One of my friends recently asked me a question whether using too many plugins made any difference on how his blog worked and performed, I thought it best to give that answer to a broader audience, so here goes.
Does It Matter If You Use 1 or 100s of Plugins?
The answer is yes, it does matter, each and every plugin you use has to be processed before an actual page is generated, so all the plugin files are compiled in order to get the intended output.
This may in the end not actually make a big difference in your blogs load time, however it may eventually slow it down a little bit.
Do Plugins Add Overhead To Your Site?
You should periodically check these things out as you may be unnecessarily increasing your page load times, if possible try and find an alternative or contact the plugin author to add an option to limit overheads to only those pages where the plugin functions.
Should I Stop Using Too Many Plugins Then?
Not exactly, like I said it does affect your blog load times and you might want to take a look at your plugins to see which of them are really useful and maybe remove some of them.
I usually change several things on the site quite often, and with that I stop using the functionality provided by certain plugins. I run a weekly or bi-weekly maintenance or spring cleaning of the blog, in which I take a look at all the active plugins and see whether I am using them or not, and disable those that I no longer use.
Many a times you will find that there are plugins that are unused and are still active, it is best to disable those plugins while you are not using them and enable them back whenever you need to use their functionality.
What Type Of Plugins Should I Avoid?
There is no real rule-of-thumb for me to say what to avoid and what to use, each plugin’s functionality is different and useful, however something that is useful to me may not be useful to someone else and vice versa.
However as a general rule, on a high traffic blog try and avoid plugins that make many database calls, since it may affect performance, it is ok to make around 10-20 queries per page, however anything more than that degrades performance and may crash the DB on high traffic sites.
What Else? Tell Us Your Tips
There may be several other things you might want to add, go ahead and tell us what you think should be ideal when it comes to using plugins, we would love to hear your opinions.
Also, I will be doing a follow up post addressing several things that have been left unanswered in this post, if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment, I will try and answer them in the follow up post.