How many WordPress plugins should you install on your site? This is a question we get a lot. The real question is: how many plugins are too many?
We want to clarify WordPress plugins in depth for our non-techy consumers because there are a lot of misconceptions about them and how they might affect website speed, performance, and security.
We’ll go through how many WordPress plugins you should put on your site in this article. We’ll also discuss how plugins affect your website and what they can and cannot do. Our goal is to assist you in learning how to use the right WordPress plugins to run your website.
Let’s take a quick look at WordPress plugins and how they function before we go any further.
How Many WordPress Plugins Should You Install?
Plugins use the PHP programming language, just like WordPress. PHP code makes use of the resources available on your website’s hosting server.
This is why you must find a reliable WordPress hosting company that provides you with simple tools for managing those resources and efficiently running your website.
Plugins have been a godsend for WordPress users since version 1.2 (when support for WordPress plugins was implemented). Without plugins, WordPress is akin to a play store without any toys. That’s no way to have a good time.
What Makes WordPress Plugins So Important?
Despite the fact that the WordPress core provides a robust publishing architecture, it is the plugins that have made WordPress the most frequently used website builder on the planet.
Over time, the overall number of available WordPress plugins has increased. There are around 54,000 free WordPress plugins in the official plugins directory at the time of writing this article.
In addition to these free plugins, third-party companies and developers sell thousands of paid WordPress plugins.
Plugins can aid in SEO, security, user management, and other tasks. Without the use of WordPress plugins on your website, growing your business would be tough.
What Caused WordPress Plugins to Have a Bad Rep?
Plugins enable WordPress to perform practically any task you can think of. Many newbie users, on the other hand, now show a dread or apprehension of plugins.
Performance, security, and reliability are all issues that people are concerned about. This is due to the fact that troubleshooting a client’s website may be extremely frustrating for designers, developers, and web hosting support experts.
They make remarks like “have fewer plugins” or “it is the plugins that are slowing down your site” to express their anger.
These statements have reverberated on social media, at meetups, and at conferences. The ambiguity of those assertions is the most serious problem with them.
What is the opposite of more? Is there such a thing as having too many WordPress plugins?
We believe the issue is one of quality rather than quantity of plugins.
You can have dozens of decent WordPress plugins running without any problems, yet a single badly built plugin can cause your website to slow down.
When this happens and you seek troubleshooting assistance, your hosting company’s support expert or another developer will point the finger at the number of plugins you have installed.
This makes sense because troubleshooting a website with five plugins is a lot easier than troubleshooting a website with thirty. The greater the number of plugins, the more difficult it is for them to complete their tasks.
It’s critical to proceed with caution after receiving such advice as a result of frustration.
Because merely blaming the quantity is a result of laziness, you should respectfully ask them to identify which individual plugin is causing the issue.
To put this in context, our WPExpertPro website now has 62 active plugins and loads very quickly.
We should only have to disable one bad plugin if we add one terrible plugin that slows down the website (not all 62).
Let’s look at how plugins can affect various areas of your website now.
The Effects of WordPress Plugins on Site Speed and Performance
There are numerous sorts of WordPress plugins, each of which has a different impact on the performance of your website.
Plugins that primarily influence the front-end are available. Page builder plugins, contact forms, galleries, sliders, and other similar elements are examples.
There are other plugins designed to conduct activities in the back-end or admin area. Backup plugins, editorial plugins, and numerous background activities, for example, are all examples of WordPress plugins.
There are also plugins that run in the admin and front-end areas. SEO plugins, WordPress firewall plugins, and other types of plugins are examples.
The influence of a WordPress plugin on the speed and performance of a website is determined by where it is loaded.
Plugins that are only loaded when you are performing specific tasks in the WordPress admin area, for example, are unlikely to have an effect on the performance of your website.
Plugins loaded on the front end, on the other hand, are more likely to have a greater performance footprint.
Plugins that perform background tasks like broken link checking, 404 monitoring, and so on can also dramatically slow down the overall performance of your website.
Plugins can affect the performance of your website in the following ways:
- Additional HTTP requests — Some plugins (especially front-end ones) may require specific styling or scripts to function properly. As a result, they may include additional JS and/or CSS files in the mix (s). Additional HTTP requests are required to load these files, slowing down the page load time.
- Additional Database Queries – Some plugins can enhance the number of database queries you have. Plugins to show popular posts, related posts, or anything else that pulls data from the database and shows it on the front end, for example.
- Background Processes & Database Writes — While running background processes like checking for broken links, monitoring and logging metrics like post views, and so on, some plugins might consume a significant amount of server resources.
The majority of competent WordPress plugins will only load new files when they’re required, and they’ll keep database requests to a minimum. It is, nonetheless, unavoidable at times.
Fortunately, most scenarios can be optimized. Let’s look at both a short- and long-term solution to these problems.
First, check sure your WordPress site’s cache is enabled. Your website will be slow if you don’t use caching.
Now it’s time to move on to further improvements.
Adding More HTTP Requests is a problem that has to be addressed.
In order to work out of the box, plugins must make additional HTTP requests (such as JS and CSS files). When you install a contact form plugin, for example, you want it to function properly as well as look attractive.
People grumble about extra HTTP requests, despite the fact that they are occasionally required. The following is an example of an unstyled form.
