Plugins are a great feature of WordPress that extends the capability of the CMS. However, do you have too many WordPress plugins?
Having lots of plugins isn’t necessarily bad, however this is more so the case when they are ones that don’t impact the front-end, such as a plugin to duplicate pages. Even if they do impact the front-end, this relies upon third-party developers to optimize their plugins and follow best practices, otherwise your site may suffer. For example, it is very common for plugins to requests on ALL pages, when it’s really only needed on ONE page.
Our goal should be to minimise the number of plugins loading resources on the front-end, especially if that resource is not needed on certain pages.
What plugins do we use?
- Compress JPEG & PNG Images – background process for optimising new images
- Classic Editor – background only to remove Gutenberg editor
- Beaver Builder – our Page Builder of choice
- Contact Form 7 & Flamingo – Basic, lightweight frontend form, only triggering on the page it appears on
- Rank Math – background SEO plugin
- Popup Maker – for our call to action popup, triggered on specific pages only
- Safe SVG – background process to sanitise uploaded SVG’s
- LuckyWP Table of Contents – injects table of contents to our posts, on posts only
- GeneratePress Premium – allows additional controls for our theme
- LiteSpeed Cache – caching and optimization plugin for OpenLiteSPeed
As you can see, we have a very optimized website, but still with a decent number of plugins. This is mostly due to the majority being background-only plugins, and each carefully chosen for what we needed.
Optimising a site with too many WordPress plugins
When working to optimize a website, it’s important to look at what each plugin is doing. Asking what could be done a better way, or replaced with an inbuilt process, is a surefire way to improve performance. For example, one plugin might be used to achieve something that is included within your theme as an option, and easily swapped over. Or done directly via the page builder.
It’s easy to point to the total number and surmise that you have too many WordPress plugins on a website and surmise that’s why it has poor performance. However, lots of plugins are for background functionality and don’t have any impact on the front end for the user.