Too many plugins in your WordPress install?

CollegeDegrees360 photo from Flickr

CollegeDegrees360 photo from Flickr

We all know that faster websites get faster load times and higher number of conversions because people don’t have to refresh your site.

Even there were reports of Amazon increasing sales by 1% with 100ms reduction in load time on their website.

Why are we discussing the page speed when the title says too many plugins?

Well the main reason here to discuss this is because too many plugins may cause your site to become heavy and cause it to load slowly.

So then the real question arises:

How many plugins are considered as too many? And what impact do they have on the site performance.

So let’s first understand what a plugin does normally when it is installed or being used.

It posts a javascript file at the very top of the header or footer. This javascript now keeps on loading on each page since it is loaded in header or in footer so even though on some pages you aren’t using the plugin like for example a pagination plugin but still it continues to load the plugin.

Hence whenever there are many plugins  you see the site becoming slower and slower with more and more plugins added into it.

So how to determine which to include and which to not?

Let’s get this answer straight:

  1. First primary step for any plugin selection is to understand which plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress and as well as reviews of that plugin. Because most of the causes are due to incompatible or poorly coded plugins. So plugin selection should be mostly via WordPress plugin repository.
  2. Check which plugins are the most needed ones without which your site won’t work: Like seo plugin, contact form plugin, twitter feed plugin etc.
  3. Then determine which are the ones which aren’t that much required like sitemap plugins and try to find out alternative for such plugins via code. Like sitemap xml and both html can be created using free sitemap generators and directly placed in your root folder of the WordPress. So no need of using an unnecessary plugin for them. Same is the case with google analytics and other stats counter codes. Don’t use plugins but directly post their codes in your footer.
  4. Lastly when all plugins have been added try checking your website speed in sites like Pingdom Tools or Google page speed test.
  5. Install WordPress on a good server. If you are just starting your business start using shared hosting by any of Endurance International Group hosting sites. But in case you are expecting high traffic or get high traffic for your site you should get VPS hosting or managed hosting by WP Engine or the likes.
  6. Once all these are done then install W3 Total Cache (don’t use minify in that as it is known to cause issues) and you should be good to go with your plugins.

Hope all these steps help you in determining your website speed and optimizing your site for the required number of plugins.

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