Plugins for WordPress are great, aren’t they? You can find a plugin to almost anything you desire and at the time of writing there are 36,238 plugins available to download and extend the functionality of your blog. But, how many plugins do you really need?
The answer is very simple! More than you REALLY need is too many, and you could probably get rid of a few that you think you need..
Some people like to quote a number when talking about how many WordPress plugins you should have. Thinking in terms of a number of plugins is a mistake because 5, 10 or 12 is too many if you don’t need them.
“Every time WordPress loads a page, it runs every active plugin, regardless of whether or not that plugin affects the actual output of the page.” – Chris Pearson, creator of the awesome Thesis theme.
What are the problems with having too many plugins?
- Pagespeed Most plugins increase page loading times and size. Google doesn’t like slow blogs and websites, but more importantly neither does your audience.
- Security Some plugins have vulnerabilities that can leave your website open to attack from hackers.
- Incompatibility Some plugins can actually “break” your WordPress theme. When something in a theme suddenly stops working, it’s ususally caused by a badly made or incompatible plugin. If that happens to you, disable your plugins one by one until you find the culprit.
- No longer updated or supported A lot of time, and sometimes money goes into making and supporting plugins. If the plugin author doesn’t see any return for their efforts or just gets bored with the project, the plugin won’t be updated to keep it compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
This an example of an outdated plugin which may not be compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
One example of too many plugins I recently came across was on a blog I was hired to optimize and clean up. When I started the project there were 57 plugins which badly affected the blog’s pagespeed and performance. After deleting all of unnecessary plugins, the loading time for the homepage went from 6.5 seconds to 1.9 seconds.
If you have a WordPress blog or website…
- Check if you have any unused plugins, then deactivate and delete them.
- Make sure that all the plugins you currently have, or are going to use are up to date and compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
- Don’t pay attention to people who post lists of “must have” or “recommended” plugins. Must have for them doesn’t mean must have for you.