Have you ever installed a WordPress plugin only to find that it doesn’t work?
When it’s a free plugin, it doesn’t matter because you can easily switch. But what if you paid for this plugin?
You can ask for support. However, in some cases the plugin developer may ask you for admin access to your site to debug the issue.
Giving admin access to third-party developers is uncomfortable. Being a plugin user, I completely understand that.
On the other hand, I can understand the reasoning behind asking for admin access because my company sell WordPress plugins.
Recently one of our users asked: should you give admin access to WordPress plugin developers for fixing bugs?
To answer this question, you first need to understand why would a plugin developer need your WordPress admin access.
Why Do They Need Admin Access?
When you report a bug, the first thing most good developers do is try to reproduce the issue on their testing site. If they can replicate the issue, then they solve the problem and update the plugin.
Now if they can’t replicate the bug you’re reporting, then it’s impossible for them to fix it.
You’re probably wondering, why can’t these smart developers replicate the problem that you’re having?
Well that’s because each site is different. There are different web hosting environment and different combination of plugins / themes. One or more of these variables can be causing the issue.
When a plugin developer is testing their plugin, they don’t have any other plugins activated, and they’re using the default WordPress theme.
This is why sometimes the bug that you encounter is specific to your site. Maybe it’s a bug with a theme that you’re using or with a combination of other plugins that you have installed.
In order for plugin developers to fix the bug, they must know what’s causing the issue. This is why they ask for your WordPress admin access, so they can have all the same variables.
Should You Give Admin Access to Developers?
Yes, you need to give admin access to plugin developers if you want the bug fixed.
No, you do not have to give them admin access to your live site.
What the plugin developer need is the same environment as your live site (i.e same host, same plugins installed, same themes, and same settings).
They don’t need to have access to yourmainsite.com
What the user fear is the plugin author will mess up their live site and affect hundreds or thousands of visitors.
The solution is to give them access to a staging or test site.
In short, you need to install WordPress on a subdomain like testing.yoursite.com, and make sure that it has the same theme and plugins. Next, you need to ensure that you are getting the same bug on this test site as your live site (which you should).
In most cases, you can ask your web hosting company’s support team to create a staging environment for you. Just ask them to replicate the site on a subdomain, and they can do it much faster than you.
Alternatively, you can use a plugin like BackupBuddy to migrate your settings.
Once you have the staging / test site, then you can give the plugin developer admin access to that.
It’s good to have a staging environment in place, so think of this as an investment.
Make sure you do a background search
Even though you’re giving access to a staging site, I always recommend that you do a little background search on the plugin developer or a company.
Look at how they’re perceived in the industry. See if there are positive / negative reviews about them.
I hope this article helped you answer the question: should you give admin access to plugin developers for fixing bugs.