When looking for the best plugins, it can be tempting to install several plugins for the same thing. Say, you’re looking for a slider plugin. You install the top 5 titles, try them all, decide on your favorite, and delete the rest. Unfortunately, this can leave your database bloated with needless options, settings, tables, or other data that those deleted plugins may leave behind. Don’t do your database like that! Instead, you can create a throwaway ClassicPress burner site with just a few clicks…and then audition new plugins there. When you’re done, you can just forget about the site – it’ll be automatically deleted in 24 hours.
No fees, no registration, no downloads!
Another way I do it is to download a backup of the current database.
Play around as much as you want, and when you’re finished, delete the trial plugins (and any media you may have added) and upload your original database.
You can then install the plugins that you found you wanted.
This has the added advantage of picking up any plugin conflicts.
Of course, if you’re doing it on a live site with a lot of traffic, you would put it into maintenance mode during that time.
Thanks for adding another method, @aussie.
My primary purpose for this service is probably not obvious. What I do is create a new installation and run it through, say, GTMetrix, to determine baseline performances numbers. Then, I install a single plugin and re-run the tests to determine how that single plugin affects the performance. I don’t use many 3rd party plugins, but, this greatly helps to avoid installing plugins that would bog down my site.