These are great questions we get from time to time. Because the answers are straight forward, you’ll know very quickly if you are a Beta-type user or not.
Some of PluginBuddy plugins may be in Beta status OR may have Beta features. BETA simply means that some feature or specific part of the plugin is currently still in testing mode, and can cause issues if not used properly. All BETA plugins/features are not yet 100% stable, and thus should NOT be relied on to be working properly OR working at all. This is why you do not want to use Beta products on sites you cannot afford to have fail.
When a plugin or feature is designated as Beta, it implies that any new features or plugins are very close to being released as 100% working. There may still be some issues to fix or test more before removing the Beta status and officially releasing the product.
When you choose to use a Beta product, or the Beta features of a product, you are acknowledging that there may be some issues and are willing to take that risk. (Gmail is still in Beta yet hundreds of thousands of people use it. And yes, at times there are problems. )
Having people test the Beta features is essential. No single software (of any kind) can be tested under every system or configuration possible. By releasing a Beta version, it makes it possible for as many people as possible to test the features on different websites and configurations as possible. This helps everyone – both developers and customers.
A critical point to consider is that since a Beta product or feature, by definition, is not 100% stable, you should never run it on a site that you can’t afford to have fail – unless of course you have the technical skills to repair your site. Beta features are recommended to test and play with on test sites/servers and configurations with any dummy data, as long as you have full backups of all important data still.
Before you use any Beta product, you should always run a complete WordPress backup – not just a database backup. You want a complete backup that can be restored to your site should anything not work the way you want it to.
You can read more information about the concept of Beta and the Beta Program at PluginBuddy on the PluginBuddy codex.
If you’d like to get in on the really early Beta action and receive early copies for testing before we even release beta versions, you can check out the official Beta program.
If you do not fully understand what Beta means, OR are not willing to fully accept and be fully liable for any risks involved because of using such Beta software, you should NOT use the Beta software in any manner. While things may work perfectly fine with no problems, we cannot provide any assurance of that. So if you are not a Beta-type user or are not comfortable accepting the potential risks, simply wait until the Beta status is removed.