Avoiding slow WordPress plugins will improve your website’s load time and Core Web Vitals score.
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Before creating a website, it must be prioritized to load quickly and not crackle on different devices. It should be mentioned that the two main causes of a WordPress website’s slowness are always the same: Web Hosting and bad plugins.
However, many users don’t know this and continue to install as many plugins as they can, oblivious that this slows down their website and consumes too many resources from the hosting provider.
Why do plugins slow down WordPress?
Plugins act in two ways.
Depending on the type of plugin, the server must perform certain functions. These functions have the most varied functions, but they generally serve to add code to our website’s pages.
To illustrate: an SEO plugin will execute queries to add code to our website, such as meta tags. The server’s computations might affect the loading time of your WordPress site’s pages.
Related posts plugins
This is a plugin that everyone should use to improve internal links and pageviews while reducing bounce rates. However, many are unaware that it wastes a significant amount of their hosting resources.
As an example, consider “Yet Another Related Post.” This plugin must run a series of queries on the database before showing relevant posts. What could be a viable solution? I recommend you have custom-related articles without a plugin or use one like OutBrain or Contextual Related Posts because it does not use your data.
Front-end plugins deal with the elements on your site and with which visitors interact. For example, lightboxes, fancy pop-up bars, media players, social sharing buttons, and social embeds are all layers of code that must interact with your database, load their dependencies, render for the visitor, and fetch photos and other media.
Backend plugins deal with server-side issues, provide more control or capabilities in your admin dashboard, set up passive monitoring or active checks, and aid in sorting, organizing, and optimizing.
For example, a plugin that limits the number of login tries before locking you out, a plugin that analyzes your site for broken links, or a plugin that builds and refreshes a sitemap each time you publish new content; these aren’t going to harm the user experience in any way, particularly if you’ve installed a caching plugin.
Hit counters plugin
I’m not sure why people use those old-school hit counts on their websites anymore. Do they not understand Google Analytics? Consider this: if you have 10,000 visitors daily, the code counter will be executed 10,000 times.
Social share plugins
It is best to avoid using these plugins. They tend to include too much external code on the site, which might be problematic for your users’ privacy in some instances. These plugins have even resold visitor information to third parties in certain situations.
It is advised that you use the functions provided by the developers of the major social networks.
Even though I would not use it, I chose not to add this plugin to the list of those to avoid.
The plugin has recently been improved and simplified, and it is modular, which means you can use the functionality you need.
Page builders may be both a boon and a bane. They make things much easier but also introduce many bloated functions and unneeded code, particularly on the front end. Several page builders have gotten more performant with the advent of the Block Editor (Gutenberg), but they are still far from perfect.
Until the block editor is fully functional as a page builder, the most efficient option is a mix of Gutenberg and Advanced Custom Fields. This is also how Servebolt handles their page builders on their website. The page builder is ACF Flexible Content, and the block editor is used on blog entries.
Images are generally the element that takes up the most space on a website. So optimizing the images to decrease their size and loading time is a great idea. Unfortunately, many people install an image optimization plugin and assume they’re done.
We have tried and reviewed many image optimization plugins and were surprised to find that many are poor. EWWW Image Optimization is undoubtedly the plugin with the biggest detrimental influence. If you must use a plugin, choose one that does the optimization for you.
However, it is preferable to handle image optimization when the images are produced rather than using plugins. Use applications like jpegoptim, ImageMagick, and optipng to correctly export them or optimize the pictures server-side.
Warning signs of a slow plugin
Another item to look for in a before-and-after installation comparison is the list of.js and.css files loaded when your website loads. A plugin that adds new files and scripts to load (or increases the size of existing ones) will certainly cause your site to slow down.
One of the most serious issues I encounter with certain plugins is that they load a lot of plugin dependencies on every page of your site, even if those plugins aren’t being utilized. This may be important if the plugin must be loaded on every page of your site.
You may also examine the plugin itself. If you know how to code, you can go into the plugin files to discover how and where the plugin assets are being enqueued on your site’s front end. Sure, some of the more intricate plugins make this more difficult, but you can still obtain a fundamental understanding of how things function and how they interact with your site.
Quantity vs. Quality: Why Do Plugins Slow Down WordPress?
Common WordPress websites often have 20-30 plugins installed. For bigger commercial sites, this figure can easily exceed 50-60.
It is not the number of plugins that is the most detrimental to your site’s performance. The main issue, though, is the quality of the plugins.
Always go for plugins created by specialists with a high reputation. Because these plugins adhere to WordPress code standards, they should not have a detrimental influence on the speed and performance of your site.
How to find your slowest WordPress plugins
New Relic, GTmetrix, Query Monitor, and the WP Hive Chrome Extension can help you determine which WordPress plugins are slowing down your site.
