handle your data?
    Denise recently posted..Write Your eBook in 90 DaysMy Profile

  • Hi Lisa,

    Really glad to see you back after plugin nightmare 🙂

    I think back up is the most vital and best disaster prevention mechanism we should follow. Absolutely after posting and if we didn’t post that day, then backing up at end of day is better to backup new comments. That’s what I do mostly. Least amount of plugins can help improve site speed, but it may depend on requirements. Right? 🙂 Obviously if you panic around that time, it won’t help. Sometimes people don’t get it and still panic.

    Nice description about Propagation 🙂 I hope most of people don’t know about it including me. It’s great how you learn from your own experiences and help others to learn them too. Generous enough 😉

    Cheers…
    Mayura recently posted..How to Install Disqus Comment Platform on BloggerMy Profile

    • Thanks Mayura, yes even after comments is a great idea to back up. You’ll know what I’ll be doing next here. I had to research that word.

  • I still can’t believe that happened. did you figure out which plugin it was? One I suggested? Eeek? Glad you were smart enough to back up, as they always tell you to do. I even back up my blog weekly just in case a “crash and burn” happens. 🙂 Awesome post gf! Have an awesome day!

    • No, it was not yours. I love the WP Touch. It was one of the ones to redirect bad links. I try to save daily now. I’ll have to check out your guest post today 🙂 Have an awesome day too.

  • Lisa, when you say back-up your site, are you talking about the same thing as backing up my computer, or do you have to back-up a website using an off-site service? I’ve got 7 widget updates and I haven’t tried them yet for fear of a crash!
    Susan Condon recently posted..How Many Shades of Green Do You See?My Profile

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