How Many Plugins is Too Many Plugins?

When a WordPress website begins, it is an empty shell, ready to be filled. The free platform functions as a web page, it has some basic features, but hardly contains the essential elements of a working business website. Baseline WordPress has minimal navigation and page design capabilities. There are no widgets, no e-commerce, and no website security. So you add a plugin.

Most brands start with their first installed theme and a basic security plugin. Then you add a few widgets and features. Then you choose your e-commerce plugin, or plugin suite. Over time, your plugin collection goes from a handful to a dozen, then two dozen. Some plugins provide just a single feature – but one you need or really want on your site. Other plugins completely reinvent your website environment. Eventually, your plugin stack is intricately woven tapestry of design, security, and features. Bt how many plugins is too many plugins?

Watch for signs of failure, conflict, and brittle interdependence.  

Signs Your WordPress Site Has Too Many Plugins

  • Mysterious performance issues
  • Cascading errors related to plugin updates and failures
  • Plugins that conflict with and cancel each other

When does your WordPress site have too many plugins? When it stops working and plugins are the key. Plugins rebuild the form and function of your website. They can transform the online experience, but they also often conflict or form brittle dependence on each other. Part of the problem is that plugins are all made by different development teams, meaning they are coded and updated in different ways. You are also layering multiple packages – some with overlapping features – onto the website installation.

Every WordPress site needs a few plugins for design, function, and security. But stack too many, and the weight of the resource use and interaction between the plugins will start to create problems that can quickly snowball into technical failures.

Mysterious WordPress Performance Issues: Check the Plugins

WordPress is known to be prone to “mysterious” performance issues. What this mystery means is that WordPress site owners can’t figure out exactly where the performance errors are coming from. But just how many plugins is your website hauling on your server resources? Plugins are great, they add functionality, but not every plugin was designed for efficiency. Enough inefficient plugins and your website will start to drag – no matter how stylish or functional it may be.

To make matters worse, plugin conflicts and duplicate features can cause unnecessary drag on page loading and website performance. Let’s say you have one plugin to optimize your images and a content plugin with a different type of image optimization. Now every image load is running through two processes instead of one -slowing page load instead of speeding it up.

The Plugin Stack of Cascading Errors

Of course, poor performance isn’t the only sign that you have too many plugins stacked ontop of each other. If your site is working, this means that all your plugins are – at least temporarily – working together. You have a dozen or more packages layering on top of each other, all working together to make your website function like a multi-gear machine. Some plugins rely on others to feed data through the chain. Some plugins work around others, making use of resources that are usually untouched.

Therefore, when one plugin fails, a large plugin stack is likely to see a cascade of errors. This is a WordPress site owner’s worst nightmare of error-within-error unless you can quickly track down the original source of the chain reaction of errors.

FREE PERFORMANCE CHECKLIST Your site performance checklist to help you assess your website health   

Unfortunately, this also means that updating plugins – where functionality and data handling may change – can also trigger the error cascade. Self-updating plugins have been known to take WordPress sites down without warning.

Plugin Conflicts Creating Technical Failures

You might have too many plugins if your plugin features are conflicting or canceling each other out. You may find that adding a new plugin cancels out or breaks another plugin already installed. However, sometimes, it’s feature by feature. Installing a search plugin may break your product filter feature. Installing a plugin that customizes your checkout may break your shopping cart transitions. Installing an animated content widget can break the sliding navigation bar. 

The problem with having a plugin for everything is that their functionalities often both overlap and conflict. When two plugins try to affect the same part of the website or interact with the same data, errors can occur. A critical error will not just fail to load – it can break your UI, your features, and entire pages as plugins break or cancel each other out.

Building a Detailed Website Without Plugin Conflicts

So how do you build a WordPress website into a detailed and customized online venue without using dozens of plugins to get just the right look, feel, and functionality? The answer lies in custom website development, either from scratch or within the WordPress framework. The right selection of plugins – or the right custom designed theme-plugin combination –  could deliver the same level of detail and brand-unique onsite experience without compromising the integrity or performance of your website.

The key is to work with a team of professional web developers. Within the WordPress framework, a professional developer team can balance exactly the right plugins for the functionality and design you need – without a bloated theme or plugin overload. Outside of WordPress, you can commission a custom website using the style and features you loved from plugins designed for your exact brand and performance requirements.

A customized or custom website can be honed to perfection, with streamlined performance and just the right mix of features without the plugin bloat of trying to build the right website from many different pieces.

Is a bloated plugin list dragging down your website performance or causing unexpected errors on your website? It may be time to have your website professionally designed and honed by a team of web developers with your specific needs in mind. Cut out the chaff, use only plugins that work smoothly together to achieve your goals, or have an all-new website made to perfectly fit your needs. Contact us today to rise above plugin overload to achieve the professional website and performance your brand deserves.

Newsletter Signup