Do Plugins Slow Down WordPress Sites? – Speed Up WP

If you are somebody who uses WordPress on a daily basis, then you probably heard that WordPress Plugins might slow down WordPress drastically.
So the question is, Do plugins slow down WordPress Sites? Before we get into that let’s know –

Do plugins slow down WordPress Sites?
WordPress Plugins – image WordPress

What is a Plugin in WordPress?

A WordPress plugin is generally a bit of PHP code that can be added to your website. Other than the PHP code plugin also includes some CSS and JavaScript. We use plugins to add extra features to our WP site.

Plugins enable us to add many useful features to our WordPress without writing any code, or in other words, plugins make it very simple to add any functionality seamlessly. The main idea behind plugins is to eliminate the need for coding. What’s More? There are thousands of free plugins available in the official WordPress plugin directory for you to use.

You can also think of WordPress Plugins as External code modules or third-party apps for your WordPress Website. I hope you get the basic idea about WordPress Plugins.

Examples of plugins in WordPress

1.Rank Math SEO 

2.MailPoet

3.Forminator 

Do plugins slow down WordPress Sites?

The question “Do plugins slow down WordPress Sites?” is asked by WP beginners too often. Qualified Geek is here to answer that.

The answer is Yes and No.

Let me explain. There are a lot of factors and things that can slow your WP site and yes, plugins are one of them. But before you start deleting all of your plugins, please hear me out.

Plugins can impact the performance with –

  1. More Database Queries. 
  2. Extra HTTP Requests.
  3. Longer Server Response Time.
  4. Extra Background Process.

Although there are almost 50000+ free plugins, the Majority of them are poorly coded. And one poorly coded plugin is more than enough to make your website slow. On the other hand, we have some popular plugins that are known for their slow performance. 

Here is a list of some of the Slowest WordPress Plugins Yet they are popular. These plugins are from big developers or firms and can increase your page loading time. Having More than 15 Plugins can slow down your WordPress website drastically. 

15 WordPress Plugins that Slow Down Your Site – Free & Popular

1.Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan By Wordfence

2.Contact Form 7 By Takayuki Miyoshi

3.Elementor Website Builder By Elementor.com

4.Yoast SEO By Team Yoast

5. Beaver Builder By The Beaver Builder Team

6.All-in-One Event Calendar By Time.ly Network Inc.

7.WooCommerce By Automattic

8.ExactMetrics – Google Analytics Dashboard  By ExactMetrics

9.WordPress Gallery Plugin – NextGEN Gallery By Imagely

10.Disqus Comment System By Disqus

11.Facebook Chat Plugin – Live Chat Plugin for WordPress By Facebook

12.Envira Photo Gallery By Envira Gallery Team

13.Sumo – Boost Conversion and Sales By SumoMe

14.VaultPress By Automattic

15.Analytify – Google Analytics By Analytify

These are some Slowest WordPress Plugins.  If you want to get a big list of Slow plugins – Click Here  or Here 

If you don’t want to uninstall all of them, then you can try deactivating the plugins one by one and check the site speed after deactivating that specific to identify the slowest plugin. It’s is possible to keep 30+ or even 50 active plugins while maintaining good speed but it is not very reasonable as you might have to purchase an expensive hosting plan or a paid cache or optimizing plugin.

Although there are almost 50000+ free plugins, the Majority of them are poorly coded. And one poorly coded plugin is more than enough to make your website slow. On the other hand, we have some popular plugins that are known for their slow performance. 

Here is a list of some of the Slowest WordPress Plugins Yet they are popular. These plugins are from big developers or firms and can increase your page loading time. Having More than 15 Plugins can slow down your WordPress website drastically. 

Criteria for Selecting a WordPress Plugin

First of all, you need to decide what type of plugin you want. Is it an SEO plugin or Cache Plugin or Form? 

