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.

Kyle Eslick is WordPress enthusiast who took his passion for WordPress to the next level in 2007 by launching as a place to share hacks, tutorials, etc. Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleEslick!

  1. will says:

    “Some plugins, especially the free ones, can be exploited by hackers who can then hack into your site.”

    Is there any evidence comparing the security of free vs. premium plugin security, and which leads to more exploits?

  2. Krishna Parmar says:

    I do agree with this verdict because I once experienced the issue of blog hacking because of using unsecured WP Plugin.

  3. sunil says:

    I’m agree with your saying that too many plugins can kill their site.But is that paid plugins also make bad impact on website admin ?

  4. So, what’s the solution to WordPress plugin bloat e.g., functions.php, lib folder with scripts?

  5. Josh says:

    Yeah. You must be carefful with plugins.

  6. I read this all of the time: too many plugins will slow down your site.
    So…. how many is officially too many?

  7. Carrie says:

    I have run into problems too with even well known free plugins running down servers and/or being hacked. Nothing is completely without limitations and or ways of getting hacked. It’s the nature of the beast. Just like anything in life moderation is key. Use only that which you need.

  8. sam says:

    actually plugins can harm your hosting if it takes more effort to work and occupies more memory so be careful to use it man !

  9. remi says:

    Good plugins do not slow down a WordPress install, not more than themes. Basically, i see many premium template loading on every page all javascript and CSS files of the theme. This is slowing down the website for sure. About security, it’s the exact same same thing for themes: some free and even premium themes are infected or created by hackers. So, please stop saying that plugins are bad, they’re not. Why do you think plugins are making part of WordPress? Matt (the WordPress’ creator) uses dozens of plugins on his website, so as many WordPress core developers.

    Finally, plugins and themes are on the exact same level about performance and security.

  10. Using WordPress may slow down you site. It is a system after all, using php, javascript and a MySQL database. The benefits outweigh the negatives.

    Bad plugins will slow down your site, and generally wreak havoc. The famous “white screen of death” is often caused by plugin conflicts. Good plugins do not do this, are updated regularly to match the most recent WordPress version and play nicely with others. Many of us can have 50 or 60 plugins on a site. You can get close by activating most of Jetpack, an officially sanctioned plugin.

    The real problem is the WordPress plugin repository, the major source of “free” plugins. We need to remember that this is open source software, tenderly managed by volunteers. WordPress needs to do a housecleaning similar to what Google has just done with their web apps.

    In the meantime, it is worth working the system. Get to know the WordPress community, and good WordPress developers of Themes and Plugins. You need to know who you can trust. Also, practice safe techniques like backing up you site before adding any plugin. Set up a desktop sandbox to play with new themes and plugins. Stay away from Commando tactics like dragging and dropping new pieces into your live site. That can be fun, but dangerous.

  11. Father's Day says:

    I do agree with this verdict because I once experienced the issue of blog hacking because of using unsecured WP Plugin.

  12. Rick Brown says:

    Imaging WordPress without plugin is a bad idea, choose plugins which are secure and did not take much time to load.

  13. Zach Smith says:

    Thanks for publishing another great article for us. This is best for any technology related blog.