WordPress Plugins – How Many is Too Many?

How do you know if you have too many plugins installed on your WordPress site?

To be exact – there is no exact answer to this question.

When you install a WordPress plugin, it enhances your site’s functionality in some way. But in addition, it does add a lot of bloat to your website in terms of additional script files, etc. which can affect the performance of your website. That said, the number of plugins that you use on your website is not a benchmark of your site’s performance. There are websites with a hundred plugins which loads very fast, while there are others with only a few plugins but runs at a snail’s pace.

So, how do you decide how many plugins you have to add to your WordPress website? The question that you should be asking is not “how many”. It should be “what”. Depending on what your website is about, this could vary. But here are some of the common things to consider:

Functionality of the plugin

Functionality of the plugin

A major factor in deciding which plugins you want to use is the functionality it offers. There are a some common functionalities such as SEO, social sharing, security etc. which almost every website out there will benefit from. Here’s a quick list of essential plugins for your WordPress website. If your website offers additional options for your visitors such as memberships, product purchase, etc., you might benefit from some additional plugins related to those.

Popularity

Next comes the popularity of the plugin. If you search in the WordPress repository for a plugin that can do a specific function, you’ll find that there are a number of choices to pick up from. The number of downloads and the rating shown will help you choose the best from the lot. You can further drill down by choosing a few top plugins from the list, and then checking them individually for user reviews, support etc.

Support availability

Support availability

When it comes to any software, support is a major factor. When you search for plugins, look for the “Last Updated” date and the Compatibility with your current WordPress version. WordPress keeps updating the core files and adds additional bug fixes and security plugs. The best plugin developers will keep abreast of these changes and will keep their plugins updated to comply with these version changes. They also respond to support queries and provide resolutions soon. These will help you make your own judgement and choose the plugin you want to use.

Pricing

Pricing

Many of the plugins that you find in the WordPress repository are free, with additional functions available if you buy their upgrade. While the free version does include community level support, the paid version would usually include direct professional support. You can make a comparison between the free and paid versions and choose between the two. There are also paid plugins which are available for purchase from websites like Envato.com that offer professional support based on the license.

Do I actually need a plugin? What if I don’t find what I need?

While there are numerous plugins available for most of the common things that a website would need, you might run into a situation where you won’t find a good plugin that can satisfy your requirement. Or, you may have found a plugin which comes close, but needs a little more adjustment or fine-tuning.

In such cases, it helps if you turn to a developer to help you with creating a plugin for you, or fine-tuning an existing plugin for your requirement. You can find a lot of good plugin developers online in places like Toptal, Upwork, etc.

Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section below.

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