Once you have done that, search for the reputed plugins in that specific segment. Now make a list of at least Five plugins from that specific segment. To avoid WordPress Plugins that slow down your site ->

Follow these steps for choosing a plugin:

  1.  Read the reviews from the experts (if available). 
  2. Check the plugin rating from the WordPress plugin directory.
  3. Then read the reviews of the users.
  4. Check if the plugin is from a well-known developer.
  5. Check whether the plugin is frequently updated or not.
  6. Once you have decided, you can install the plugin.
  7. Now Make sure to run a speed check on websites like Gtmetrix or PageSpeed Insights  By Google before activating the plugin.
  8. Run a speed test after installing and activating the plugin. If you see a big difference in performance. Then it is a red flag for you.
  9. If that specific plugin seems to slow your site, then you should find an alternative.
  10. Lastly, make sure that the plugin is not loading useless CSS and Js. To remove extra Code, you can use the plugin Asset CleanUp: Page Speed Booster (Be careful though).

Other Reasons for Slow Website Loading

Other than Slow WordPress Plugins, there are hundreds of Reasons for slow website loading. Two major reasons for a slow WP site can be 1.Bad Hosting & 2. Poorly Optimized Theme. 

1.Bad Hosting

If you are using cheap hosting, there is a high possibility that your hosting is making your WordPress site slow. Take a look at the comparison between two different Hosting Providers (Plan: Shared Hosting).

What is a plugins in WordPress?
Source : WordPress
Theme Used : OceanWP , Plugin Used: Wordfence SecurityWooCommerce,Elementor Website BuilderUpdraftPlus,Contact Form 7,etc.)
Do plugins slow down WordPress Sites?
Source : Gtmetrix

Very Cheap and not well-known Hosting Provider

The image above represents a WordPress Unoptimized website hosted on cheap (bad) hosting. It has the OceanWP theme and 15 plugins. It doesn’t include any cache or optimizing plugins. 

Do plugins slow down WordPress Sites?

BlueHost (Well Known Yet Cheap)

The image above represents a WordPress website hosted on Bluehost (cheap yet good hosting). Here I have also used the OceanWP theme and 15 Plugins and also doesn’t include any cache or optimizing plugins. The Website is totally Unoptimized. Here we can achieve an “A” performance easily.

If your budget is low but wants good hosting then you can use BluehostBluehost is recommended for WordPress Websites. Get Powerful Yet Cheap Hosting At $2.95/Month From Bluehost.

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10 Best WordPress Hosting Providers 

1. Bluehost 

2. SiteGround

3.Hostinger

4.A2 Hosting

5.Dreamhost

2.Poorly Optimized Theme

Even with good hosting, you could get very bad speed performance if you are using a Poorly Optimized Theme.

Theme Used: Ohio Theme

Price: $35

Plugins: 8 plugins + Ohio Extra, Ohio Importer, Ohio Portfolio, Envato Market (Overall 12 Active Plugins) 

Related: 15 Best Starter Themes for WordPress for Developers

Ohio Theme is a premium Creative Portfolio & Agency WordPress Theme from ThemeForest. Here we are using the shared hosting from Bluehost.

The performance gap is huge.

Wordpress Plugins that Slow Down Your Site
Source : Gtmetrix

Initial Test shows the performance without optimizing. The result is pretty bad. It takes almost 4.5s to load.

Do plugins slow down WordPress Sites?
Source : Gtmetrix

After Disabling few plugins like Yoast SEO and Some Ohio Plugins and adding a Caching Plugin. I was able to achieve better performance but not the best. I could optimize it even more, but you get the point.

Theme Used: Astra  

Price: Free

 Plugins: 8 same plugins + 4 Extra Plugins (Overall 12 Active Plugins)

Astra is a free multipurpose WordPress theme. It is an SEO friendly and Lightweight Theme. It is a perfect choice Speed. You can also go for GeneratePress.

Slowest WordPress Plugins 
Source : Gtmetrix

Best WordPress Caching Plugins to Speed Up Your Website

You can choose any of these Caching Plugins to Speed Up Your Website.

1.LiteSpeed Cache

2.W3 Total Cache

3.WP Super Cache

4.Cache Enabler

5.WP Fastest Cache

Make sure to try all of them to see which one gives you a better performance.

Verdict:

Research as much as you can before using any plugin and use only well-known plugins with frequent Updates. Make sure to keep as few plugins as possible. Choose a good hosting like Bluehost or Siteground. And also pick an optimized WordPress theme. You can use more than 15 plugins if you are using highly optimized plugins and good hosting.
Also Read:

How to Track User Activity in WordPress Using Free Plugins

Best Themes for Elementor Pro in 2021 (Free & Premium)

Best Free Text-Based Themes for WordPress In 2021 – Top 6

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