It would be disliked by the majority of users, and some would even believe it was broken. That’s exactly what would happen if the contact form didn’t include the HTTP requests to load the CSS and JS files.
To put it another way, the additional styles and scripts are required for the plugin to work effectively.
There are three options for resolving the issue with the extra HTTP requests. All of them necessitate some level of coding and WordPress expertise, but one is clearly easier than the others.
The second option is to load the plugin styles/scripts only on pages that require them.
For those who aren’t familiar with coding, a premium caching plugin such as WP Rocket can minify and merge files with a single click. While this will work in most circumstances, it may cause issues with certain plugins in some cases.
With that in mind, you should realize that a few extra HTTP requests aren’t as significant as you might believe. It’s milliseconds we’re talking about. If you have a lot of plugins that make extra HTTP queries, this optimization will save you a few seconds.
To speed up their website, many non-techy business owners simply hire a Codeable WordPress developer (which is a worthwhile investment).
Let’s have a look at some additional DB queries now that we’ve covered HTTP requests.
Additional Database Queries and Background Processes are being addressed.
Some plugins can cause your database server to become overburdened. WordPress does an excellent job of caching queries, and most well-coded plugins won’t create any problems.
However, if your website receives a lot of traffic, database-driven plugins can cause problems, especially if you don’t have enough server resources.
If you run a membership site or a WooCommerce-powered online store, for example, you’re likely providing a large number of uncached queries. The only viable choice in this situation is to employ a managed WordPress hosting solution or a specialized WooCommerce hosting solution.
There are a few plugins that use a lot of resources and should be avoided at all costs.
For example, certain email opt-in plugins, website stats plugins, post views tracking plugins, and other plugins provide various analytics functions to WordPress. These plugins write to the database inefficiently on every page load, slowing down your website drastically.
With plugins like MonsterInsights‘ Google Statistics for WordPress or Jetpack Stats, you may track analytics in a more scalable manner.
With plugins like OptinMonster or registration forms from your favorite email marketing providers, you may add email opt-in forms with more scalable tracking.
There are other plugins that detect broken links and monitor 404 failures, which might put a strain on the server’s resources. Instead of employing those plugins, you could utilize third-party cloud services like Ahrefs or SEMRush, which track broken links automatically and provide a wealth of additional SEO insights.
If you don’t want to pay for a premium solution, Broken Link Examine is a free application that enables you check 300 pages for broken links at once.
How Plugins Affect Security in WordPress
When it comes to installing WordPress plugins, security is another key worry. Many customers are concerned that adding more plugins to their site may make it more insecure.
It’s true that hackers can take advantage of a badly written WordPress plugin and render your site vulnerable. However, this is true of almost every piece of software that exists.
Oversights are unavoidable. However, the nicest thing about open source software is that it is widely used, making it easier to find and resolve vulnerabilities.
Sucuri, a WordPress security plugin, can help you keep your website safe. They monitor thousands of websites and will assist you in detecting the majority of security issues caused by a vulnerable plugin.
You may also defend your website by enhancing the general security of WordPress. This allows you to add layers of security before hackers may exploit any hole.
Reliability and WordPress Plugins
Some people are concerned about the dependability of a plugin. What if the plugin is no longer available? What if the updates take a long time to arrive?
The beauty of the open source WordPress ecosystem is that it is always full with options.
If you utilize a popular plugin, there’s a good chance it won’t be retired. If it is, it will almost certainly be forked and developed by someone else. That is open source’s power. This is also how WordPress (the prior platform was known as b2/cafelog) came to be.
You’ll be alright as long as you choose plugins from trustworthy developers with a decent track record.
Is it possible to get rid of plugins by using code snippets?
There are numerous articles on the internet that demonstrate “How to perform XYZ in WordPress without a plugin”.
The goal of these articles is to show you how to learn code, not to discourage you from using plugins. You can add code snippets to your site in one of three ways. You can add custom code snippets to your functions.php file, a site-specific plugin, or a plugin.
Adding code snippets to your website has the same performance impact as a standalone plugin, regardless of the mechanism you use.
If you install code snippets that are identical to a plugin, you are effectively executing the plugin without having to install it. The disadvantage is that you will not receive any plugin updates or security updates for that code.
What Is the Maximum Number of WordPress Plugins You Should Install? When it comes to WordPress plugins, how many is too many?
To maintain your website and build your business, you should install as many WordPress plugins as you need.
A company website with at least 20 – 30 plugins is pretty common.
This number can easily reach 50 if you’re using WordPress to its best extent and have a lot of complex features.
As long as you use high-quality plugins that meet WordPress code standards, you’ll be alright with a huge number of plugins.
What is the Best Way to Choose WordPress Plugins?
‘How do I find the best plugins for my website?’ is one of our users’ most often asked questions.
If you need a free plugin, look no further than the WordPress.org plugin directory. It’s also easier to find decent plugins thanks to the official WordPress plugin directory.
You can see how a plugin is rated and what other WordPress users have to say about it. You can also view how many websites have the plugin installed and when it was last updated.
On the other hand, if you’re considering a premium plugin, be sure it’s from a reputable WordPress company or developer. If you’re not sure, seek for reviews and testimonies online.
This article should have answered your question concerning how many WordPress plugins to install.