Dear fellow builder,
All in One SEO is a popular WordPress plugin. As its name suggests, its purpose is to optimize your WordPress website for search engines and social media.
It has a nice interface, and the core of its features are free to use. On the surface, All in One SEO seems to be a good plugin to install. But, as the title of the post you are reading says, I do not think it is reasonable to use All in One SEO.
During its activation, All in One SEO installs and activates two other plugins: Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights and OptinMonster. It does all of that without your consent, and even worse, without even informing you.
You may wonder whether this is just a bug. Here are multiple reviews criticizing this behavior:
- review 1, posted 2 months ago
- review 2, posted 5 months ago
- review 3, posted 9 months ago
- review 4, posted 1 year and 1 month ago
- review 5, posted 1 year and 3 months ago
- review 6, posted 1 year and 5 months ago
- review 7, posted 2 years and 1 month ago
- review 8, posted 2 years and 4 months ago
- review 9, posted 2 years and 5 months ago
- review 10, posted 2 years and 7 months ago
This long, old, and probably incomplete, list convinces me that this is not a bug. At first, All in One SEO answered the reviews. All in One SEO claimed the setup wizard was not clear enough. Then, All in One SEO claimed the problem was due to the user themself: the user was not attentive enough when they ran the setup wizard. But roughly a year ago, All in One SEO stopped answering altogether.
Why is it a problem to install software without user consent and knowledge?
First, this is literally how malware works.
Second, what All in One SEO is doing is catastrophic from a stability point of view. In a WordPress website, because of incompatibilities that are hard to anticipate, activating new plugins can break the website. It is not good practice to activate a plugin silently. Even less, two. It is the perfect recipe for disaster.
Third, this is a massive breach of trust. All in One SEO pretends to do something, but it does other, completely unrelated things without informing the user about them. How to be sure that All in One SEO does not do other shady things on the website it is installed?
Fourth, it is pushy and dishonest. It is even more pushy and dishonest considering that the Google Analytics plugin serves you a giant ad you cannot even dismiss for some paid service.
I have no idea what happened to All in One SEO. It used to be an excellent plugin. But I could not recommend enough to not use it. The fact they stopped to engage negative reviews suggests they know what they are doing, they know it is bad, but they will keep doing it anyway.
In my opinion, it is risky to do business with companies that behave like this. At the very least, personally, I am done with All in One SEO. My two WordPress websites are at the core of my livelihood. None of them are a good place to install malware-like plugins.
Updated the 17th of September 2023, mostly for style and conciseness.