Are plugins making my WordPress site slow?

A

The more WordPress plugins installed, the slower your website can become. I can tell countless stories of 20, 30, or 40+ plugins!! I recently wrote this post about image optimization, with a plea for discipline. Not every plugin contributes to slowness. However, more times than not, plugins are responsible for sending files to visitors that they don’t even need! As a result, – your website does take more time to load.

So are plugins making your site slow? Maybe, let’s explore.

How can I tell if *THIS PLUGIN* is slowing visitors down?

Suppose you came to me and said “Jon, is *THIS PLUGIN* slowing my site down?”

This is what I would do.

  • Open Chrome, visit your website.
  • In the browser menu click View > Developer Tools > Inspect Elements
  • A box should open at the bottom/side of the page; this is called the “Inspector.”
  • Choose the “Network” tab and refresh the page.
  • Within the “Filter” area, type “plugins” and hover over each one; looking at the full file path.
  • Did I find *THIS PLUGIN* name or similarly named files in the path?
  • Browse a few pages within your site. Did I find it on various pages?
Do files for WordPress plugins show up on every page – even when they aren’t needed?

Does the plugin you’re concerned about show up? Most importantly, does it show up on pages where you don’t even see the need for that plugin to load? If so, that’s a red flag. Sadly many plugins load on every page request.

Always scrutinize the “needs” for plugins – always. Otherwise we install stuff we don’t need.

If you would like to use a plugin, for example, that optimizes images when they are uploaded, there’s a good chance it’s not going to load on every page request. It shouldn’t. Trust but verify using the steps above after installing and activating the plugin.

As always – stay disciplined!

Other ways WordPress plugins can make your entire site slow

In the Admin area, there can be widgets, reports, and integrations to exchange information from your site to a CRM. These can be huge performance hogs. My advice here is:

  1. Turn on logging ONLY for what is necessary.
  2. Offload as much of that work to the CMS and 3rd party tools as possible.
  3. Make your website and platform two or more WordPress installations.
  4. Use microsites for sales landing pages with signup forms etc.

If you have thoughts or comments on this post, please leave them below or use our website’s contact form to reach out!

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Jon Cavanaugh

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