There are many thousands of WordPress plugins you can use for free, and there are also more you can buy for different purposes. According to WP Beginner, as of September 2012 there were more than 21,000 free plugins in the WordPress plugins repository! The question is; do you have to use all of them? You have probably seen a sidebar of a blog with a mile long list of awards and a multitude of links to other pages. Some people go as far as including hundreds of flashy widgets. If you are thinking of using several plugins, you should first learn why using too many of them will impact negatively on your readership.
They May Slow Down Your Website
This is, perhaps, the most annoying feature of using too many WordPress plugins. This slow down occurs because every plugin you use sends a server request when each of your readers loads the site. Imagine the effect of having fifty plugins when ten users are on your site. What about a hundred plugins with a thousand users? Do you really want your site to be that slow?
Some WordPress Plugins are not Secure
Just because a plugin works well does not mean that it is secure. Some plugins, especially the free ones, can be exploited by hackers who can then hack into your site. For example, users of some plugins such as WP Total Cache and WPTouch have been asked in the past to update their passwords after it was realized they were not secure. Since it is not always easy to know upfront which plugin is safe and which one is not, you will be doing a great deal of service to your site by installing only the minimum number necessary.
Free WordPress Plugins may not be Available Forever
If most of the plugins you are using are free, then you should be prepared for the day they will close down. Free things rarely last forever, and when the project shuts down, you may be stuck with something that doesn’t work. This is the time when the developers of the plugins will not be responding to your queries, the plugins may not be compatible with some of your tools and they may not even be responding. The more WordPress plugins you use, the higher the chances that this may happen to your site.
Conflicts Amongst Different Plugins
If a plugin is not compatible with another one and you install both of them, you are introducing a problem to your site. It is not unheard of for the contents of a site to wash out after installing a plugin incompatible with another one already installed. This is one of the reasons why users are often asked to backup their site’s contents on a regular basis.
In conclusion, you should only use the WordPress plugins that you are really going to need, rather than installing them just because they are flashy. Always make sure that all your plugins are updated and protect your site by using the necessary security features, such a WP Firewall2. Additionally, you can have a backup version on your local computer for testing plugins before using them on your live site.
For WordPress plugin ideas, you can check out our popular WordPress plugins page.