ManageWP Releases Plugin Discovery Tool

The WordPress plugin directory has nearly 35k plugins and discovering new ones that have been tested and downloaded a few thousand times is difficult. Users can browse the directory for newest, recently updated, most popular, and highest rated plugins. With the exception of the recently updated category, there’s no way to discover plugins in the middle of the pack. A new plugin discovery tool by ManageWP, attempts to solve the problem.

Algorithm Based

Best New Plugins
Best New Plugins Page

The front page of ManageWP.org/plugins displays the best new plugins under 100k downloads. The plugins are determined using an algorithm that takes into account plugin quality and acceleration of growth. A plugin’s quality is determined using seven metrics:

  • Last Updated
  • WordPress Compatibility
  • Support
  • Rating
  • Plugin Popularity
  • Author Popularity
  • Other plugins from the same author

Using a combination of metrics, ManageWP is able to display a constantly evolving list of rising stars. Placing emphasis on a plugin’s compatibility with WordPress and when it was last updated might motivate plugin authors to keep these fields updated.

Comparing Plugins

If you’re curious to see how plugins compare to each other, check out the plugin comparison section of the site. Simply choose two different plugins and hit the compare button. The comparison displays each plugin’s statistics with a download chart at the bottom. At the moment, you’re limited to comparing only two plugins at the same time, but there are plans to allow for more in the future.

Plugin Comparisons
Plugin Comparisons

Plugin Awards

Awards are a quick way to determine how well a plugin is doing in specific categories. For example, WordPress SEO by Team Yoast, has a number of awards for being the most downloaded and highest rated in multiple categories. I think it would be beneficial if this area was extended to highlight more ranks like top ten, top five, and number one.

ManageWP Plugin Awards
ManageWP Plugin Awards

Future Improvements

ManageWP founder, Vladimir Prelovac, says he’s not finished with the site. In the announcement, he shares a couple of ideas on what he’d like to see in the next iteration.

  • Simpler plugin comparison, allow multiple plugins compared at once.
  • Include WP Vulnerability Database security data to plugin details page and Plugin Quality score.
  • Allow plugin authors to ‘claim’ their pages. This will allow all sorts of activity like adding the links to their premium support, answering Q&A
  • Open everything via an API so everyone can use the engine and its data

The WP Vulnerability Database will be a nice enhancement, especially if you can see how many vulnerability reports a plugin has. Something to keep in mind is that ManageWP/Plugins is utilizing the WordPress.org Plugins API, which limits the types of data it’s able to work with.

A Plugin Directory Without The Plugins

I love the idea behind ManageWP/Plugins because it fills a void created by the plugin directory. It’s essentially a sub-section of the directory without the plugins. When I look for plugins to review, the directory leaves me little choice between one that’s popular or brand new. ManageWP/Plugins gives me an opportunity to discover them before they reach global popularity.

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27 Comments


  1. Thank you Jeff and WPTavern for this thoughtful review.

    The hard part was getting all this data and making it structured, now we have limitless possibilities in terms of what to do with it. The idea about extending the awards to include more granularity is a great one.

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    1. Awesome, can’t wait to see you folks continuously improve this tool. It took me a little while, but when I realized the data you’re presenting deals with just plugins that have 100k downloads or less, I knew it filled a void.

      I’m hoping your site will help motivate plugin authors to keep certain fields updated such as the WordPress Compatibility one. Far too often, developers forget to change that field. Seeing granularity in rewards I think is a win-win situation for both users and developers. The users get to see if it’s popular in a certain category and developers get to see how well it’s performing across whatever tags its using.

      Nice job overall!

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    2. Looks good. I was really encouraged when UpdraftPlus reached #1 on Vlad’s list of “new and upcoming plugins”. I had little idea at the time how to compare it with others. Now, nearly 2 years later, we’re about to become the #1 downloaded backup plugin of all of them. Vlad’s initiative to encourage new developers really boosted us.

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  2. Wow fantastic. Not only is this tool amazing. But our plugin is #3 on the rising stars. Couldn’t have asked for a better bed time story :).

    One thing I would love to see which is dreaming at this point, but some type of per category information that could be compared line by line.

    For instance if it were a gallery plugin it might have a line for includes lightbox functionality etc.

    This would require some major work though on all parts.

    Look forward to search for my next needed plugin with that tool.

    Any plans to include commercial only stuff down the line?

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    1. Considering the nature of commercial plugins and how they’re individual islands compared to the directory, I don’t see how this tool could easily add in commercial plugin data without it being an intense, manual process.

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      1. Makes since, someone would have to enter info for each. I hate updating readmes, so I’m out lol. Thanks for the great post though. Will come in handy.

        One thing though. How do they measure the quality. The tooltip info doesn’t match the other stats they show. For instance shows 0% for everything except reviews. Not sure if that is a bug or just because they don’t have enough data yet.

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      2. A plugin’s quality is determined using seven metrics:

        Last Updated
        WordPress Compatibility
        Support
        Rating
        Plugin Popularity
        Author Popularity
        Other plugins from the same author

        What’s the name of your plugin so we can take a look at it?

