Plugins are undeniably great. They add new features and functionality to your web page so you can present data and promote customer interaction in unique and customized ways. Without plugins, WordPress becomes a fairly simple platform without much to offer in the way of detailed customization. Some of you ask: is it possible for there to be too much of a good thing? How do I know if I have too many plugins? Those are valid questions. While WordPress plugins do offer so much for you as a website owner and for your customers as web users, it’s possible to come to a point where so much is too much.
Plugins are snippets of code that you add to your website’s behind-the-scenes design to create functionality to some aspect of your site’s visitor-facing side. There are plugins for almost any kind of functionality that you can think of, from checkout displays to blog buttons and everything in between.
Bloggers and site owners enjoy using plugins because they’re an easy way to add customization and value to a site without having to learn a bunch of code to develop a two-line process that performs some function or another. WordPress experts, users, and coders review and rate many plugins to help users get a good idea of the types of plugins that they might like to use for their own sites.
Getting Carried Away
No matter your industry or your blog’s niche, you are probably aware of, or maybe even using, plugins that make your site easier or more enjoyable to use. Sometimes, though, you may get carried away with adding plugins without considering the negative impact they could have on your website. If you think you might have too many plugins and that they are causing problems for your site, read on to learn more about what to look for and how to solve your plugin problem.
Before you take the ax to your page and start chopping away your plugins en masse, take a moment to evaluate the plugins that you already use and ask whether you need them. If you have two plugins that do the exact same thing, for example, consider removing one of them.
Crashing and Security Issues
Similarly, if you’re experiencing website issues like crashing pages or a security problem, try to trace your problem back to the root if you can, and eliminate plugins that contribute to the problem.
If you’ve got so many plugins running that you don’t even know what they’re doing, you need to re-evaluate your plugin game and see which ones can go. The next step comes as you learn more about when to kiss your plugins goodbye.
The problems with plugins are diverse and sometimes hard to diagnose. Why can a website with hundreds of plugins run smoothly, while one with only a handful crashes frequently? Much of the problem lies with what types of plugins you employ and what the code looks like for those plugins.
Security problems are, obviously, the most dangerous side effect of too many plugins or unchecked plugin usage. When you present your site’s viewers with options to share info or make payments, you automatically make your site vulnerable to security attacks from outside forces.
Normally, safe website design and operation keeps information safe and minimizes the likelihood that an attack or hack will occur. However, some plugins operate as backdoor opportunities for hackers to get in and access information, or worse, take command of your entire site.
You must exercise care when choosing plugins. Read reviews and familiarize yourself with enough code to understand whether your plugins offer the services that they say they do. If you feel uneasy about a particular plugin, uninstall it or pass it by in the first place. If your site experiences a security breach, address your plugin situation immediately to see whether one or more plugins made your website vulnerable. Cleaning up questionable plugins gives you peace of mind and ensures safe transactions going forward.
One of the most annoying aspects of a site running too many plugins is the site performance issues that can come along with loading and supporting those plugins. You can gauge your website’s performance problems by loading and viewing the page as a visitor. There are also online tools that you can use that have you enter your URL and time the response when loading the site. Depending on time of the day, your site should respond fairly quickly. Having precise time measurements helps you understand whether your site’s performance is good or too slow.
Site crashes are also a symptom of too many plugins. When a plugin has broken code or is no longer supported by your browser, it can cause your site to crash. If you’re hosting broken plugins, the simplest way to fix the problem is simply to delete them and find new ones to fill the void.
When you have issues like slow loading times and page crashes, your visitors notice. If you start to see your site traffic decrease, it could be due to plugin problems.
Your customers don’t waste their time waiting forever for pages to load, and site crashes don’t make them happy either. You need to look to your plugins for problems that could be causing site wide issues.
If you end up with a plugin-related security problem, notify your affected customers immediately so that they can change passwords and take precautions depending on what information the breach impacted. Neglecting to address a security issue and lock your site down to protect your business interests from problems can cause shockwaves throughout your customer base. You definitely want to minimize the after-effects of a security problem, if at all possible, to avoid losing customers and receiving bad word-of-mouth news from those impacted.
If you have multiple plugins that perform the same job, you should consider reducing the number of plugins that you host. You may consider removing plugins that only add a tiny bit of functionality that you could achieve in another way.
Less is More
Reducing your plugins to the bare minimum to operate your site is a smart move if you want to avoid issues that come along with excessive plugins. Keeping your site uncluttered from extra WordPress plugins makes it visually appealing and more customer friendly overall.
Yes, it’s certainly possible that your site can run just fine with even hundreds of plugins. Depending on the user and the website, plugins may not present any problems with page loading, security or any of the other potential challenges of too many plugins that we just discussed.
If you’re a savvy user who runs WordPress plugins that all serve different essential functions, you probably won’t run into many problems as a result of your plugin use. Remember to periodically check in on the plugins you’re using to ensure their continued functionality and to vet new ones for any potential complications they might cause.
Whether you decide that you want to keep all of your plugins and that they each serve a unique service that you can’t live without, you may want to explore plugin alternatives in case you ever decide to reduce your site’s plugins. There are many ways to code your own functionality right into your very own website design.
Understanding the code behind what makes your site work will help you to be a better developer and make your site shine. Take online courses and do some reading to learn how to code your own functionality if you’re interested in avoiding using plugins. You can also work with a web development professional to make customized code for your site.
If you want to keep using plugins, but are worried about security issues and website functionality problems, you can always commit to doing intensive research before downloading and installing plugins on your site. Choosing only safe WordPress plugins and thoroughly vetting your choices reduces the likelihood that you could install something that harms your site or compromises your information.
There are ways to determine whether you need to reduce your site’s plugins for better functionality. Running simple tests and analyzing plugin function gives you an idea of which ones to keep and which ones you can do without. A bloated website poses security threats and can drive users away, depending on how badly the plugins weigh it down. Keeping track of your WordPress plugins, their uses, and updates all keep your site running smoothly with all of the functionality that you want.
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