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Should You Install Plugins Not Tested With Your WordPress Version?

Are you wondering if you should install plugins that aren’t tested with your current version of WordPress?

Sometimes, you will find the perfect plugin for your site, but it’s not tested with the latest WordPress version. You might not know if you can use it without breaking your website.

In this article, we will discuss whether or not you can safely install plugins that aren’t tested with the current version of WordPress.

Should you install plugins not tested with your WordPress version?

How Does WordPress Get the ‘Plugin Not Tested’ Information?

Are you wondering how WordPress knows whether a plugin was tested with your version of WordPress or who is responsible for testing it?

When submitting plugins to the WordPress plugin directory, authors are required to include a ‘readme’ file along with their plugin. This file is used by WordPress to create the page that has details about the plugin.

Plugin authors are responsible for testing their plugin with the latest version of WordPress and manually updating the version number in their readme file.

If you see the message ‘This plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest version of WordPress, ‘ then that means the plugin author hasn’t updated the readme file with the latest WordPress version number.

Checking Whether a WordPress Plugin is Outdated

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the plugin will cause WordPress errors.

Why Don’t WordPress Plugin Authors Update the Readme Files?

Sometimes, plugin authors don’t update their readme files even when they test their plugin to work with each new WordPress release.

In an ideal world, this information will be updated whenever a plugin is tested to be compatible with the newest WordPress update.

However, a lot of developers are usually busy with paid development projects. Since the plugins listed in the WordPress plugin repository are free, there’s less incentive for the developers to constantly keep plugins and the readme file up to date.

Should You Install WordPress Plugins That Haven’t Been Tested?

The short answer is: It depends on the plugin.

Just because a plugin author didn’t update their readme file doesn’t mean the plugin hasn’t been tested and won’t work with the latest version of WordPress.

Mostly, it depends on the functionality of the plugin and how complex it is. For example, there are simple plugins that hook directly into the WordPress core and don’t need to be updated for years to function properly.

The ‘not tested’ message doesn’t say that the plugin has problems or security issues. It simply says the developer hasn’t recently tested the plugin or updated the readme file.

Here at WPBeginner, we suggest installing plugins that haven’t been tested with the recent version of WordPress in certain circumstances. We thoroughly test the plugin to ensure it works how it’s supposed to.

If you are reading one of our WordPress tutorials that’s been published recently, then this means the plugin was compatible with the latest version of WordPress when we tested it.

Another way to check if you should install the plugin is by going to the plugin development page. This shows you how active the plugin developer is.

Simply go to the WordPress plugin page and click on the ‘Development’ tab.

Click plugin development tab

Here, you can see when the plugin was last updated and recent changes and improvements to the plugin in the ‘Changelog’ section.

If the developer is actively updating the plugin, then it usually means the plugin is high quality and safe to use on your WordPress website.

View plugin updates and changelog

On the other hand, if a plugin hasn’t been updated in more than two years, then this often means that it has been abandoned. In that case, you shouldn’t install the plugin since the developer is not actively maintaining it.

You can also click on the ‘Reviews’ tab to see other opinions and any complaints about it being incompatible.

If the reviews are recent and five stars, then it’s safe to assume that you can use the plugin on your website.

View plugin reviews and ratings

Finally, you can test the plugin on a local WordPress installation. This lets you see if there are any issues or conflicts without affecting your main site.

We hope this article helped you learn if you should install plugins that haven’t been tested with your WordPress version. You may also want to see our guide on the difference between a domain name and web hosting or our expert picks for the best email marketing services for small businesses.

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18 CommentsLeave a Reply

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  2. WordPress removed the compatibility section so now it’s impossible to vote. the warning means nothing at all, please confirm it and update.

    • Thank you for letting us know, we will certainly look into updating our article :)


  3. First of all thanks for this great eye opening article and clearing all doubts related to installing untested plugins. I have always hesitated installing untested plugins despite its great reviews just because it has not been tested for a particular theme. For example, I abstained from installing Google official Adsense plugin with my existing theme for my travel website for the same reason. Placing ads manually on each post is tedious so I will try it now. But how Google has not updated it’s read me file for Adsense plugin, is out of my understanding.

  4. I was searching for this topic.
    recently checked my plugins and half of them not updated from months and some not updated from 2-3+ years.

    I don’t know what to do… i preferred to disable those plugins which are not compulsory.

    • As mentioned in the article above, sometimes plugin author don’t feel the need to update the plugin if there is nothing broken. If a plugin is working fine on your site and it hasn’t been updated for less than 2 years, then you can use it. If its older than 2 years, then you should stop using it and find an alternative plugin.


  5. Thank you for this advice! So far in my minimal WP experience, I have steered clear of plugins that were not compatible with the most current version of my theme because I wouldn’t have a clue of how to fix something if the plugin adversely affected what I previously set up. Having the 2-year rule of thumb helped me decide to use a plugin that has not been updated in 1 year…so far so good (the plugin is the TinyMCE Spellcheck).

  6. Great detail and advice. I have been knocking this around in my head for so long I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the details!

  7. Why somebody will install plugin if developer is even not able to update one number in readme file?
    It is like purchase service from hosting company where their home page is down ;)

      • I think price is not value, does not matter if its free or paid.
        Better will be if people stay focused on quality instead of take something for free, bc. its free only.

      • I agree with you. Why can’t you test it your own, when it is free and you need it? Developers may not get time to update readme text on each WordPress updates. No point of complaining about it, since they are giving their work for free!!

    • Because that plugin sometimes is the only one that works for you. And just because it hasn’t been updated, it does not mean in any way that is does not work.
      And that is partially due to the awesome WordPress retrocompatibility.

  8. Some people refuse to update the readme because when doing that you also need to do a version number bump, which in turn triggers a release and causes users to need to update.

    You can modify the readme without bumping your version number and hence triggering an update, but then you have multiple copies of the same plugin with the same version number which are not identical. Aside from feeling just wrong, that could theoretically trip up a security system which does a hash of the file system and checks with a known set of previously downloaded plugins.

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