So many people try to get by with using “free” plugins for their websites. I am no exception to this. But, before you go plopping a bunch of “free” third-party add-ons, please ask your self a few questions.
- Why is this plugin free
- Does it have paid add on functionality?
- Does it really improve my users experience.
Now let’s look at these. If the plugin is free then there is generally a catch involved. Usually, a developer will release a free plugin that is limited so that they can get you to upgrade for better features. If it does not you may look at the code carefully. Is the plugin tracking cookies, or other malicious functions for the companies use?
Developers may also choose to give away some easy plugins in hopes that you will purchase some of their better plugins. The days of just giving your ideas away are gone. There is always a reason.
Plugins should be kept to a bare minimum, Generally you should only need less than 10 plugins on any WordPress website. Adding more just adds bloat. If you can get by with adding some custom code or CSS rather than another plugin please do.
In the case of Elementor, the free version is really designed to get you to go “Pro.” The cost is pretty minimal for your business at $49 per year. People use many add-on free plugins but Elementor gets updated at such a fast rate, many third parties get behind and cause issues.
Using free plugins can cause major downtime or loss of data. If you are trying to scrape by on free plugins chances are your WP core or Elementor will get updated before all the third parties have updated their plugins to adapt to the changes. These cause your site to “break.” Or, you must roll back your core until the rest of the little guys catch up. This can lead to security issues.
If a plugin is really functional and provides updates and support you should expect to pay a $50 a year fee. Developers like to eat too. It is the cost of doing business.
To wrap this up, there is no free meal. Use only what plugins you need, and use paid plugins that are well trusted and updated monthly.