Have you ever gotten the warning that a plugin isn’t tested with your version of WordPress? We all have at some point, and we’ve all also wondered whether it’s safe to go through with the installation. In this post, you’re going to get all the answers to those burning questions you’re asking, and then some!
Spoilers: Most of the time, it’s perfectly fine to go ahead with the installation despite it not being tested with the latest version of WordPress. Read on to find out why!
How Does WordPress Tell if a Plugin Isn’t Up-to-Date?
First off, when a plugin is submitted to the WordPress plugin repository, creators are made to submit a ‘readme’ file that goes with the plugin. The plugin directory then grabs that file and uses it to generate the plugin page.
Contained in that readme is a ‘tested up to’ tag; this displays up ‘til when the plugin was tested. This information is expected to be updated regularly by plugin authors with each new version of WordPress that comes out.
Okay, But Why Isn’t This Information Updated?
We live in a world where we’re fortunate enough to get plenty of great-quality plugins at an equally great price—free. Now, since authors aren’t being paid for their work, they don’t really feel the need to update with each new release. These people have lives to attend to, so we can’t expect them to devote themselves completely to something they’re not being compensated for.
With that said, there are plugins that are regularly updated despite being free, but you can expect that most authors won’t update the readmes at all.
Should I Go Through with Installing, Then?
Go right ahead, friend. In most cases, these plugins are still going to work with the newest versions of WordPress, as while the authors don’t update the readmes, chances are, they still test their plugins.
In the case of plugins that haven’t been touched in 2 years or so, though, you’re probably better off steering clear of those. They’ve likely been abandoned and won’t work with your version of WordPress. Of course, there will be some plugins that work fine regardless of how long they’ve been left alone for, but that would be risky, so watch out.
Is There Some Way I Can Help?
Glad you asked! If you want to help test for compatibility, it’s as easy as installing the plugin on your blog and checking if it works or not. Go back to the plugin’s page and log in with your WordPress.org account, then scroll to the bottom of the page. This will bring you to the compatibility section.
From there, select your WordPress version, plugin version, then click on either ‘broken’ or ‘works’ depending on whether the plugin works or not. This helps other users know whether to keep the plugin or not.
If the plugin is broken, try installing the plugin on different live or local WordPress sites. If the same error comes up, the best course of action would be to leave constructive feedback on the plugin’s support thread. Someone is bound to reply, but in case no one does, you could try to leave a message for the author to get back to. Plugin authors usually have their contact information listed on their WordPress.org profiles.
If all else fails, go ahead and report the plugin as broken. You did what you could!
I hope this post has helped you understand what to do in the case of plugins not being updated… Why not check out another post of mine? Like this one: How to speed up WordPress for free!