I have intuitively always had a bad feeling about WordPress JetPack, but I just didn’t have the level of expertise necessary to articulate that sentiment with an authoritative voice. So I started a discussion about the WordPress JetPack on Nile Flores‘ Facebook group – All About WordPress.
I quickly confirmed my suspicion that –
“Friends don’t let friends use WordPress JetPack.”
So with the permission of Kimberly Castleberry, Syed Balkhi, and Cathryn Swan, I have copied and pasted their comments (originally posted on Facebook) here for your own edification.
Keep in mind that JetPack contains a stats package which is why the subject of site stats and Google Analytics is discussed.
Feel free to make up your own mind and do what you will.
Kimberly Castleberry Speaks!
There’s 2 problems with JetPack… it’s full of bloat weight that one would not load normally yet get saddled with if you use the whole thing and the other is that they have a bad habit of implementing live code that changes site functionality on a “activated by default” status with a new plugin update. This causes site changes you may not be expecting, did not approve, and would be better if you had enabled rather than having to disable.
JetPack Lite is an alternative for those that need a few of the services. That being said, I STILL caution most about using the stats plugin aspect because it contributes to WordPress database bloat. But then again, half the bloggers that start will be gone by this time next year, so maybe most don’t need to think long term. I dunno.
Anything that brings stats into your local system is going to feed database bloat, which leads to a number of potential issues that don’t show up immediately. I don’t recommend stats living in the WordPress database, it’s not the place for them. Use Google Analytics and if you want more, also use GetClicky.com
Syed Balkhi Speaks!
I put it like this: JetPack is created for users who don’t know any better. The practices that JetPack follows are not something that I respect.
1. Putting itself above all plugins.
2. Automatically activating new add-ons as they come in. (bloat)
3. Loading scripts unconditionally (bloat)
4. Requiring you to connect with WordPress.com when you really don’t need to in most cases (marketing)
and the list goes on.
My recommendation would be to stay away from JetPack.
For stats, I use and recommend Google Analytics. If you need a plugin to install it on your site, then use Yoast’s analytics plugin.
Lee Hodson Speaks!
Hi Jim, nice write-up of the dangers of Jetpack.
When Jetpack first arrived I only needed it for WP Stats. I thought, wonderful, a new payload of scripts I will never need but gave it a chance and quickly replaced it with Jetpack Lite because Jetpack had authentication bugs that kept preventing it from connecting with wordpress.com (after numerous successful fixes) and because one or more of the scripts within Jetpack conflicted with plugins I used at the time.
Jetpack is a wonderful idea because it provides a few features that newcomers to WP might find useful while getting to grips with what WP has to offer but too many of Jetpack’s scripts are enabled by default so some page load time bloating occurs and with new features sometimes come new plugin conflicts (maybe that should be ‘often come new plugin conflicts).
The CSS editor in Jetpack is useful for people who don’t want to edit core theme files.
The WP Stats feature is useful because it doesn’t store stats data in the database and the stats can be viewed from the WordPress admin backend.
Photon is the image CDN Jetpack provides. It is a handy feature but prevents some sliders loading properly.
The feature that helps publicise posts is handy. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to encourage page views?
But, despite some good points, Jetpack provides a lot of features most of us will never use and the conflicts that arise from updates and new feature releases make it an unreliable bet for business users who need consistent uptime and smooth running.
Plus, I guess the developers of Jetpack didn’t properly poll WordPress users to find out what they need Jetpack to provide. It doesn’t even look as though the developer’s considered plugin downloads from the WP plugin repo as an aide to determining the features WordPress users most frequently add to WordPress.
Overall, the features added by Jetpack are better served by individual plugins that you have more control over.
I’m not saying I don’t use Jetpack, I do. Despite replacing it with Jetpack Lite, I eventually reinstalled full Jetpack on my personal blog but I only use it for the modules WP Stats and Publicise.
Jetpack isn’t always the best option but it can be useful in some settings.
And Blogger Cathryn Swan Says!
Thus sayeth Cathryn Swan of Cathryn’s World –
I was just coming here [Facebook All About WordPress group] to write about JetPack and this discussion was here! Thank you! I agree with you Shan Garcia about not leaving the dashboard, plus I find Google Analytics a bit depressing sometimes. I’d rather just have the bare facts – but that’s all I ‘need.’ I’ll look into the others tho’ – Yoast, SC, etc. My main issue is the way the new posts are sent to people who subscribe by email via JetPack- is so clunky. The ‘from’ window says WordPress.com and then the subject line just says ‘new post’ and then the title of the post so if someone subscribes to a bunch (or not), they have no idea which blog it is coming from. (And may not open it.) That being said, now that people have subscribed, can I move them? I actually have feedburner also which I like but some people subscribe via the JetPack function. Good to know re: database bloat, etc. Thanks.
10 Reasons Why You Should Use Jetpack
Article update on September 29, 2013 –>> Ok, for the sake of being fair and balanced, I am including this article on why you should use the Jetpack plugin. I am still NOT sold on it. I would still never use it. But, the article is well written and lists all the ‘cool’ things about JetPack, so at least you will know what people are talking about when it comes to Jetpack.
Here’s the link:
Article Written by Jim Landers aka “Jupiter Jim”