Can You Have Too Many WordPress Plugins?

Ever since WordPress launched, many people have been advising others not to install many WordPress plugins. The thinking behind this is that when more WordPress plugins are installed on your website, your website will be slower and less secure.

Is this actually true?

In my experience, no. The number of WordPress plugins you have installed on your website is not indicative of the speed and security of your website.

Check out my video above where I explore the idea of many WordPress plugins bloating your website.

The “Too Many Plugins” Argument

The idea that too many WordPress plugins is detrimental to your website has been circulating for years. There are countless discussions about it on WordPress.org and on thousands of blogs.

For example, in the article “WordPress Plugins: How Many is Too Many?“, Brad Smith says :

Too many plugins can lead to security breaches on your site, site crashes, bad performance, slow loading speeds, and more. A good rule of thumb is to never exceed 20 plugins. If your site is hosted on shared or budget cloud hosting, try not to use more than 5 plugins.

Brad Smith – TorqueMag

Brad’s article does have have good tips such as removing inactive WordPress plugins and only installing plugins that were developed by reputable companies, but the idea that you should never exceed 20 plugins is ridiculous. It just isn’t true that more WordPress plugins equates to more problems.

At the time of writing, this blog has 38 installed WordPress plugins and is secure. I have no idea how many WordPress plugins TorgueMag has activated at this time, but their website is slow, taking over six seconds to load their home page using 137 requests. In comparison, my home page loads in one second using only 8 requests.

TorqueMag & Kevin Muldoon
This blog loads quickly, despite having 38 activated WordPress plugins.

I am not pointing this out to be critical of TorqueMag, but to illustrate that having many WordPress plugins does not mean that your website is slow to load. It just isn’t true. Websites that have many active WordPress plugins can be optimised in the same way as websites with just a few.

What about website security?

The idea that if you have many WordPress plugins active on your website, you are more likely to have security holes and vulnerabilities. This way of thinking is too simplistic as it as assumes that all WordPress plugins are equal. They are not.

In my opinion, you will not make your WordPress less secure by activating more plugins if you ensure:

  • All plugins are developed by good companies and individuals
  • All plugins are regularly updated
  • You only activate necessary plugins
  • Inactive plugins are deleted
  • You use one or more WordPress security plugins

Security plugins are sometimes left out of the “Too Many Plugins” discussion, but they should not be.

What would you rather have:

  • A WordPress website with 100 activated plugins that used security plugins to protect brute force logins, remove common threats and scan for vulnerabilities
  • or
  • A WordPress website with five activated plugins, but no active security plugin

Going back to Brad Smith’s article, he notes that the problem with too many plugins is that it causes security vulnerabilities, yet the examples of hacking he gives had nothing to do with how many WordPress plugins were installed and everything to do with those plugins being outdated and insecure.

Brad also suggests that more WordPress plugins increases the chance of your website crashing. This is simply not true if you use secure reliable WordPress plugins. If you actively maintain your WordPress website, it doesn’t matter if you have five WordPress plugins activated or 50.

Please also remember that every WordPress plugins are different. Some plugins insert a couple of lines of code into your website, whilst others add dozens of database tables and are constantly running cron jobs to operate.

Final Thoughts

The whole idea that you should limit your WordPress website to a predefined number of WordPress plugins is misleading as it does not take into account more important WordPress maintenance issues such as updates, website optimisation and website security.

It does not take into account how much functionality each WordPress plugin is adding to your website either and how many resources they use as certain WordPress plugins require more resources.

For example, if you install security WordPress plugins, related posts plugins, forum plugins etc, your server will require more CPU and memory to operate efficiently. Due to this, you may have to upgrade to a more powerful website hosting package and use content delivery networks to ensure your page loading times do not increase.

Thank you for reading.

Kevin

If you operate a WordPress website, I encourage you to check out my Managed WordPress Hosting directory. It lists the top website hosting companies that offer specialist WordPress features such as website staging, daily backups, WordPress security, integrated content delivery networks and more.