How Many WordPress Plugins?
Stop the presses. I can tell you now that the amount of plugins on a WordPress site get a bad rap sometimes. I have seen numerous recommendations about having too many plugins on your site. They say that too many plugins can slow down your site. Well, I am here to tell you now that its not about the number of plugins you have, it is about the quality of code that is in them.
If you have been a WordPress user for any time you know that you love your plugins. It seems that any time you want to add a new feature or function to your site, you just can google that feature and find a plugin that we do just that. Now you know you don’t know anything about coding, or you just don’t want the hassle of trying to figure alll that out, so you just find a plugin and add it to your site.
Ok, so 30 days later, you have 600 plugins on your site?? Really?? No just kidding, but it is certainly possible. I have read where the record number of plugins on a WordPress site was 637 without any adverse strain on the website.
Obviously, that would be an extreme case, but my point is that it is possible.
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What are Plugins?
So what are plugins? First off, let me mention that WordPress is built with PHP Code. If you were to drill down into the folders and files in WordPress, you would find files ending in .php and within those files, if you opened them up, you would see the code language of PHP. Now I know this probably doesn’t mean a lot to you, but it means the world to WordPress. this is the language that it understands and is what tells it to load pages and posts so that you can see them on your website.
Plugins are just modules of PHP code. Developers write this code and stick it into a plugin so that it can be shared easily with everyone that wants to add the functionality, that the plugin provides, to their site. You could do the same thing by writing your own PHP code and adding it to your site. Developers do this every day when they build customized WordPress websites for their clients.
What Do Plugins Do?
Plugins allow you to add features and functions to your site without hiring a developer to do it for you.
Want to add a contact form to your site? There’s a plugin for that. You want to add an event calendar, there’s a plugin for that. Want social buttons? There’s a plugin for that. You see where I am coming from? Instead of adding a plugin, you could write the code to add these features, but then you would have to take the time to learn the code. Yeah, I know, plugins are faster.
Ok, so I know you may not want to learn how to write code just to add a feature to your website. You could hire a developer to do this for you, but they can be expensive and you may not have the budget for it. So therefore, you settle on adding a plugin.
Do Plugins Slow Down Your Site?
Plugins slowing down your site is a highly debated issue. You could make a case that they could slow down you site, but you could also make a case that they don’t. I personally believe that some plugins could slow your site. These are the ones that are not coded well.
Having said that, there are other things that could slow your site rather than plugins.
* Poor web host
* Images not optimized
* Large web pages
* Caching not used
Focus on Quality Not Quantity
How many plugins you have on your site really depends on what you want your site to do and what you want your visitors to do. And there really isn’t a magic number for this. Pick the plugins that you need to give it the features you need. This could be 10 or it could be 100.
There are over 40,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin repository and they are not all created equally. Before you pick a plugin, check the items below:
* Check the number of downloads
* Check who the developer is, are they well known?
* When was it last updated?
* Check the documentation, is it easy to understand?
* Check for reviews of the plugin
Don’t duplicate your efforts. I see this a lot with clients that manage their own websites. They may have 50 plugins on their site, but half of these are duplicating the feature of another. You only need one social sharing plugin, find one that does everything you want it to do for your social sharing. You only need one backup plugin, pick a good one. Pick one SEO plugin. In my opinion there’s only one for this, Yoast SEO. There are multiple plugins out there that add SEO functions to your site, where the Yoast plugin integrates all these functions into one plugin. Jetpack has numerous functions that would take the place of several plugins.
The way I look at it, is to have a clear reason for adding each plugin based on the needs of your site. It’s easy to see the next new shiny plugin come out and you want to try it out, when you already have a plugin that does that for you. these plugins often end up staying on your site, but may be deactivated. That’s another no no. If you have it deactivated, chances are you don’t really need it. Get rid of it. It could be a potential security risk.
Well this was my two cents about the number of plugins on your WordPress site. I believe that it is not the number of plugins you have, but what they can do for you, they don’t duplicate efforts and are coded by reputable developers.
How many plugins do you have on your site? Do you believe they are affecting your site’s loading speed? I would love to hear your answers to these questions in the comments below.
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