It’s common to see people say:
“More plugins will slow down your site!”
And while it’s easy to think how that might be the case, it’s actually not.
It’s the actual code that matters—not the number of plugins
A site with one ‘big’ plugin can be just as slow as a site with 90 small/lightweight plugins. The number is irrelevant. It’s all about what the plugin is doing.
Unless you’re a developer, you might have a hard time figuring out if a plugin will slow down your site or not. That’s because it purely depends on the coding practices being used (or not used) and what the actual plugin is doing.
A plugin can be slow if:
- It’s poorly coded. For example, if it’s fetching your number of Pinterest followers, but not saving that number anywhere. So instead of caching the result, it’s connecting to Pinterest to get that number on every.single.pageload. Bad, bad, bad! (But unless you’re a developer, it can be hard to tell if a plugin is poorly coded or not.)
- Or, it’s a well coded plugin, but it’s simply doing a lot of things. For example, Jetpack isn’t a poorly coded plugin, but if you activate every.single.module then you’re activating like 50 different features on your site! Add those all up, and yes, it might slow your site down simply because it’s adding a lot of things. Or another example might be an e-commerce plugin like WooCommerce. It’s not that WooCommerce is badly coded (it’s not!), it’s just that adding an entire store to your site is no small feat.
Putting code in your theme’s functions.php file doesn’t magically make it faster
Another thing I’ve seen people say is:
“Instead of using a plugin, put the code in your theme’s functions.php file. More plugins will slow down your site!”
Let’s think about this for a second.
You’re taking the exact same code and just putting it in a different place. Moving that code from a plugin to a theme doesn’t magically make it faster. Changing the location of the code will have zero impact on your site speed. It will still slow down your site the same amount.
There’s no shame in having a lot of plugins as long as your site is still fast!
There is no number of plugins that is suddenly “too many”. I could literally take one plugin, chop up the code, and split the code across 90 different plugins just for fun. Does that suddenly make my site slower? No—because the code is the same, whether it’s put in one plugin or 90 plugins.
What matters is whether or not your site is fast. If you have small, lightweight plugins, your site can sill be fast with 30, 50, or even 90 plugins. Just watch what you’re installing, try to use good judgement, and make sure your site is still speedy!