As per the latest updates, there are more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository alone. Moreover, some developers give free and paid WordPress plugins through their portals. This gigantic collection brings the feeling of a kid in a candy store to those in search of required plugins. It is surprising that people have installed more than 600 plugins on a single site which is working impressively, strangely enough.
The point is, how many is too many. What harm can plugin addiction do to your website? What is the proper way of choosing the right plugins for your website?
In this article, let’s go find some answers!
Why Install Plugins At All?
WordPress itself is full of features, and it’s easy to handle a website without plugins at all. But if you wish to fine-tune things a bit, plugins are the answer. From securing your WordPress site to providing SEO, there are plugins for advertisement popups and even raining snowflakes on the web page. Plugins do other significant things in a website like linking eCommerce and database caching too.
In short, if you are working on a robust WordPress site with a lot of features included, you’ll definitely be needing some plugins.
But, Plugins Can Let You Down!
Plugins do great work. But more the plugins, more the risk of running into issues. See the dilemmas plugins can cause if they get overloaded on your WordPress site.
1. Website Crash
Even the developers with utmost expertise have faced issues with their plugins. Free plugins and indeed the paid ones had gone vulnerable at times. Website owners have had bitter experiences with plugins that had more than 20 million downloads.
That, in fact, is due to the desire of WordPress and its community to remain an open source. Anyone at any corner of the world can create, modify, use and share all WordPress related software. And that is why, when the least amount of trouble sneaks into the code of a plugin, it goes wild. We should accept this as a price of being the part of a community-based project.
Unfortunately, due to the instance like above, people have a tendency to worry on performance, security, and reliability, when it comes to using WordPress plugins.
2. Site Performance And Page Speed
Website owners are always concerned about the page loading speed. More the plugins installed in a website, the slower will be its loading time. While using each plugin, a separate server request is being sent before your readers load a portion of your website. Thus, the browser gets added with more and more codes and takes more time to load the page.
Another concern for the performance is if two or more plugins don’t get along with each other. It is possible that one or more of the installed plugins may not be compatible with the others. That not only slows down the page but even causes a vigorous failure of the website at times.
3. Security Breaches
As said, WordPress is an open source community project. It always brings a surprise of immediate vulnerability to security threats. And when such a peril occurs, it can turn your business upside-down in a single night. Also, consider the time it will take to rebuild and recover from the attack.
So, whenever you install an external resource to your WordPress site, there is some element of risk involved.
4. Issues In Reliability
One of the prime concerns of WordPress users is the reliability of the plugins they use. Issues with reliability include poor-quality coding, discontinued support, the product suspended, irregular schedule of updates, and ease of use.
All these issues can bring doom even to plugins which were once the stars of the show, and their devolution brings harm to the users rather than any good.
How To Work These Out!
Done with the problems, right? Now let’s look through the solutions.
- Use Fewer Plugins – Chances of running issues can be solved mostly by reducing the number of plugins.
- Use Multifunctional Plugins – With the use of multifunctional plugins, you can reduce the number of plugins considerably.
- Decide the Core Plugins & Delete the Rest – Take a tour through your installed plugins. You will see some of them weren’t used for centuries (well, at least for months!). Keep the plugins you think are most wanted, and dump the rest.
- Take a Code Detour – Go through the codes of all the plugins you use. Make sure that they are as transparent and light-weight as possible. If this feels difficult, make a proper study on each plugin before you go for it.
- Keep a Clean Database – Do a regular cleanup of your database to remove as much bloat as possible.
- Reliable Website Hosting – Every web hosting service is different. Choose the best and reliable hosting service for your WordPress site, so that it runs in a fast-loading and problem-free environment.
- Appropriate Hosting Plan – Choosing a hosting plan is as important as choosing a hosting service. Hand-pick the proper hosting plan as per the requirement of your WordPress site.
- Test Before You Install – Test every plugin in a staging site or local host before you install it on your live site. This will help you to find the problems before it reaches the live site.
- Backup Your Site Often – A proper backup of your website can ensure you that all data is safe even after an attack hits your live site. With the timely backup, you can restore your site to a previous stable state.
- Have a Security Plugin in the List – Always include a good security plugin in your list of installed plugins. That way, you can detect a problem or problem making plugin at an earlier stage, and remove them before they create any further damage.
- Use Plugins with Support and Updates – That way, you can avoid problem makers and always knock for support.
And How Many Plugins Is Too Many?
Well, to say, there is not a set number as an answer. Still, you can always follow this thumb rule for a safe WordPress future:
- Shared or Budget Hosting – 0 to 5 plugins
- Cloud Hosting, VPS or Dedicated Servers – 5 to 20 plugins (although less than 10 is recommended)
Though we have these numbers as a norm, they are just the norm. There are sites with over a thousand plugins and runs with flashing speed. So, you can decide that for yourself with the help of the above said points and suggestions.