Some professional bloggers recommend the Jetpack plugin, while others discourage it. Who is right, and why?
Let’s discuss it.
I’ll do my best to offer a balanced perspective of the Jetpack plugin, its advantages and disadvantages, and then leave it to you to make an informed decision.
Jetpack Plugin: The Good
There are a number of features (over 20!) which make the Jetpack plugin a power suite of services.
1) Publicize your Latest Blog Posts Automatically
The Publicize module let’s you sync the popular social media networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Yahoo! – from within the WordPress dashboard and automatically shares new posts to the synced social media accounts. The feature works for a multi-author blog too. Authors can connect their social media accounts and share published posts automatically.
2) Photon: Free Jetpack Plugin CDN
Speed is essential for any blog’s success. Unless yours is a really popular blog receiving thousands of visits daily, you would use a shared hosting server, which means there would be potential bandwidth problems.
Now, Photon is a free CDN service which serves images from the WordPress grid and it is powered by Edge Cast. In other words, the Jetpack plugin gives you a free CDN network that reduces load on your paid web hosting server.
3) WordPress Stats
The Jetpack plugin gives you access to your blog statistics. Yes, you can use Google Analytics (GA) for the same but with the Jetpack module, you can access the stats right from the Dashboard, without switching accounts.
You can see the number of visits, search keywords, geo-location of visitors, clicks on external links and more.
4) Jetpack Sharing Buttons
In the first point, we showed how you can sync social accounts and share post automatically. The Jetpack sharing buttons are an icing on the cake, really!
Just look at the number of social sharing options. Just select your favorites and save them. The social sharing options will show up below every blog post. You don’t need to install a social sharing button separately. You can read more about How to Auto Share Old Blog Posts on Social Media
5) Custom Contact Form
The Jetpack plugin lets you build custom contact forms.
Just edit and add necessary fields, and make it live. Use shortcode to display the form on any blog page or post. When anyone uses the form to get in touch, you will be notified instantly.
Jetpack Plugin: The Bad
Let’s see some of its less attractive features which bring it into the eye of storm!
1) Your Site can Break
A lot of bloggers have commented and complained that current versions of the Jetpack plugin can cause your blog to break. The general thinking here is that the code tends to ruin the blog’s design and placements. It takes on a lot of resources and bloats the WordPress blog completely. For instance, it loads scripts unconditionally and automatically activates new add-ons.
This is something I personally experienced as well. I activated Jetpack and over a couple of hours, and my blog slowed down significantly. It started to take more than 10 seconds just to load the homepage! Ultimately, I had to deactivate the Jetpack plugin to bring it back on track.
2) Connect Blog to WordPress.com
Even though your WordPress blog is self-hosted and most of the Jetpack modules don’t acquire a connection to WordPress.com, it is a mandatory addition.
You have to create a free WordPress.com account and link your self-hosted account to it for Jetpack to work. This is really unnecessary and can cause privacy issues. Who knows what is being done with the collected data?! There are around 9 or 10 modules which use WordPress.com but what if you’re not using them?
Some bloggers suggest that the Jetpack plugin is fine for those who are new to blogging and don’t have much technical knowledge, with the recommendation that as they begin to learn the ropes, they switch to other better plugins.
It seems that users don’t have complete control over their blog activities when they use Jetpack plugin. The connection to WordPress.com and auto-activation of new add-ons are something which aren’t necessary and a breach of privacy. There are a lot of individual plugins which can give you similar or better functionalities that Jetpack.
Still, there are many redeeming features like the Photon CDN and WordPress stats which make this one quite attractive.
Ultimately, it is you who have to decide. Personally, you can install the Jetpack plugin and see how it suits your blog. If it doesn’t, just uninstall it and use its alternatives like Digg Digg for social sharing and W3 Total Cache for speeding up blog speed.