What are plugins?
Plugins are additional software components that add a specific feature to an existing software application; in this case to WordPress. Plugins can be installed to extend the functionality of WordPress in many ways.
For more information about WordPress plugins see the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Plugin assessment and testing
Deakin is running WordPress Multisite, which enables us to support multiple blog sites. Plugins can be:
- installed just for your blog, or
- installed and activated on all of Deakin’s blogs.
Please be aware that some plugins are not compatible with multisite, and that some plugins may have unwanted effects on your WordPress blog or for other blogs on our multisite installation.
We therefore have a plugin request, assessment and testing process, as outlined below.
Requesting a plugin
To request the installation and testing of a plugin contact the eSolutions IT Service Desk. When you request a plugin, you need to consider the following questions and provide the answers in your request.
Plugins should solve a specific problem or provide an essential function that is currently not available. Please make sure that you are clear why this functionality needs to be delivered in WordPress (i.e. check whether you could achieve the same or a better outcome by using one of Deakin Universities other Digital Content Platforms).
- Please explain the reason for installing this plugin.
(2) Plugin functionality and usage
We only allow highly rated, actively maintained plugins with an excellent security history.
- Please include evidence that the plugin you are requesting excels in these areas.
We need to ensure that the way the plugin is used does not affect the performance of WordPress. This can happen if lots of people access a site at the same time, or if you are asking people to upload content (i.e. creating a storage requirement) .
- Please advise if you expect the plugin functionality to be:
- used by many users within a short period of time (e.g. responding by a deadline).
- used to upload large files, or to upload specific file types (e.g. image, video or multimedia files)
(3) Plugin details
Information about plugins is available on the WordPress Plugin Directory, or via the plugin developer’s web site.
- Please ensure that you check and provide the following details along with any additional information where required (e.g. where the plugin you are requesting does not meet the stated requirement).
Note: It is very useful to check the negative ratings for a plugin as this provides some insight into what may be key problems, and can also indicate the level of support and responsiveness provided by the developer.
|URL for plugin page|
|Compatible with Multisite?||Yes / No / Unknown||If this information is not documented you can still submit your plugin request, as we may still be able to test the plugin to check compatibility|
|Compatible with the current version of WordPress?||Yes / No|
|Supports https://?||Yes / No|
|Version number||Must be version 1.0 or higher|
|Last updated||Should be within the last 6-12 months|
|Star rating||Aim for 4 or 5 stars. Ensure there are not a lot of 1 star ratings|
|Number of times rated||Must have been rated at least 5 times|
|Number of times downloaded||Should be >5000 times|
|Cost||If it is not free, who will be paying for it?|
|Known issues||Are there any issues documented on the support site or plugin page that are not ‘show-stoppers’ but that will need to be assessed/tested?|
Once you have submitted your request (via the eSolutions IT Service Desk), including all of the required information, eSolutions will review the plugin and the information you have provided and will advise whether or not it is suitable for testing on Deakin’s multisite installation of WordPress.
You will be asked to test the plugin on a TEST site, to ensure that it (a) delivers the required functionality and (b) does not have unwanted effects (e.g. cause other functionality to fail, or install pop-ups/donate messages all over the site dashboard).
If testing is successful, from both functionality and technical perspectives, the plugin will be installed on the production environment and activated for your blog (or more widely if appropriate).