Do Plugins Slow Down WordPress Websites?
Last Updated on 19th March 2023 by Ajmer Singh
WordPress is a popular content management system that is widely used to create and manage websites.
One of the benefits of using WordPress is the ability to add functionality through the use of plugins.
However, many users have reported that their website’s performance has decreased after installing multiple plugins.
The question of whether or not plugins slow down WordPress has been a topic of debate among users and developers.
Do plugins slow down WordPress websites?
1. Plugins Overview
WordPress is a popular content management system that allows website owners to easily add features and functionality to their websites using plugins.
While plugins can be incredibly useful, there is a concern among website owners that they may slow down the website.
In this guide, we will explore whether or not plugins really do slow down WordPress websites and provide tips on how to ensure your website is running as fast as possible.
Explanation of WordPress plugins
Plugins are pieces of code that can be added to WordPress websites to provide additional functionality.
They can be used to add features like social media integration, contact forms, and image galleries, among others.
Importance of website speed
Website speed is an important factor for user experience and SEO.
A slow website can result in a poor user experience and may lead visitors to abandon the site.
Additionally, search engines like Google consider website speed as a ranking factor, which means that a slow website may not rank as well in search results.
2. What Causes WordPress Websites to Slow Down?
There are several factors that can affect website speed. Here are a few:
Large images and media files
Large images and media files can slow down website load times. It’s important to optimize images for the web and compress files to reduce their size.
The quality of your hosting can impact website speed. If your website is hosted on a slow server, it will take longer to load.
Too many HTTP requests
When a website loads, it makes multiple HTTP requests to fetch all the necessary resources, such as images, stylesheets, and scripts.
Too many requests can slow down website speed.
3. How Do Plugins Affect Website Speed?
Plugins can affect website speed in several ways. Here are a few:
Additional HTTP requests
Plugins may add additional HTTP requests to your website, which can slow down load times.
Poorly coded plugins
Poorly coded plugins can cause conflicts with other plugins or themes, resulting in slow load times or even website crashes.
Plugins that load unnecessary resources
Some plugins may load additional resources that are not necessary for your website, which can slow down load times.
4. Factors that Determine Plugin Performance
Not all plugins are created equal. Here are a few factors that can impact plugin performance:
Quality of code
High-quality plugins are well-coded and optimized for performance.
Number of plugins installed
The more plugins you have installed, the greater the impact on website speed.
Your hosting server’s performance can also impact plugin performance.
5. How to Test Plugin Performance
It’s important to test the performance of your plugins to ensure that they’re not slowing down your website.
Here are a few tools you can use to test plugin performance:
GTmetrix is a free online tool that allows you to test your website speed and performance.
It provides detailed reports on your website’s speed, including suggestions for improvement.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that analyzes the content of a web page and generates suggestions to make that page faster.
Pingdom Website Speed Test
Pingdom is a website speed testing tool that allows you to test your website’s load time from multiple locations around the world.
6. Best Practices for Using Plugins on Your Website
To ensure that plugins don’t slow down your website, here are a few best practices to follow:
Choose high-quality plugins
Look for plugins that are well-coded and have a high rating in the WordPress Plugin Repository.
Optimize plugin performance
Disable any unnecessary features or settings within a plugin that you’re not using.
This can help reduce the number of HTTP requests and resources that the plugin loads.
Use a caching plugin
A caching plugin can help reduce the load on your server and speed up website performance.
Minimize the number of plugins
Try to limit the number of plugins you have installed on your website. Remove any plugins that you’re not using or that are no longer necessary.
Keep plugins updated
Make sure to keep your plugins updated to the latest version, as updates often include performance improvements.
Regularly monitor website performance
Regularly monitor your website performance using the tools mentioned earlier.
This can help you identify any plugins or other factors that may be impacting website speed.
Plugin overload is one of the biggest issues that plague WordPress sites.
The reason plugins are so bad for speed, according to KissMetrics, is that they “add code to your pages that aren’t being used often enough to be cached by browsers”.
The more inactive plugins you have on your site, the longer it will take for new pages to load.
Since each plugin adds its own (usually significant) functionality and features, it is strongly advised to use as few plugins as possible.
At the same time, we also need to realize that there are many types of WordPress plugins:
Social sharing widgets, security suites, backup tools, contact forms… all of them are valuable for some websites, but can also worsen the user experience of others.
That’s why it would be a good idea to figure out a way to see which plugins are slowing your site down.
There are different plugin debugging tools available on the web, but some of them do not work properly for all hosts and servers, while others simply provide too many details.
If you want to get a quick and useful overview of your plugins, we recommend that you give the query monitor plugin a try.
The plugin has been around for years and it has gathered a significant number of positive reviews from both beginners and experienced users.
As stated on their Github page, this tool “monitors your MySQL queries in real-time”.
In other words, if you want to find which plugins are the most demanding when it comes to resources, this is the tool to use.
Easier than most other tools and plugins available online, Query Monitor lets you quickly see which requests are slowing your website down.
It is compatible with PHP and works right out of the box – no need for any configuration.
The plugin is designed with a simple and convenient drag-and-drop interface that allows you to filter your requests by hosts, URL paths, queries, status codes…
There are also several useful configuration options available, such as the ability to hide errors from certain plugins or themes.
