You are searching for a plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.
And, suddenly notices that the plugin you want to install is showing untested or incompatible warning message in your version of WordPress.
What would you do now?
No worries, the question has an answer in this article. 😉
If a plugin is not tested with your version of WordPress, it will show you this warning message:
“Untested with your version of WordPress”
If a plugin is not compatible with your version of WordPress, it will show you this warning message:
“Incompatible with your version of WordPress”
Both warning messages are not related to each other, and they have a completely different meaning.
So, should you install a plugin showing any of the above warning messages?
Go through this article. I have discussed some essential things related to this issue that may help you.
How WordPress identifies a plugin’s compatibility?
The plugin that you install on your website contains some files with code.
Among all those files, a plugin also contain a readme file with the name readme.txt.
Readme file contains plugin’s important fields which help WordPress to display some rich information for that plugin to you.
For example – Plugin Name, Description, Author Name, FAQ, Screenshots, etc.
View readme file standard for plugins by WordPress.
If you open the readme file of a plugin, you will see Requires at least and Tested up to fields, and here is all the game.
WordPress uses these two fields to check the compatibility of a plugin with your version of WordPress and shows information accordingly to you.
We will discuss more about these fields later in this article.
How to see “Requires at least” and “Tested up to” fields in a plugin?
As I already mentioned above that both fields are part of a plugin’s readme file.
So first, let’s discover both fields in the readme file of a random WordPress plugin.
Make sure you have at least one plugin installed on your website (not necessary to activate it).
If you’re not logged in, log in your WordPress admin area with username or email address and password.
This part of the article is only to show you Requires at least and Tested up to fields in a plugin’s readme file.
Please do not edit any plugin. Editing plugin may break your site or stop the plugin from working, which may require you to reinstall the plugin.
After logging in your WordPress admin area, navigate to the Plugins » Plugin Editor option.
On the right side of the next page, you will see some Plugin Files of your selected plugin.
In plugin files, find the readme file with the name readme.txt and click on it.
As you will click, you will find those two Requires at least and Tested up to fields with the version number.
Let’s understand both fields one by one, starting with Requires at least field.
What is the “Requires at least” field?
This field helps WordPress to show you if the plugin is compatible or not with the version of the WordPress you are running.
Let’s understand the work of this field with an example.
Suppose a plugin author sets the Requires at least field as WordPress version 5.4 for the plugin.
And you are running WordPress version 5.3 or any version below 5.3.
Then WordPress will show you the warning: Incompatible with your version of WordPress.
In case if you already have the plugin installed.
Then, you may not receive any future update notification for that plugin.
If the plugin is not installed.
You will not be able to install it until your WordPress version is not higher or matching the plugin’s Requires at least version.
For better security and new features, it is always recommended to run your website on the latest version of WordPress.
What is the “Tested up to” field?
This field helps WordPress to show you if the plugin is tested or not with the version of WordPress you are running.
Again, let’s understand the work of this field with an example.
Suppose you have installed WordPress version 5.2 or any version above 5.2.
And a plugin author has set Tested up to field as WordPress version 5.1 for the plugin.
So, as per this information by plugin author, WordPress will assume that the plugin is not tested for the versions of WordPress above 5.1.
Eventually, WordPress will start to show you the warning: Untested with your version of WordPress.
However, in this case, you can still install a plugin by checking some steps (discussed later in this article).
Should you install plugins untested with your WordPress version?
From above, it is cleared that you can’t install a plugin that is showing warning: Incompatible with your version of WordPress.
But what about a plugin which is only showing warning: Untested with your version of WordPress?
See, WordPress is open source software and the best platform to create a beautiful website or blog.
It is developed and maintained by a dedicated community of users.
It doesn’t matter a person knows to code or not, as anybody like you and me can contribute to WordPress.
This makes our WordPress better every day for all users.
Sometimes it happens the core community releases a major new version of WordPress.
And all plugins that have Tested up to field version pointing below that major new version of WordPress, automatically gets the warning: Untested with your version of WordPress.
If the plugin author doesn’t update the information, it will keep showing you that warning.
Have you noticed I’ve used the word major above?
It’s because plugins get the untested warning only on the release of a major version of WordPress and not the minor version.
Learn more about the major and minor version in the WordPress version numbering system.
So for the question of installing untested plugins.
I’ll say it totally depends on the plugin and your need for that plugin.
I have provided some checking steps below that you can follow before installing an untested plugin.
Also, you can go for an alternative plugin (if available) or hire a WordPress developer that can help to add features you want on your website.
Step #1: Check support forum of the plugin.
Go to the plugin’s WordPress page and click on the Support option there.
And check for how long it’s been since the plugin author has replied to a support request by other users.
If you see a significant number of pending support requests from many days, it probably means the author has abandoned the plugin and not providing any support for the plugin now.
So the chances are you may also not get support in case any issue arises or futures updates for that plugin from its author.
At this point I want you to do two things.
First, even after those pending support requests, I want you to create one request from your side also.
And politely ask the plugin author to update and test the plugin with the latest version of WordPress.
But why a plugin author reponds to you as there are already many pending requests?
I know this is a little funny, but sometimes the plugin author responds.
It has happened two times with me and may with you also.
Second thing you can do is go to the plugin author’s WordPress profile page.
And there, find for the social media links or any website links that can help you to get in touch with the plugin author.
If the plugin author responds, you can take action accordingly.
If the plugin author doesn’t respond, you can go for the second step.
Step #2: Check for the last updated date in the plugin.
In this step, check when the plugin was last updated.
Ideally, if any plugin is not updated in the last two years or more, you should avoid it to install on your website.
Otherwise, it may raise security issues on your site, breaks your site, or produce any other negative effects that you will never want.
So be careful of it.
I have already faced some security issues with my site just because of this reason.
So in most cases, I always try to avoid the installation of these types of plugins.
But if you still want to install those plugins, go for the third and the last step.
Step #3: Test the plugin to see if it is correctly working.
First of all, create a backup for your site so that if anything went wrong (which shouldn’t) with your main running site, you can easily restore it.
After that, also create a staging site.
A staging site is completely identical to your main site that can be easily created with the help of a WordPress plugin or your hosting service and used for testing or any other purpose without affecting your live running site.
After the creation of a staging site, install, activate, and configure the plugin there.
Once the plugin configuration process completed, carefully examine if it is disturbing any elements of your staging site.
If the plugin is creating any issue, you should uninstall and delete it immediately.
If all things look good, you can go with the installation of the plugin on your main site, but at your own risk because there may still be some security issues with the plugin.
Also, you can easily restore the backup that you have already created if anything goes wrong with your main site.
Now, if you have figured out that the plugin author is not providing any support for the plugin, it is not updated in the last two years and breaking your site too.
It is not necessary but as a user, you should take some more steps towards that plugin.
Go to the plugin’s WordPress page, give ratings, and write a review describing your experience after installing the plugin.
You may also report the plugin issues to WordPress. Here is a detailed article on how to report a WordPress plugin.
I strongly recommend you to read this article before reporting a plugin.
I hope this article helped you with the installation of untested or incompatible plugins on your website.
If you have any questions/thoughts on untested or incompatible plugins.
Or if I have missed any point that should be here in this article.
Please let me know below in the comment section. 🙂