Query monitor plugin
The Query Monitor Plugin is useful for locating slow database queries, themes, and particular functions. You only need to install and activate it.
Navigate to a page on your website, hover over the Query Monitor tab, then select Queries > Queries By Component. Check numerous pages/posts where you assume different plugins are loaded.
The table displays the load times of your slowest plugins.
Make use of GTMetrix waterfall and new relic.
The Query Monitor Plugin is similar to GTmetrix Waterfall and New Relic.
Your GTmetrix Waterfall chart displays which plugins generate requests and the load time for each request. However, it only displays plugins currently loaded on the front end.
This means it won’t display page builders, backup plugins, statistics plugins, and other plugins loading in the backend. Therefore it won’t offer you a true picture of your slowest plugins.
Chrome extension for WP Hive
WP Hive is a Chrome add-on detecting sluggish plugins in the WordPress repository. Install the extension, navigate the WordPress plugins page and search for any plugin. In addition, WP Hive displays whether the plugin impacts memory use or PageSpeed Insights.
List of top 50 slow WordPress plugins I’ve tested:
- AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
- All-In-One Event Calendar
- Backup Buddy
- Beaver Builder
- Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
- Broken Link checker (use Dr. Link Check)
- Constant Contact for WordPress
- Contact Form 7 ( I still use this with Asset clean up )
- Contextual Related Posts ( I still use this with text only )
- Digi Auto Links
- Disqus Comment System
- Divi Builder
- Essential Grid
- Facebook Chat
- Fancy Gallery
- Fuzzy SEO Booster
- Google Analytics
- Google Language Translator
- Google Translate
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Leaflet Maps Marker
- NextGEN Gallery
- Real Estate Website Builder
- Really Simple Share
- Reveal IDs
- Revolution Slider
- S2 member
- SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
- Share Buttons by AddToAny
- Share Buttons by E-MAILiT
- Social Discussions
- Similar Posts
- Slimstat Analytics
- Tribulent Slideshow Gallery
- Ultimate Social Media & Share
- WooCommerce Customer History
- Wordfence (disable live traffic reports)
- WordPress Facebook
- WordPress Related Posts
Alternatives for lightweight plugins
In certain circumstances, you may need to find alternatives for the plugin you removed. First, find high-quality, high-performance plugins, then install and configure them.
We propose analyzing your Slowest WordPress Plugins and replacing them with lightweight plugins or uninstalling them and selectively deactivating plugins from individual pages/posts where they do not need to load.
- SEO Plugins – Rank Math. Don’t enable all of their features!
- Backup Plugins – UpdraftPlus.
- Sliders – Soliloquy or MetaSlider.
- Page Builder – Oxygen or Gutenberg.
- Portfolio – Envira Gallery, FooGallery, or The Grid.
- WooCommerce – most important thing is to use fast hosting (e.g., Cloudways).
- Social Sharing – Grow By Mediavine.
- Comments – native comments or wpDiscuz with optimized settings configured with WP Speed Matters’ Flying Scripts Plugin to create timeouts for comments + Gravatars = no extra GTmetrix requests.
How to reduce the impact of plugins
Deactivate unused plugins
It will just take a minute to do this task. First, check your Plugins menu for any active plugins you aren’t utilizing and disable them.
When you deactivate a plugin, it no longer executes code or affects your site’s performance.
Deleting a plugin will free up some storage space on your server but will not affect how quickly your site loads (deactivating does).
Consolidate your plugins
After you’ve deactivated any plugins you’re not using, you may minimize the number of plugins you’re running by deleting redundant functionality.
I’ve seen several WordPress sites with two plugins that do the same function. One plugin, for example, provides a social media widget, while the other adds social buttons after the article. However, because these plugins cannot interact with one another, they load their files. So, look for a single plugin that can perform both of these things.
Use caching plugins
Optimization and performance plugins might improve your loading speed by experimenting with different plugins and loading methods. For example, caching plugins temporarily store files and graphics, so visitors’ browsers do not have to make as many HTTP requests. This improves performance and user experience.
Maintain Your Website
This guideline applies to all aspects of your website. The package includes WordPress core, plugins, themes, and underlying technologies like PHP and MySQL. The most recent upgrades can improve speed and performance while patching security issues.
Content Delivery Networks are an excellent choice if your visitors come from around the world. CDNs use a network of nodes to efficiently provide data based on the site visitor’s location.
As you can see, the quantity of plugins is not the primary cause of your site’s poor loading; rather, it is the quality of those plugins. As a result, ensure that the high-resource plugins aren’t slowing down your site.
If that’s the case, you now know how to determine which plugins are causing your WordPress site to slow down. So, follow the steps outlined above to assess your WordPress plugins’ performance and replace those slowing down your site’s loading speed.