Why remove unused WordPress plugins

A well arranged computer desk - no clutter.

WordPress is a wonderful CMS and has a lot of advantages. You can add functionality to your website by installing and using plugins. There’s a good reason to be selective, though.

“But I love my plugins…”

If you have too many plugins on your website, it may slow to a crawl. That’ll result in frustrated visitors who’d rather leave than wait for a page to load. Although page speed has always been a factor, it is even more important now that the majority of website visitors are using mobile devices to browse the internet instead of desktop computers. And, we all know that mobile connections are slower. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a page to take twice as long to load on a mobile device than a wired connection.

Why too many plugins slow a website down

Many plugins load additional javascript and css files to your web pages.  The more files that have to be downloaded, the longer it will take. Think of toll booths on a highway during a holiday weekend. No FastLane here! The more cars there are, the longer it takes to get going.

Also, not all additional files are created equal. Much like sitting behind a tractor vs. a speedy little import; the bigger the file, the longer the wait.

If that’s not reason enough, these additional files are loaded on every page of your website; not just the page you use the plugin on.

Take inventory and be judicious

Look over your website. You’ll likely see a lot of elements that are driven by plugins: mega menus, mobile menus, slide shows, video players, contact forms, shopping carts, analytics and tracking, collapsing boxes, tabs, page builders… well, you get the point. There’s a WHOLE LOT of options. Some things are absolute essentials. Other things are just nice little do-dads that may only be used on 1 or 2 pages.

If you can cut back on the number of plugins you use, you’ll see a performance boost. You can measure the difference by using page speed tools, like Think with Google.

“Can’t I have my cake and eat it, too?”

Well, yes, but it’ll take a developer who really knows WordPress (ahem… shameless plug: fill out the form on this page). It’s not a quick fix. It’ll take time to evaluate the site, and map out a custom solution. In the end, though, you’ll have a well built and fast loading website. Just don’t keep adding more and more plugins. If you go this route, though, you really shouldn’t need to!