An abandoned plugin is one that has not been updated for several years.  You will get this notification in your WordPress plugin list if the plugin is listed on the WordPress repository and the plugin hasn’t been updated in the last 2 years.  This means that there has been no bug fixes, security updates and the plugin hasn’t been tested against WordPress releases in that time.

Why is this an issue? 

Without security updates a plugin can become a liability for your site and a potential back door to hackers.  Some plugins use fairly simple code that doesn’t have a lot of functionality, but many have complex code structures and involve code that can either be used for access.  In another article we discussed “Why you should keep your WordPress site up to date” and one of the reasons is that WordPress releases security updates and bug fixes on a regular basis.  If a plugin isn’t tested with those releases there is potential for conflicts with new code structures and security policies, meaning the plugin won’t work in the way you want.

What should you do?

There is on;y really 2 options here, reach out to the developer and see if they will be supporting the plugin in the future and replacing the plugin with something that is supported.  Just remember that plugins on the wordpress repository are free.  Some may have a paid version, which means the developer receives money to support the ongoing development of the plugin, but if a developer doesn’t get income for what they do, then we can’t really expect them to work for free.