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      3. It definitely looks like a bug to me. Either that, or it takes some time to crunch the data through the WordPress.org Plugin API and the results will change in a little while. If the numbers don’t change after 24-48 hours, I’d definitely get in contact Vladimir Prelovac and let him know about it.

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      4. Awesome. I actually just tweeted your author Sarah about the plugin the other day.
        Will be keeping a close eye on it anyways. Ill be sure to let him know if i don’t see it update soon.

        Keep up the work. WordPress is becoming such a large industry tools like this are gonna be necessary going forward.

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      5. I’m not sure if it’s necessary, but it’s cool that it limits its results to only those plugins that have 100k downloads or fewer. That to me is this tool’s golden ticket. If it deviates from that, its usefulness diminishes quickly, at least for me. It would then no longer fill a void between brand new plugins and those that are already popular.

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      6. This seems to be a glitch and we will fix this today. Note also that we currently update the data once a week (being considerate to WordPress.org) so if you see a mismatch in numbers it is likely to sync in with the next update.

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      7. Thanks for the quick response. Love the tool, trying different searches for stuff ive manually researched lately. Seeing what comes up.

        Do you have any plans on ranking and keeping overall stats on individual developers? IE ranking developers based on the average scores of their total works?

        Would be interested to spend time going through that as well.

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  3. Not necessarily. I mean you could still have views of the data like they do now, rising stars, under 100k etc. But their golden ticket in my opinion is that they rank them on things such as developer activity in both updates and support.

    I mean I don’t mind if their tool shows me a plugin with 1million downloads. Because if it is ranked high there it likely has a good developer behind it, who is both active in support and releasing updates.

    Ratings to me can go either way. I’ve seen plugins with good support and great features get trashed in reviews.

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    1. That’s true and I mentioned as much in my review. I’m hoping that this ranking tool will help motivate plugin authors to keep their plugin updated and modify the WP Compatibility info to reflect as much. If that happens, that’s a huge step in the right direction.

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      1. Hate to say it after they did a great job building it, but it truly belongs in the wordpress.org site itself. These should be something WP itself works towards. I mean they do run what, 23% of the internet. You think that something like this would already be there.

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      2. This is a keen observation. We want to shift focus to important plugin metrics, not just the vanity ones. I dare say, if ManageWP.org metrics reach more developers the overall plugin quality will tend to improve.

        I’ve already seen that with content. When ManageWP.org started a year ago we had to fight with ton of content that was not really up to the standard. A year later of fighting that, constantly increasing the standard and guidelines, I’ve seen the quality of submissions improve especially with the smaller blogs. And in some part this is thanks to blogs wanting their content to rank well on a site like ManageWP.org.

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  4. wow thats good news, but does it work? it will be a lot of request?, on some servers we are running nginx so I see a lot of errors comming :(

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  5. I know it’s a trivial matter, but I’m looking at Yoast’s award screenshot and it bugs me that they’re bundled together like that – kinda dulls the edge off the sense of accomplishment. Awards should be something to be proud of, so this definitely needs to be looked into :)

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    1. That would be great. I find it harder to find a good free theme than a good free plugin.

      This tool is just fantastic.

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  6. I really love this, especially the comparison tool. I’d only up the min reviews required for ranking. I saw a few plugins with only 4 ratings outrank other plugins with many more reviews yet still holding a 99%. The latter is more impressive and useful to see at the top. Ditch the outliers. Hate to sound critical. I really think this is an amazing tool. Thank you for making it.

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    1. The only problem with this is when you are looking at new plugins. They are happy to have a single review.

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      1. You can say that but reviews are easily earned if you provide quick and quality support. Our plugin is relatively new but we get a new review about every other day at the moment. We are averaging about 1-2 support requests a day and closing them within 1-3 days.

        I simply make it a point once i know the issue was resolved to politely ask them to take a moment to rate and review the plugin and or support with a link to the review page.

        This has always gotten me reviews at about a rate of 1 per 5 tickets.

        On that though I’d say another 1-2 of those 5 tickets never respond after our first response either so no chance to convert them :(

        I wish WP would add the review system to the WP dashboard. Then users could review it while in use rather than having to go back to the wp.org site and hunt it down to review. Would likely increase feedback across the board.

        Hell where is the submit an issue button on the dashboard for that matter, that would automatically submit details such as errors, lines where the error occured and other non identifiable info automatically to a plugin/theme author or even the wp.org support forums if its a core issue.

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      2. Completely agree on that point. One of my plugins has quite a few low ratings with no reviews. Makes avg calculations very skewed for plugins that were rated before the change.

        I do have appreciation for the new system but it is still weak at best. I think wp by default should ask you to review plugins ( optout available ) for any plugins you have installed. One time notice maybe a week after you installed it. If more users reviewed we would get so much more feedback, and quality of plugins and themes in general would go up. Most users only review if they are extremely happy or extremely dissatisfied. The average user never has any input on the direction of the plugin, which is a shame since they make up the bulk of its users.

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