How Many WordPress Plugins Are Too Many (Video Tutorial)?

Much of the true power of WordPress comes via plugins. Pretty much all but the simplest websites need to use plugins: and usually quite a few of them. But can you add too many? Do plugins slow down WordPress? How many plugins should a typical WordPress website be using? As a website owner, the answer to these types of questions are things you really need to get to grips with as soon as possible.

Hint: the answers to these questions actually aren’t quite as simple as most folk initially assume. Instead, they usually depend on a few different things, such as the code quality and functionality of the plugins in question, etc.

Here’s what you need to know:

How many WordPress plugins are too many?

– (note: video credits to Topher DeRosia – creator of HeroPress)

Video Transcript:

Hi! This is Topher with WinningWP. In this video we’re going to answer the question, how many WordPress plugins are too many? And the first thing I’m going to point out is that this is a false question, because the number of plugins itself, that number, really has no bearing on your site. You could have a million plugins if none of them did anything, and it wouldn’t slow down your site at all. If you have plugins that increase load time by /th of a second each, that’s okay. That’s a one-second load time, and if you can get plugins to load in less than a second, you’re doing very well. On the other hand, if you have one plugin that increases your load time by five seconds, that one is too many. Five seconds is a long, long time on a page load. It really shouldn’t take that long. Let’s take a look at a site that has a fairly high number of plugins. You can see in the top right here that we have items. We have plugins installed. of them are active, one is inactive, two have updates, and then we have must-use plugins, which are a different kind of plugin, but they are still plugins, so in reality we have plugins, but let’s take a look at what’s here. We’re using Akismet for anti-spam. We’re using Analytify Pro to do some Google Analytics, and that has two add-ons itself. Blog Time simply puts, right up here, what time it is where my blog is hosted. I’m actually in Eastern time zone in the US, where it’s five o’clock, but my blog is set to UTC time, which is in England, and it’s five hours different. This helps me know what time it is on my blog. I’m using Give for donations, and there are several add-ons. Google Analytics for WordPress by Monsterinsights for analytics. Instagram Feed, this pulls pictures from Instagram and puts them on my blog. Now I’m not really doing that anymore. I’m not really using Instagram anymore, and I took down that page, so really this plugin should go away, so I’ll deactivate, and I’m gonna let it sit there for a little while, and if anything bad happens, I can bring it back, but if nothing bad happens in a week or so, I’ll just delete it. I’m using Jetpack and Make Plus, Maps Builder Pro. Now Post Promoter Pro here is inactive already, and has been for quite some time. I really need to delete it. It’s not doing anything. It’s not slowing my site down, but it’s also not getting updated, and so somebody could hack it, but since I’m not using it, I’ll just delete it. All of these other plugins do unique things. I don’t have any duplicated functionality. I don’t have two plugins that do the same thing, and that’s important. If you have two plugins that do the same thing, then you don’t need one of them, and you should get rid of it, and something that’s key about these plugins is none of them really slow down a page load on the front end. There are some people that say that Jetpack does a little bit, but it’s not very much. I’ve done some testing, and I’m happy with that. So if the number of plugins is not the key, then what is? A better question is, what plugins do I need, and are they good quality? Do you have any plugins that are disabled? I did, and I got rid of it. Do you have any plugins activated, but not really in use? I did, and I got rid of that one as well, and that one was slowing down my site just a tiny, tiny fraction, not really enough to notice, but now that it’s gone, even that fraction is gone. Do you have any plugins that seem to make the site slow? This is a big key. There are some plugins that simply take a long time to do whatever it is they’re going to do. The Instagram plugin I had was actually quite speedy. It did a good job of going to Instagram, and getting pictures, and bringing them back, but if it were inefficient, if it took eight or seconds to go to Instagram, and get my pictures, and bring them back, that’d be a total waste. Nobody would sit there for seconds waiting for pictures to load on my blog. That would make it a bad plugin, and I’d like to reiterate the one I had was a good plugin, I just wasn’t using it, but watch for plugins that take a long time to do their job. And the last one is, do you have any that could be replaced by something better? This is something you should think about every few months. Just go through your plugins and say, is this one up-to-date? Is this one not being maintained anymore? Is there something new that I could use that would do this job better, faster, smoother? These are the kinds of questions you should be looking at when considering how many plugins you have. As I said, you could have hundreds if they were all efficient, and clean, and smooth, and do exactly what they need to without slowing your site down. You could have ,. The key is whether or not any individual plugin is slowing down your site, and if it is, that one needs to go. So don’t worry about how many plugins you have. Don’t even bother looking at the number. It really doesn’t matter. But do a good job reviewing your plugins, make sure they’re up-to-date, make sure they’re working well, and make sure they’re not really slowing down your site. One last thing I want to leave you with is the idea that too many plugins can be a chore to maintain. They may not slow down your site, they may be great plugins, no single one of them could be a problem, but if you have too many, it can take up some of your time to maintain them. This website has plugins right now, and it’s really not that bad to maintain. I get a few updates a week. But I have seen sites with hundreds of plugins, and it requires constant attention to make sure they’re all up-to-date. Now if you can mitigate this by using a service, or another plugin, that’s great, but if you find yourself babysitting your website because you have so many plugins, you might want to consider consolidating some, or removing some that you really don’t need. If you’d like to learn more about WordPress, check out WinningWP.com.

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By WinningWP Editorial

Run by Brin Wilson, WinningWP is an award-winning resource for people who use – you guessed it – WordPress. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Google+
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