Wordpress Plugins Should Improve Your Site, Not Make It Slower
The Wordpress plugin repository is home to thousands of plugins designed to add various features and functionality to a Wordpresss site. Most of these plugins are free but there are also thousands of premium plugins costing from ten dollars to hundreds of dollars each. With so many plugins one might want to add as many as possible so that our sites can be extra cool and offer all kinds of features. However, every plugin you add may also decrease your website's overall performance and speed.
Plugins come with their own set of scripts, their own set of style sheets, and scores of PHP files to make it all work. When a plugin is activated many of those files are loaded with every page of your site, whether they are being used on a particular page or not. This creates extra overhead resulting in slower page loads.
Granted, having a few plugins is no big deal and won't cause any issues. However, we've seen sites with as many as eighty plugins! And as mentioned, those sites were slowed to a crawl with every new plugin added.
So what's a reasonable number of plugins a site can utilize without causing any noticeable performance issues? That's a hard question to answer because every plugin cause varying degrees of drag on a website's performance. Some cause little to no degradation, others are total resource hogs and will bog down even the fastest site. We've been building Wordpress websites for over a decade and have come to the conclusion that a reasonable number of plugins is somewhere between 20 and 30. The more you install and activate beyond that can have an exponential impact on performance. The trick is to get by with as few plugins as you can to optimize website performance.
That said, some plugins are better than others, and our extensive experience have found many plugins that are just poorly written and are performace hogs. We've created a list of the worst offenders below that should be avoided if you want your site to be the best that it can be.
Plugins that Hammer Processors and Databases
The following plugins are particularly offensive resource hogs that require more resources than they deserve and should be avoided:
- Broken Link Checker
- Contextual Related Posts
- Dynamic Related Posts
- EWWW Image Optimizer
- Fuzzy SEO Booster
- MyReview Plugin
- SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
- Similar Posts
- WP PostViews
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Many site owners feel the need to run regular backups of their sites using one of the many backup plugins available. These plugins place a huge load on our servers during the archiving process, so much so that, per our Terms of Service, we disallow the use of such backup plugins between the hours of 6 am and 11 pm Pacific time. Performing your own backups will also bring your site to a crawl during the backup process. At Happy Dog, we perform automatic nightly backups of your site for you so we feel these plugins are unneccessary, plus they tend to fill up your hard drive space quickly. Your nightly backup is off-loaded to a separate backup server so it's always safe in the event of a catastrophic hard drive failure. If you ever need a copy of your backup for restoration purposes please submit a support ticket with that request and we'll be ahppy to supply you with that.
Caching Plugins Can Help
Caching plugins are a great way to speed up your page loads and we highly recommend them. But because our web servers use LiteSpeed software, we offer the Wordpress LiteSpeed Caching Plugin as a superior alernative to all the others. The Wordpress LiteSpeed Caching Plugin integrates with the LiteSpeed server software in a way that no other caching plugin can, resulting in superior performance gains. If you would like us to enable this plugin for your account just let us know by submitting a support ticket with your request. Note, the Wordpress LiteSpeed Caching Plugin cannot be used with any other caching plugin. When switching to the Wordpress LiteSpeed Caching Plugin you will first need to deactivate your old caching program.
Plugins are an excellent way to add functionality to any Wordpress website, but don't over do it. Remember that every additional plugin you install will slow down your page loads just a little bit more than the previous plugin did. Choose your plugins wisely and install as few as you can get away with and your site will be blazingly fast.