WordPress powers 35.7% of all websites. Did you know that a main reason for WordPress’ popularity is due to its plugins?
Plugins help WordPress sites unleash their potential to help perform at their best.
But here’s the catch:
Having too many plugins – especially the free ones – on your site is not a good idea.
Just because plugins are accessible it doesn’t mean you need to install and use them. Many can be resource-intensive and have bloated code.
Plus, one plugin can override another plugin’s code. Installing conflicting plugins will end up hurting the overall effectiveness of your site. Worse, they can break your site, causing your beloved project to become inaccessible.
But before we proceed, we’ll just get this one out of the way:
There is no set number of plugins that you can install on your site!
You can install as many as you want until your heart’s content.
But you will eventually reach a point where having specific plugins on your site is causing you more harm than good.
So in this article, let’s find out when these situations are!
The goal is to help you understand the impact of these plugins and what you must do to keep your WordPresss website working at an optimum level.
When Plugins are Slowing Down Your Site
One of the most significant effects of installing plugins is causing your site to slow down.
After all, people don’t have the patience to wait – especially nowadays, when people’s attention spans continue to go down. 47% of web users expect sites to load in two seconds or less.
So if your site’s loading time doesn’t meet their expectations, they’ll pack their bags and leave for another site.
But here’s some good news: You can do something to remedy the situation.
Website speed test results will not only reveal how fast your site loads and your overall score. But they will also inform you of issues that need your urgent attention. Plus, you can get recommendations on how to improve your site’s speed.
Here’s an example of some results that GTmetrix provides:
Some of the recommendations may be beyond your wheelhouse. So, unless you have web development experience, it’s best to hire someone to help you fix your technical issues.
The problems to your site’s loading speed may have something to do with the plugins you’re using.
Unfortunately, both speed tools won’t provide enough information about which plugins are the culprits.
In this case, use the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) by GoDaddy.com.
It’s a plugin that measures the impact of your site’s plugin on load time. Then it lets you create a profile based on these plugins’ performance.
To get started, install and activate the plugin. Then click Scan Now to find how many plugins are installed on your site.
You can also go to the plugin’s settings and click Start Scan.
Once you enter a Scan name, you can proceed with an Auto Scan or Manual Scan.
Once the plugin finishes scanning your plugins, click View Results to know how it went.
An advantage of this is the availability of a detailed rundown of the plugins installed on your site. As you can see from the screenshot below, you can access these reports:
- Runtime By Plugin
- Detailed Breakdown
- Detailed Timeline
- Query timeline
- Advanced Metrics
And after you find out which plugins are using the most resources, you can decide the fate of the plugins.
If they take up a lot of resources, you have to act proactively. You can either replace or remove them.
When You’re Using More Plugins Than You Need
One way of deciding whether a plugin is worth keeping is if you’re currently using it.
Installing a plugin for future use will only add clutter. If you’re not going to use the plugin yet, delete it and download it again when you need it.
Because all an unused plugin seems to do is take up space, they are mostly dragging your site down. And you need to drop the dead weight on your website.
Another issue regarding plugins is redundancy. In other words:
You shouldn’t have more than one plugin of the same type.
Since they perform the same tasks, pick the best one for your site. Less is more, as the saying goes.
Plus, instead of downloading a plugin to perform a specific task, you can do it manually.
Take, for example, Google Analytics. It’s a useful tool that can help you analyse data so you can make smart decisions.
And if you want to know if you can install Google Analytics on your site without a plugin, the answer is:
Yes, you can.
And the way to make it happen is to simply modify sections of your theme.
Just get your hands on a tracking code and go to your WordPress dashboard. From there, you can do the following:
- Go to Appearance > Theme Editor > functions.php
- Go to Appearance > Theme Editor > header.php
Doing other tasks manually helps your site get rid of bloated code found in most plugins. With bloated code, a plugin will perform redundant and unnecessary logic.
When You Leave Your Site Open to Vulnerabilities
Did you know that depending on plugins can bring in malware and other online threats?
After all, WordPress plugins are significant sources of vulnerabilities within the content management system. And the global WordPress vulnerabilities count reveals 54% of the vulnerabilities is due to 1,305 plugins.
One of the most straightforward solutions to this problem is by updating your plugins regularly.
On the dashboard, you can find an icon with a number that signifies the number of plugins that need updates. You can also go to the Plugins sections and click update now.
Sometimes, though, the situation is beyond your control. So this means it can still happen even if a plugin is up to date.
Worse, even the best and seemingly trusted plugins can put you at risk.
And sad to say, those sites were once compromised. When doing a security audit, the Elegant Themes team found a vulnerability: The code injection vulnerability.
What happened was the plugin allowed user roles to execute PHP functions. And unfortunately, this was a vulnerability that can easily be exploited by untrustworthy site users. If the compromised sites didn’t take action immediately, their website could reflect unwanted changes.
A hacked site spells out danger for your business. Not only does it snatch your privacy. It can also ruin your brand’s reputation. And once your site gets hacked, it can be tough to let it bounce back.
Luckily, when Elegant Themes found out the vulnerability involving the Divi Builder, they immediately stepped in. Before matters could get worse, they addressed the subject and advised users to update the plugin.
So because no plugin is 100% safe, what you can do is limit vulnerabilities.
And you can significantly limit vulnerabilities by always assessing the plugins before you install them. You should also stay up-to-date with the announcements from a plugin’s developers.
More than 50,000 plugins from WordPress.org are available. Third-party sites are also ready to share some free and premium plugins.
As mentioned above, you’re free to install as many as you want as long as they don’t compromise your site’s performance.
But do yourself a favour and be practical when using plugins.
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