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If you ever touched on the topic of WordPress in IT hangouts, there must have been someone who argued that you should not install many plug-ins on WordPress. It’s obvious, the more plug-ins you put, the more WordPress starts to slow down, is not it?

But is this really the case?

In this post, we’ll try to figure out if a bunch of installed plugins affect the speed of WordPress. So, if your admin panel also cracked from the tabs with installed plugins, keep reading.

Many installed plugins – is it always bad?

Let me immediately clarify, I’m not a developer, but I have enough experience in working with WordPress to argue that there is nothing wrong with having many plug-ins installed on your site. With some reservations.

Someone Pippin Williamson, the author of the project PippinsPlugins.com told that on some of his site there are more than 80 plug-ins! And this person knows exactly the sense in WordPress and in all the wisdoms of his work.

In an ideal world where ideal developers code the perfect plugins to the highest quality standards, you can install as many plug-ins as you can fit the disk storage on your hosting.

But there is one problem …

We do not live in an ideal world. We live at a time when hundreds of new plug-ins go out in a day, and in half a year most of them stop updating for different reasons. And some of the more recently popular plug-ins are gradually turning into an abandoned piece of code that resembles this:

Did you get the idea? Any plugin with excellent optimization and licked code after 2 years without updates turns into a potential threat.

Different plugins have different impact on the site

There is one more feature that does not allow to say with certainty “You should always have no more than 30 active plug-ins.”

Look, you can have 30 plugins that make small edits to WordPress, and collectively all these plugins will have zero impact on the performance of your site.

And at the same time you can have 1 single “heavyweight” plugin that makes a bunch of unnecessary queries to the database and slows down the whole site. As a result, 1 plug-in will have a greater impact on the operation of the site than the other 30 combined.

The main idea here is this: you should never judge the impact of the installed plugins on the site .

Think about it: how can you compare the WooCommerce plugin with the “Disable Emojis” plug-in? The first is an entire e-commerce system, a huge add-on with lots of code. And the second – just removes one line of code from your site and disables emoticons.

What problems can there be if you have many plug-ins?

Ok, let’s not talk about an ideal world, but let’s look at things from a realistic point of view. Because people can start real problems with the site, if you tell them that you can put as many plug-ins as you like without thinking.

These problems do not directly depend on the number of installed plugins, they are rather acquired by inexperience in those people who put everything in a row without thinking.

1. The speed of the site

If you install plugins that heavily load the CPU of your hosting server or create too many HTTP requests and database access, this will have 100% impact on site performance.

If you install plugins that add a bunch of their JS scripts and CSS styles to the download queue, this will also slow the site down.

Install enough of these plug-ins, and your site will turn into a white screen with error 503 (Service Temporarily Unavailable).

2. Security and Vulnerability

This problem can have far more serious consequences. Vulnerabilities in plug-ins are the main weapon of hackers and almost guarantee that the site will be hacked.

According to the Sucuri study only 3 plug-ins (which often come with a premium theme kit on Themeforest) have caused a massive hacking of WordPress sites.

U WPScan also has its impressive list of “leaky” plug-ins …

So, you can say that with every installation of a new unknown plug-in, you buy yourself a ticket to the lottery of problems and vulnerabilities. And the more tickets you bought, the more your chances.

3. Incompatibility between the plugins themselves

The well-known problem: installed a new plug-in – stopped working correctly the other one, already installed earlier.

The more plug-ins installed, the more likely the internal conflicts between plug-ins arise.

4. Adware Admin

Have you ever worked in the WordPress admin area, where the sidebar with all installed plug-ins needs to be scrolled 2 screens down? This is a real nightmare!

I do not know if this is perfectionism, but working with WordPress Console is much nicer and more convenient when it does not crack from additional partitions and menus from all installed plugins.

It’s good that there are plug-ins like Admin Menu Tweaker that can hide unnecessary menu items in the admin panel.

And what is the solution?

Every time you install a new plugin, think about what this plugin does and how it can affect your site. If this plugin:

  • creates many HTTP requests
  • creates many calls to the Database
  • loads the processor of your hosting server

– then think twice before installing it. Because such plug-ins slow down the speed and responsiveness of your site and worsen your Google rankings.

There is such a plug-in Broken Link Checker, which people install immediately without hesitation. And in vain. This plug-in just belongs to the category of plug-ins, which pretty load the Database.

On the other hand, there are many plugins that simply add some static portion of the code for small site edits. With such plugins your site will not slow down.

But then again, do not forget to look at the date of the last update of each plug-in!

To determine which plug-in has the greatest impact and load on the site, you can install P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) :

And you can do it easier and check manually. Just unplug all the plug-ins and turn it back one at a time, checking the site’s performance every time.

You can also try to track what is causing the load, if you open Chrome Developer Tools and carefully study the picture on the Network tab.

Results

So in the end? Can I install many plug-ins on WordPress?

It is possible, if you clearly know what each plug-in does and what kind of load on the site it provides. You must be aware of all risks.

Otherwise, you can get yourself problems, because with the increasing number of plug-ins there is a growing likelihood of catching a conflict of incompatibility between them and a potential security risk of the site is growing.

How many plugins is this?

Here everything is individual and depends on the “severity” of each plug-in, as well as on the technical characteristics of your hosting server. For regular shared-hosting, there may be enough 10 plug-ins that will load the Database with their number of hits and put the site.

At the same time, if you have VPS with sufficient resources, you can experiment and install as many plug-ins as you like.

What do you think about this? How many plug-ins did you put as much as possible? Share with us in the comments below!

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