I’m often asked the question, is there a limit to the amount of plugins that WordPress can have? Or, do you have a limit?
The answer is that there is no limit, but the fewer is always better. The truth is that it really depends on variables such as your hosting provider’s server environment and the quality of the plugins and themes themselves. Enterprise WordPress sites are probably using upwards of a hundred or more plugins.
At Tampa SEO, we currently have 44 active plugins with approximately 8 plugins inactive for optimization, development, and other ancillary uses on an as-needed basis. We’re also eyeing several plugins for future development. Some of our clients have less than 20 plugins. In the end, it really depends on what is mission critical to your website and business requirements.
Being on a budget shared hosting plan can also hamper your ability to add more plugins, or even to have certain plugins perform at their best. If you’re using cheap hosting from services like GoDaddy, BlueHost, and other well-known cheap hosts, you’re going to get exactly what you’re paying for!
On the other hand, other affordable shared hosting services like SiteGround’s GoGeek plan have staging features that clone your site so you can make changes and test new features before pushing them live. The extra cost can prove worthwhile.
I’ve found that simply updating my own personal shared hosting plan to a Solid State Drive (SSD) shared hosting plan increased the speed of my site by 33%. The cost was an extra $3 per month, which is a drop in the bucket for the reduced time it took to have users access my site and perform tasks.
Free WordPress Plugins
Nothing beats free, unless it’s inferior. We’re very resourceful at Tampa SEO, and we use many wonderful, free WordPress Plugins that bring value to our clients’ sites and our own.
Not all plugins are made by master developers. In fact, many plugins are so poorly put together that they cause conflicts or even compromise your site’s information. Some plugins haven’t been updated in years, and may not be up-to-date on new WordPress or other programming practices.
Paid WordPress Plugins & Themes
In most cases, paid plugins tend to be programmed better, but not always.
Even purchased plugins from WordPress Plugin stores such as CodeCanyon can be suspicious, especially since many of these plugins have one-time fees. The problem with this is that a developer can remove their plugin from the store without refunds, leaving you with a plugin or theme that will depreciate at a fast pace.
The best plugins tend to be sold on the developers’ own website, often times where there is a support forum, knowledge base, and other support documents necessary to develop or manage your website. However, these plugins are sometimes sold as a yearly subscription. As annoying as it might be to purchase renewals for a plugin each year, the companies that do have that business model tend to stay in business longer and provide better products, services, and support.
What to look for in a WordPress Plugin?
- When was the plugin last updated?
- How often does the developer(s) update the plugin?
- How long has the developer or company been in business?
- Do they respond to support request or accept feature requests?
- How important is this plugin to your goals?
Test WordPress Plugins and Themes on Development Environments99
First, you need to treat your live website as sacred and not to disturb the current performance. You can do this by creating a development or test site.
While this may not be available to inexpensive shared host users, having a separate website that is meant only for development and testing is a fantastic way to be sure that your website will not suffer from a plugin, theme, or update.
BackupBuddy, one of my favorite and most cherished WordPress Plugins, not only backs up your site, since Version 6, has a Deployment feature which allows you to clone a site from one environment to another. This means you can pull a site from one sever to another, or push changes from your development site to your live site. This can save lots of time and your butt if something occurs.
In the end, there is no specific answer to how many plugins are too many. However, take the time to research the plugins and themes you install on your site, as it does matter to the overall performance of your website, and in a larger sense, the performance of the other websites on the same server. Hosting companies do hold you accountable for plugins, themes, and other software that affects the server at-large.
As a business owner, working on and developing your own WordPress site is time-consuming, and if you do not have the time or inclination to learn what plugins should and shouldn’t be on your website, give us a call. We can help you develop your WordPress site or we can provide you with our WordPress Maintenance Services so you can get back to your expertise of running your business.
Steve Scott is the CEO & Director of Training at the Tampa SEO Training Academy. He has taught SEO skills to people from around the world and currently offers his hands-on search engine optimization training workshops in Tampa to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Corporate SEO training classes and consulting are also available.