Related Posts Thumbnails WordPress Plugin Review – Could be a lot better

Related Posts Thumbnails is a plugin that helps you display a list of related posts at the end of your regular posts. It is active on more than 40,000 websites and has 170 5-star reviews.

The plugin can be installed from the WordPress Dashboard.

Search for Related Posts. This plugin is by WPBrigade.

After you activate the plugin, you will see a Related Posts top level menu item. The configuration options are quite flexible.

General Display Options

In General Options, you can append the related posts at the end of a post’s content. Or you can copy/paste this PHP code in your theme if you want to display them in a different location.

You can display them in posts in all categories or only in the one you handpick.

You can even restrict them by date, if you don’t want posts that are much too old. It would be nice to be able to include intervals here, like “not older than X months”.

The sorting order can be random or latest. It would be best if Latest Posts would be the default option, as using Random is usually a quick way to slow down a website.

So if you’re using this plugin on a website with thousands of posts, try changing from random to latest. It might improve performance and reduce the impact on your server.

Select the heading text and the number of posts to display. You can even have a default image for posts that don’t have a featured image.

Thumbnails Options

In the Thumbnails tab, you can select the source of the thumbnail. It can be the featured image or a custom field value. This is a great feature.

If you use the featured image, then you can select the thumbnail size. It even sees custom image sizes defined by your WordPress theme.

Style Options

In Style options, you can do some basic color and font changes.

If you change the output style from Blocks to List, then you get the option of turning off plugin styles. Not sure why this option is not available for the default style.

The Bad Part

And now for the part that I dislike about this plugin.

Whatever style you select, be it Blocks or List, instead of using CSS Flex or Grid, it relies on floated elements.

To make matters worse, it doesn’t do anything about the thumbnail size. If you select a size that is too large, then your posts will appear stacked.

If you use the default Block style, then thumbnails are displayed as backgrounds and not images. That’s probably to make sure that all images are of the same size, but there are much better ways to do this.

There are other CSS inefficiencies, but that’s me getting too critical.

You can always write some custom CSS for your particular theme and restyle the output of this plugin.

This plugin can be a lot better if the HTML output and the CSS would take advantage of what modern CSS has to offer.

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