How Many WordPress Plugins Should You Use?

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WordPress is no doubt one of the best CMSs out there. Part of the reason that it’s so good is because of plugins.

Plugins make life easy for bloggers like you and me. There is always a plugin for anything we want to do in WordPress.

Examples:

This leads to a very common question:

  • How many WordPress plugins should we use?

It took me years to understand that the fewer plugins we use, the better our website’s performance and load time is.

In the post WordPress vs. Blogger : Which Is Better & Why?, plugins are listed as one of the major advantages in WordPress. But it needs to be noted that using lots of plugins can slow down your blog’s performance.

Why Plugins Slow Down Your Blog

Using a WordPress plugin is like adding a code onto your website. You can have the same feature performed without the plugin by adding some code manually into your core theme/WordPress files.

So when you add a plugin, it increases the number of codes on your blog, and thus, if coded improperly, your blog takes more time to load or complete an action.

Even if you are using 30+ WordPress plugins, and they are all well-coded, it will not slow down your blog or degrade your blog performance.

But there are many plugins like that take a long time to perform an action, and thus, these plugins are not really recommended unless they are necessary.

Another less known reason is the cron jobs. A lot of plugins adds cron jobs that perform certain tasks like “sending email”, “Checking logs” after every few minutes or hours. 

The more plugins you have, the number of cron jobs increases. Here is a screenshot of cron jobs for a website which is running 40+ plugins:

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You can also check this for your WordPress website using WordPress advanced database cleaner plugin. It shows many data that you would not be able to find otherwise.

So which WordPress plugins should we use?

First things first, using any WordPress plugin is your personal choice.

We install new WordPress plugins to get more features for our blog.

It’s ultimately a personal decision.

Do we really need all these features?

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Yes, we do, but using a plugin is not always the best solution. Using manual code to replace a WordPress plugin is a much better way. For example, instead of using the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, we can use codes to show a related post.

Of course, you would need to know how to code to do that.

So using a plugin is usually preferable.

But it’s important to know that increasing the amount of plugins will likely increase the amount of time your blog takes to load.

That said, there are a few must-have WordPress plugins:

  • WordPress SEO by Yoast: The best free SEO plugin for WordPress. It’s loaded with lots of features to make your blog optimized for search engines and social media sites.
  • Akismet: Helps you to fight against comment and trackback spam.
  • WP-DBManager: An all in one plugin which will help you to optimize, repair, and take backups of your database.
  • SEO Friendly Images: This plugin lets you add an alt-tag onto your blog images which helps your blog images get indexed into search engines.
  • W3 Total Cache: A must-have plugin if you are expecting a traffic spike on your blog.

Now, there are many non-essential WordPress plugins that you might want depending on your preferences.

Again, I would suggest installing only those that you feel are truly necessary.

WordPress AdSense Plugins

Affiliate WordPress Plugin

WordPress Optimization Plugins

Optimizing For Mobile Plugins

There are many other plugins out there, and I encourage you test them out.

A few things:

How many WordPress plugins are there?

There are more than 6500 premium WordPress plugins out there. There are over 50,000+ free WordPress plugins out there. You can browse some of the free plugins here.

How many plugins are too many for WordPress

This is very subjective, and you should aim for as low as you could. Your WordPress hosting, server type, theme and quality of plugins determine how many plugins, should you be using.

There is no magic number in terms of how many plugins to use. I would recommend no more than 10, but if you feel the need to use more, and your blog’s performance is still rocking, then I say more power to ya!

Let me know how many plugins you are using on your WordPress blog. What’s your “optimum” number of plugins? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

19 thoughts on “How Many WordPress Plugins Should You Use?”

  1. good list, though one pointer, if you are not using any plugin feature, disable it as it will keep on taking memory and if your blog suddenly gets lot of traffic some plugin (especially those access mysql tables) can bring down your sit

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      Nice point Abhi. Even if you are using YARPP or any such plugin which puts lots of queries it’s ok, but best sugggestion would be disable it when you are getting traffic spike.

  2. Michael Aulia

    I’ve been exchanging tickets with my current hosting (30 ticket replies so far) trying to nail down what causes my account to use 60% of CPU usage in PHP Calls 🙁

    Not sure which plug-in is causing this but I’ve disabled newly installed plug-ins but so far haven’t nailed it yet.. Might try your suggestion on putting a manual code although I don’t understand. It’s a PHP code as well so why would it make a difference? (compared with using a plugin)

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      I recently faced the same problem with my another blog which is hosted on DH server, They told me that the issue is because of ALL in one SEO and YARPP and I didn’t installed Super cache plugin. I removed YARPP and installed super cache and blog comes back to normal after that 🙂

  3. George Serradinho

    Thanks Harsh for this post.

    I have a question for you. I have 22 plugins installed on my blog. Of the 22, there are 5 plugins for the admin side of my site. I don’t think they affect my loading of my site (db backups, delete revision, no self pings, user locker, security scan). What is your opinion on this?

    If I have 22 plugins and 5 are for admin side then I would say that I have 17 plugins for my frontend of my site.

    Your assistance is appreciated.

  4. Great post! I implemented the code for related posts into one of my sites to see how well it worked after I disabled YARP plugin and I’m glad to say it worked fine.
    Guess what I’ll be doing over the next couple of days 🙂

  5. Great post. Did you find that YARPP was causing trouble with so many queries or did you just remove it on principle?

    Cheers

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      Vince I read it somewhere that YARPP makes your blog slow but the new updates YARPP comes with caching system and it’s great to use. 🙂

  6. Interesting post and comments

    I actually have 38 plugins active at present
    I do not feel comfortable with removing any as they each serve a vital function on my blog

    I need to add though,that I signed up for MaxCdn,so alot of the server load is lightened
    Having a good host is essential and with no affiliate link,I recommend Hostgator
    Hostgator offer extremely fast servers,mabny plans when on a business plasn which only costs $15 pm.have quad core processing and only 5 othert accounts per server

    If you expect super servers and no down time,be prepared to pay for it.IOt is futile to expect dedicated server quality and performance for $4:95 pm
    Greg

  7. Great post.. One of my friend’s is a professional wordpresser and he said that for optimum performance,you need to have maximum 10 plugins.. I have 11 plugins and the website seems to work fine..

  8. See this,there is many plugins but with each one needs to spend hours to make them work, programers make them like every normal man who tryes to make a wordpress web site is a programmer or web specialist,they yust have to make it easy.

  9. Another informative article, I agree with your point that we should try to do manually code change if we can and avoid excess of plugins.
    Thanks for sharing this post.

  10. hi harsh ,
    wanted to ask WordPress seo by yoast … create sitemap too… do we need another plugin to create sitemap(Google XML sitemap WordPress plugin) ?. or Yoast is enuff ?? Please let me know thnxx…..

  11. You have not made any recommendations about security i.e. virsus protection, what, is the best approach to this?

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