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WordPress Themes & Plugins: Bloat & what is too many

In this short guide, we’ll outline some problems that many WordPress users face when it comes to WordPress performance, themes & plugins. We also have a basic WordPress performance optimization guide found here: WordPress Performance Optimization

The number one cause in the majority or “slow” WordPress sites is typically related to plugins. Let’s face it, plugins make it easy to do virtually anything on your WordPress site however, too many and/or poorly written plugins can cause major problems for the performance of your WordPress site.

At VeeroTech, we typically recommend sticking to a max of 10-15 plugins however, this number is very subjective when it comes to the quality of those plugins. 15 plugins that use very good coding techniques, minimize css & script calls can be essentially faster than one single poorly written plugin.

 

Added code & scripts

Another thing to take into consideration is that each plugin you add also places additional code that must be loaded each time your website loads: css, javascrtipt or any other calls that the plugin makes. Some of these may be external calls, such as loading a Google script. If a script is loading from a slow source, it too will slow the initial load of the site.

 

Database queries

Another issue is if your plugin is making database queries on each page load. This can also harm the performance of the site, especially if there’s a lot of unnecessary database queries in addition to the normal WordPress queries. As the site grows, so does the amount of queries – for example, if you have 10 pages, a plugin that makes 2 database queries per page load & 10 visitors loading a page, the specific plugin alone will make a total of 20 database queries for those users. Now, if you multiple that by 100’s or 1,000’s of viewers, the number of queries quickly adds up. This will, without a doubt, cause a performance degradation.

 

External script calls

As described above, some plugins can also call external sources for various scripts, icons or css files. This means that the scripts being loaded are at the mercy of the source they are loading from. If you have a plugin loading a javascript file from a remote location on a slow server, it will most definitely affect the load of your website.

 

Unused plugins

Have a large number of “inactive” plugins installed on your WordPress site? Be careful, they may cause problems. Not only from a security perspective, but from a performance perspective, we find that some calls & includes can get cached if the plugin was disabled, but a cache was not cleared. This can lead to your website making calls to & including scripts that potentially don’t exist. Your browser will wait upon loading these scripts & eventually abort the load however, your sites performance will suffer during this process. If you have unused plugins installed, we recommend removing ALL plugins that are not absolutely required and/or in use.

 

In addition to this guide, we also highly recommend reviewing our basic WordPress Performance Optimization guide. Combing the information here in this post as well as the performance optimization tips found in the WordPress Performance Optimization guide will get you on your way to a faster WordPress site!

If the steps above listed in this article do not resolve your issue, please feel free to open a support ticket and we’d be happy to take a look.

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