The good news about WordPress is the insane number of free plugins. And the bad news? The insane number of free plugins.

Yes, the old double edge sword concept.  Seems in life, that everything gets taken to an extreme. And today, that extreme is with plugins.

More and more clients I work with seem to have an ever growing list of plugins. One in particular had over sixty plugins. What’s the big deal?

Thanks for asking. The big deal is (a) increased security risk and (b) greatly reduced performance.

Performance

For today, let’s focus on b, reduced performance. Each plugin uses resources. And resources are limited. This particular client had so many resources being used that they were constantly being shut down by their host.

And the host is a good host. But there comes a point, on a shared hosting account, that others on the account need to be protected. And when one uses too many resources others can suffer.

What’s A Good Number

There’s no magical number for plugins. Other than to say pushing fifty plus is a danger area. Some plugins use more resources than others. And some are “mission critical” meaning you need them.

Take WooCommerce for example.  It requires a number of plugins to function. So if want to use WooCommerce for e-commerce (highly recommended) then you’ll need to include a number of plugins.

But what about little things. Maybe limit the length of a page title? Should you add a plugin? Or to insert Google tracking code? The list of little plugins can grow.

Narrow It Down

In the case of lots of little plugins, the answer is easy. Combine them into one custom plugin. Rather than have ten or twenty, each with their own additional resources, combine them into one.

We do that with our clients and it makes sites a lot cleaner and a lot more functional.

So next time you are excited to click “install” and “activate” think twice. The short term gain in some new functional benefit may be quickly offset by continually weak performance.