How Many WordPress Plugins Are Too Many?

by | Jan 5, 2013 | Business | 11 comments

I think I might have reached an all time high. I used to be really good at keeping things to a minimum, but it looks like this past year has been the exception to the rule.  Take a look at this image & you’ll see what I mean.

2018 UPDATE: Times have changed, and developers are wisely releasing plugins that are careful with your sites resources (most of the time, anyway). Check in with this post to get a more indepth look.

I’ve recently been involved in a few discussions in my online community where people have had slow website load times, or problems with images and graphics loading. I think I may have been feeling a little smug that no one says the same about my site.  That when I run it through a quick test, everything is pretty standard.  Not top of the line, but no big warning signs either.

WordPress Plugins Too Many

But this evening just before bed I was doing a little bit of admin work & logged into “Installed Plugins”…

…and for the first time in forever, I looked at the number at the top.  Wow! 44 plugins. How did that happen?

Well, I do know of course. I installed them. And not for the reasons most people do. I sort of use this website as a playground. So, when a client or potential client asks me if I’ve heard of “Such and Such”, I tend to google it.  And then I do a quick test for them, to assess if it’s something they’re going to be able to grasp quickly – or not.

And, if it looks like a great fit for them, I shoot them over a link.  Voila!

The problem seems to be in that very last step.

It shouldn’t be the last step.  I SHOULD be coming back to my website after sending that email / facebook message & hitting Deactivate.

I’m guessing my pack-rat tendencies are kicking in & I want to remember something about the plugin, or think I may find it useful in the future.  Forgetting there is “always more where that came from”.  And just letting it go.
So, before the problem get’s too bad, I’m going to go through this list, delete everything but 15 (if I can do that) and run a quick diagnostic of my site.

By the way, have you been to Nathalie Lussiers’ Blog?  She has a great video called “How to Speed Up your WordPress in 5 Steps” that may have inspired me to look in the top left corner this evening. Thanks Nathalie!

Do you have a little (or big) nagging task you’ll be taking care of on the weekend? I’d love to hear about it.


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  1. Aradea

    Hi Loralee..nice to visit your blog and found an interesting articles. yes many wordpress plugin help me to build my wp blog. I use akismet,all in one seo,google sitemap xml,and many other

    • Loralee Hutton

      Those are all great plugins. Strangely I’ve had to move away from each of those in the past year (conflict with my theme) but really useful otherwise. Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Robbie Schlosser

    Hi Loralee,
    THANK YOU! This is a real eye-opener for me. I just checked. and I have 69 plugins installed, 52 activated. Apparently there’s been plenty of undisciplined fiddling around going on here. I look forward to a lot of “weeding” this evening, and I’m wondering: Is it the number of installed plugins, or just the number of activated ones, that slow loading time?

    • Loralee Hutton

      Hi Robbie,
      The number of activated would slow it down the most. But I suppose if you have too many files on your server & they’re a stickler for space, it might impact things also. But my instincts say, activated, as they’re attempting to work with each other to keep the site afloat. Have fun! I’ve still got my work cut out with my own pairing down 🙂

  3. Ursula

    Loved this post!
    I also watched Nathalie’s video and since then I try to keep my plugin number low. I am at 10 now, which is not that bad I guess, however,I do need to install more. 🙁 It does kinda worry me that there are so many things that you can do with your wordpress site but you always need another plugin. I guess once I have my site where I want it to be I probably will be at around 20 plugins. :-/ No idea how to keep it lower …

  4. Joanna

    This is helpful. I always wondered how many is TOO many.

  5. Laura Wallis

    Hi Loralee, Do the same thing! Just deactivated quite a few the other day. Need to get a test site going for all those plug-ins I run across.

    Derek Halpern suggests using only 4 plug-ins (Google XML Sitemaps, W3 Total Cache, Akismet, and a form plug-in like Contact Form 7 or Gravity Forms for the more experienced user. Although I noticed recently he mentioned using Statcounter, as well.

    • Loralee Hutton

      I’m not sure I could reduce mine to 4. That’s admirable. Maybe if I had a theme that had some extras built in? But with just the basic things like social media plugins, a shopping cart, lead capture and backup plugins it can get bloated fast.

      But that’s a great idea for the ones I just have to try out. In fact, that’s what I did with the new one from today – added it to a site I just play with. Great idea! Thanks!

  6. seth godin

    Hi Loralee. I got your email, but alas, my reply bounced. Thought you should now that your email is flaking out on you…

    • Loralee Hutton

      Thanks so much for letting me know Seth.

  7. Barbara

    Thanks Loralee. Always good advice. X


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