I once researched ‘how many WordPress plugins should I have’ a few years ago to find very scary result. The same thing happened recently at a WordPress developer meeting. Many of the sites and many developers had a number in mind that you should not exceed when it comes to plugins. That number is typically 15~20 while some moderates will go up to 30. I can’t recall the site now but there was one popular blog that advocated that anything above 30 plugins will sure to bring destruction of your WordPress website. The question is… How am I going to choose 30 plugins from 44,000 available within WordPress repository???
So, how many WordPress plugins should you really have?
Short answer: as many as you need!
According to 1st poll shown, 84% of the people who participated in the poll (1347 people) said they use 20 or less plugins. To be fair, this poll was taken back in 2010 and may not represent current stat. So we decided to look what people in recent years think about how many WordPress plugins they should have.
Second poll was taken in 2015 with 694 votes. While number of people who said 10 or less have decreased from 63% to 38%, still majority of the people (79%) believe having any more than 25 plugins are good practice.
It seems like the answer to ‘how many WordPress plugins should I have?’ is pretty clear. 25 or less.
Whenever I build a WordPress site, I start with basics like security & firewall setup, jetpack, and few other plugins in the back-end that provides (almost) necessary functions to run a WordPress site smoothly. And then I saw the plugin count.
Only with security and very basic plugin I must have, I already had 22 plugins, which leaves me only 3 slots!!!
Believe or not, most of sites that I work with have about 30~50 plugins depends on function & display requirements. It seems often people forget that each function and each unique display such as embedding YouTube or content slider typically require its own plugin unless you have premium theme that handles everything.
On sites that I run online shop, I’ve gone as high as 85 plugins. In couple occasions, I had to show them plugin page because they didn’t believe me. For those who says ‘Sure, you can load it with as many plugins as you want, but each plugin will slow down your site”, you’re right, each plugin does impact the site. But you have to smart about how you manage them and let your site load under 2 seconds every time.
Related Article: Website Speed Matters
Number of plugin really does not matter as long as they follow this guidelines.
- They must be current / updated plugin
- They must be light, meaning doesn’t come with whole lot of extra things to slow down the site.
- They must serve a specific purpose
As long as these guidelines are met, I’m not afraid to try new plugin and see if it’s compatible with existing setup. Once you figure out everything and setup caching for speed, you can gauge where you stand in terms of speed. In most sites using 40~50 plugins, I find this unnecessary but for ones using over 50, I often find that you need to organize your plugin. Here are two things you need.
This is super useful plugin developed by GoDaddy which runs simulation on your pages and gives you how long it takes for each plugin to load. And you can literary see which plugin is causing how much delay within your site. Using this information you can do two things.
- Delete plugin if you don’t absolutely need it.
- If you need it, don’t worry, let’s talk about organizer.
Plugin Organizer is yup, you guessed it right! 🙂 This plugin offers many different ways to organize a plugin. I setup each post type such as post, page, shop, and forum as individual setting and turn everything off except for ones that’s required for display on that particular post type.
This takes some time to setup properly but once you do, you’re now running only 30 some plugins instead of 80 on certain portion of the site, making it super fast! This is really an easy and effective way to control your plugins. And setting this up one time on your busy site will go a long way!
So, How Many WordPress Plugins should you have?
As Many As You Need!