How Many Plugins Are Too Many For A WordPress Website?

How many plugins are too many for a WordPress website?

How many plugins should you have on your WordPress website? How many plugins are too many?

This is a question I often see in Facebook business groups.

There will be replies ranging from twenty plugins, fifteen plugins,  five plugins or if a coder replies then zero plugins (since they code everything).

The correct number of WordPress plugins on your website is (drum roll please)...

WordPress website plugins

It depends on the functionality of your website. Sorry, there is no specific number of plugins that are required for a good website. Once you know what you are trying to achieve, you can work out which plugins are required to achieve that outcome.

When you’re thinking about website performance, it's not the number of plugins that's the issue, it's the quality of the plugins. You could have ten incredible plugins on your website. However, if number 11 is a really bad plugin, it could still destroy the performance of your website, or your website itself by giving you the white screen of death. (Note: this is ALWAYS why I recommend taking a website backup before changing ANYTHING on your website).

Every plugin on your WordPress website should be there for a purpose.

If you're testing a plugin, you may have it deactivated while testing for a short period. When you’ve finished testing the plugin, you can either activate or deactivate it and then delete it.

Choose plugins from trusted sources. There is a WordPress directory that has thousands of plugins and that is not an exaggeration. All those plugins have been checked against the directory standards. You can check the reviews (I always start with the worst reviews first) to see what reviewers think and what issues they’ve had. You can also check the support forum for the plugin to see how quickly the developer responds and what issues have been raised.

There are also independent developers with their own websites and also plugin online shops. Check out their reputation first so that you are confident that the plugin will not do any harm to your website. Of course, you’ll be able to restore from that backup that you took earlier if anything did go wrong.

There is also the option of a staging website to test a plugin before loading it onto your live website. This is a good option if you have a complicated website (with lots of plugins already) or if having your website down for any length of time would cause an issue for your business. For example, if you have a busy e-commerce website with lots of orders coming in you need to know that the new plugin works well before launching it.

If you’re worried about the performance of a plugin on your website, you can run tests when the plugin is active and when the plugin is not active. Since the P3 plugin has not been updated for years, it should not be used for testing websites. Another way is to test website performance when adding a plugin is to use a service such as Pingdom. First, enter your website URL, then where you want the test run from. In my case, this is Pacific Sydney Australia if you’re running the free version. It will give you an overall grade and hints on what to do to improve the website grade. Testing your website before and after the plugin is active will let you know if a plugin is causing issues.

Be aware that the plugin itself may not be the cause of the issue - it may be that you have two plugins installed that do not play well together.

I’ve seen this with page builders where someone has installed more than one page builder plugin and then wondered why their website is a mess. Again it’s not the number of plugins installed. It’s adding in plugins that are not meant to work together. If you’re going to use a page builder and you’re not sure which one you want to use it’s better to test that on a staging or demonstration website rather than use your live website.

What plugins would I say are required for a WordPress website?

Definitely a plugin that will do a full backup of your website and ideally send the backup to the cloud.

One or maybe two plugins for anti-virus and anti-malware on your website. These plugins will inform you if you have anything suspicious on your website. If you discover that then you can get some help in sorting it.

An anti-spam plugin may be required if you are receiving a lot of spam either through your contact form or comments on your WordPress posts.

Any other plugins, such as page builders, e-commerce etc. depend on what your website is doing for your business and what functionality is required.

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