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Guidance for Adding Custom Code Snippets

Description

A code snippet is a small block of code added to a website to improve custom functionality.Code Snippets is an easy, clean and simple way to run PHP code snippets on your site. It removes the need to add custom snippets to your theme’s functions.php file.A snippet is a small chunk of PHP code that you can use to extend the functionality of a WordPress-powered website; essentially a mini-plugin with less load on your site.

If you like this plugin, or it is useful to you in some way, please consider reviewing it on WordPress.org.

Code snippets serve more practical purposes than you may realize, including when it comes to improving the user experience for your site visitors or customers. They are an essential part of customizing an online store, because they can be used for tasks such as adding product info cards, customizing thumbnails in product galleries, setting image dimensions, or even auto completing orders. WordPress’s WooCommerce is already one of the most popular open source platforms for online merchants, and makes extensive use of code snippets for these reasons.

The following guidelines should be kept in mind when adding custom code snippets to your WordPress website.

1. Be Sure you Trust the Source

If you are copying code from a website or WordPress tutorial, make sure you trust the source. Otherwise, you could unknowingly add malicious code to your website.

Malicious code can be used to open backdoors to your website. If an attacker gained administrative privileges on your WordPress installation, they could make unauthorized changes, use the site to pass on malware to your users, and even take the site down completely. They could also hold your website ransom and make you pay to restore your access.

Getting a website back in this scenario can be a long, arduous process. It’s better to prevent an incident from happening by paying attention to where your code is coming from. Look for well-established and trustworthy blogs for code snippets. When in doubt, find another source for code.

Be sure to have the appropriate tools in place to detect malicious code before they can spread throughout your site. You can use this with tools such as static application security testing, which will continuously analyze your site and applications while they are running. According to Cloud Defense, this is most effectively done by checking your source code for vulnerabilities, and then comparing those vulnerabilities between the source and the target branches.

2. Backup Your Site

Before making any change to your WordPress code, make it a habit to always back up your website first. Backing up your site ensures that if anything goes wrong, you can simply revert back to the previous save state. This will save hours of troubleshooting time in the event that something goes wrong.

3. Don’t Make Changes Directly to the Parent Theme

Many online tutorials recommend that custom code snippets be added directly to the parent theme’s functions.php file. While doing this is a simple matter, it’s not always the best choice.

Changes made to the functions.php file will be overwritten when you update the theme. Any changes would then have to be put back into the file after it’s been updated. This makes the updating process more difficult to keep up with.

While you could get around this by not updating your theme ever again, this isn’t recommended. One of the most important tips of all for securing your WordPress site is to regularly update themes on a regular basis to keep up with security vulnerabilities. Outdated themes often leave gaping security holes that can be used by attackers to take over your site.

There are a variety of ways to backup your WordPress website, including using plugins and backing up manually. Besides backing up before adding code, you should be regularly backing up your website at least once per week at the absolute minimum.

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