In case you want to check how fast your site is without having to install any third-party plugins, we recommend using the free website speed test tool provided by gtmetrix, pagespeed insights or Pingdom.
These tools let you analyze and improve your site’s performance (load time) and provide detailed analysis of all aspects that impact your site’s speed – CDN usage, website uptime, mobile performance…
10 Reasons to avoid slow Plugins!
1. Slower loading time for pages.
2. Increased server load (frequent requests).
3. More complicated code (less efficient, more vulnerable to security issues).
4. Higher chances of downtime and errors.
5. Lowered SEO performance due to poorer site response times.
6. Decreased conversion rates and sales/leads.
7. Potentially annoyed visitors leading to higher bounce rates.
8. Higher chances of being blacklisted by search engines for spam/malicious activity.
9. Lower user productivity.
10. Lower the reputation and trust of your business.
In the end, what you should remember from this article is that plugins have a pretty high impact on your site’s speed and user experience.
For that reason, try to avoid overloading your website with unnecessary plugins even if they were previously useful for you.
Check regularly which requests are slowing down your site using a simple query monitor plugin.
If required, you can always switch to a plugin with fewer features and less demanding requests.
Want to increase your website speed, here are the services I used and get 95+ scores in Gtmetrix, Pagespeed Insights and Pingdom.
- I changed my host from Siteground to Cloudways. (Shared to Cloud host)
- I used a speedy theme – Themify Ultra. (A drag & drop multipurpose theme)
- Connect my site to Cloudflare CDN.
- Used the Autoptimize plugin for caching. (Java, Css, Html, Lazy loading, etc..)
- Used the WP optimize plugin for database optimization.
- Optimized my comments.
FAQS on slow WordPress plugins!
Q: Are there any negative aspects of using a plugin?
A: Plugins can be helpful if used correctly, but they also have a serious impact on your site’s speed and security.
If you overload your website with plugins – regardless of whether they are free or paid – it will become slower and more vulnerable to hackers.
This is why it’s always wise to limit the number of plugins you use to a bare minimum.
Q: How do I know if a plugin is slowing down my site?
A: There are several ways to check this – one of them is to install Query Monitor for free.
This will provide detailed information on how fast your website is and which requests are slowing it down, allowing you to identify and remove unnecessary ones.
Q: How many plugins should I use on my site?
A: The general rule of thumb is to limit yourself to as few plugins as possible, ideally only those that are absolutely necessary for your website’s core functionality.
Try to avoid using too many third-party plugins even if they appeared useful in the past because you will only be adding extra weight to your website and slowing it down.
Q: I don’t see any performance issues with my site. Do I really need to worry about plugins?
A: If everything seems to be fine, you don’t necessarily need to worry…
However, it doesn’t hurt to check if your site is performing as well as it could.
Install Query Monitor and see for yourself – the results may surprise you!
Q: Do all plugins slow down my website?
A: Generally speaking – yes.
The more features a plugin has, the more requests it will make, which means your site will load slower.
However, it’s worth noting that even tiny plugins can have a noticeable impact on your website speed if you have too many of them.
Q: What is a plugin’s impact on site security?
A: Unfortunately, using plugins can leave your site vulnerable to hackers…
If there is an exploit found in one of your plugins, for example, it weakens the security of every site on the WordPress network.
This is why it’s so important to keep an eye on these third-party programs and update them whenever necessary.
Q: What are some common mistakes people make when using plugins?
A: The most common mistake is not checking if a plugin is compatible with your website before installing it, especially if it’s a free one.
There are thousands of plugins available to download, but not all of them come from trusted sources.
This means that some will actually damage your site and put it at risk.
Q: What do I need to know before downloading a plugin?
A: Before you download any third-party software – free or paid – you need to make sure it is trustworthy and won’t do any harm.
The easiest way to know this for sure is by checking if it has a decent number of downloads and positive ratings from other users.
Q: Are some plugins better than others?
A: Some plugins are certainly better than others.
A plugin with high-quality code will be updated more often, have a smaller size and will not slow down your site.
If you want to be sure that the plugin you are thinking of using does everything it’s supposed to, do some research on it beforehand.
Q: Can I remove plugins I don’t use anymore?
A: Yes, absolutely!
To remove a plugin from your site – regardless of whether you need it or not – simply go to Plugins and click ‘Deactivate’.
Then delete the plugin by clicking ‘Delete’.
There is no confirmation prompt, so make sure this is what you want to do before proceeding!
Q: Are there any tools that can help me choose the best plugins?
A: Yes. There are several tools you can use to find out more about a plugin before downloading or purchasing it.
One of the most popular ones is WP Detector, which checks each plugin for potential security issues and gives detailed information about its developer.
Plugins can impact website speed, but the extent to which they do so depends on several factors.
By following the best practices outlined in this guide and regularly monitoring your website’s performance, you can ensure that your website is running as fast as possible.
Remember, a fast website is essential for providing a positive user experience and achieving good search engine rankings.
In conclusion, slow plugins have a negative impact on your website’s speed and performance.
If you want to avoid all the problems mentioned above, simply try one of the new lightweight plugin alternatives designed by experienced coders.
They let you retain most of the functionality while making sure that pages load as fast as possible.
Do you have a plugin that is slowing down your website? What method did you use to find out?
Let me know in the comments.