Word Press Plug-in Dilemma

Last Update: June 02, 2015

Hello All:

I wanted to blog about something that I have been struggling with and would love to get other people's opinions.

There are so many plug-ins to choose from and so many of them are vital and some are really nice to have, but not vital. As you know, our Site Health will be affected by how many plug-ins we have. Our site performance will be adversely affected by the number of plug-ins we have. If our site takes too long to load due to the number of "vital" and "really nice but not vital" plug-ins, our visitors will leave and we will lose potential traffic.

I have looked over both of my websites I have created thus far and I have what I consider to be important and vital or at least "almost vital" plug-ins, but that still comes to about 7 or so plug-ins.

According to our Site Health, we should be keeping the number of our plug-ins to around five or less. How can we do that and still maintain a decent website that does everything we want it to do?

In the WA Bootcamp training that I am progressing through, I installed the recommended plug-in called Pretty Link which takes our ugly long affiliate links and shortens them, making them neat and tidy, but that adds to the number of plug-ins I already had.

Next, I created two new posts yesterday to my WA Bootcamp website and submitted it to the discussion feedback area and got a helpful reply from another WA member who had a great suggestion to "protect" my content. That is where you can "protect" your content from being copied and pasted and used on someone else's site...basically, someone could commit plagiarism using your content. There is a plug-in called Wordpress Protection Lite which prevents that from happening. A helpful WA member strongly urged me to install this particular plug-in which I thought sounded like a great idea and it is.

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/robert-a/blog/prot...

But, here is my dilemma: How does one balance between having necessary plug-ins verse having a "healthy" performing site?

I would love any comments, suggestions, discussion, etc. you have to offer.

Steph

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LouieLuc Premium Featured Comment
Hi Steph (love your avatar :) ),

I think everyone is confusing things here.
As a web developer I have a clearer view on the stuff that makes websites faster and slower to load.

It all comes to the extra amount of Javascript code, CSS and images that plugins add to a blog.

But don't put all of your plugins in the same bag. Not all of them are adding Javascript, CSS, HTML and images to your posts.

You could have 300 plugins installed and have the fastest site on the Internet.

As an example, Pretty Links does NOT make your website load slower because it works with your database (to save the original links and the shortened versions) and it is only working really when someone visits the shortened url. For the rest of the website it does not matter.

As for that Wordpress Protection Lite plugin, yes, it adds Javascript (I don't know it, but I can bet on that) to prevent people from copying your content. BUT, even so, everyone is able to copy it. They just have to deactive Javascript on their browsers and they're good to go. Or look at the source code or even copy every word "by hand".

And if they copy your content they'll be punished by Google and Google Adsense so, in the end, it doesn't really matter. I had one of my sites totally copied. When it comes to stealing, people steal no matter how protective you've become.

You have to see if plugins work by adding more code and scripts to your posts' source code or if they work on the site's backend thus not affecting user experience.

Test your site's speed on Google here (and learn what you can do to improve it): https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Louie
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LisB247 Premium
This is very helpful information.

I will add that the site health detector on WA is just there as a warning to help people realise that you do not need to add every plugin that you come across on your site to make it appear great.

Some plugins can also conflict with others which can damage you site. So use them wisely.

Lis.
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stephhill Premium
Thank you Louie. You are like a walking encyclopedia of computer knowledge. Thank you so much for taking the time to write your long reply. I learned so much.
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stephhill Premium
Thank you Liz.
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LouieLuc Premium
You're welcome Steph. No problem. :)
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LisB247 Premium
You're welcome :).
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SarahAnt Premium
So are you saying that the "protection" plug-in is probably not necessary. I have also had a message strongly suggesting I add this plug-in. The WA member who suggested it also made the (possibly good) point that as my website was about internet safety for families that I wasn't walking my talk!

While I am about internet safety, I'm also about choices and awareness. So post away, just be aware who has access to your information. I'm also not about blindly adding things, but about doing your research. So do any of you know anything about this plug-in and does it actually add value,do what it says on the tin?!

Thanks.
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LouieLuc Premium
Why don't you (and everybody else) go and check the 'More Details' link when you are about to add another plugin to your WordPress? There you can read what it is all about, if it is for you or not and also check its users reviews (good and bad).

The choice is yours.

Even with that plugin installed anyone who knows a thing or two about HTML can copy all of the content of all public sites easily. It only makes it a tiny bit harder for plagiarists to copy your text. It has nothing to do with Internet safety.

:)
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SarahAnt Premium
Thanks Louie - good point!! I shall check it out. Nothing like a bit of research! :)
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LouieLuc Premium
There's nothing like doing our homework. :) Research is everything. WA teaches you that too. ;)
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stephhill Premium
I sometimes discover that I need to do research to supplement the training we get here. There will be times that I want to "see" how it works before I do it. I have a test site on the siterubix.com that I use to test out new plug-ins before going on my actual site.
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LisB247 Premium
Hi Steph, I do exactly the same thing to ensure that I do not take my site down. Research and testing always is a good habit to get into.
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SarahAnt Premium
Oooh I like that idea - I never thought of that!!
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stephhill Premium
Hi Sarah:

Yes, you can use of your "free" siterubix.com sites as a test site and put whatever plug-ins in you want and see how they work before they go into your actual site, because sometimes your actual site might "break" when installing new sites.

Steph.
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SarahAnt Premium
Double-like!
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LouieLuc Premium
Using a test site is a great idea. I have a local WordPress installation on my computer. :) And, also, don't forget to do your daily backups before installing anything even if you actually test it on your test site.
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stephhill Premium
That is also good advice too....always back up before doing any major changes. The wp-backup (I think that is what it is called) puts your backed up files directly into your Dropbox. That was one of the trainings.
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TopAchiever Premium
Great insight and advice Louie! Thanks so much!
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Vickic3 Premium
Hi Louie
Very helpful info thank you
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Prestones Premium
I'm a little late to the party Steph, but thought I chime in regardless. I'm not hosted on WA, so that may have a bit to do with my take on things, but I blew off the 5 plugin cap long ago. For more, take a look at What a rebel!

Dennis
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stephhill Premium
Hi Dennis!

Better late than never as they say right? LOL!

I too have blown off the whole plug-in issue and now my site health has 0% for plug-ins but oh well! I have not noticed any difference.

Steph
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perkyboy1611 Premium
Wow that is really weird that I looked at your profile and saw this blog post tonight. I just asked this question in Course 5 lesson 3 because it was recommending a plug in. I am going to use the info in the comments. Thanks to all who contributed!

Jerry
fitand50online.com
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stephhill Premium
Hi Jerry!

Glad it helped. I think the comments below from everyone are very helpful. Check out LouieLuc comment below -- super informative.

Steph
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lewhat7 Premium
Wordpress plugins! I certainly can't assist you here, because my
knowledge is very scarce. I am a relatively new Premium member of
WA. Yet I was impressed by something called "Wordpress Protection
Lite", which blocks plagiarists from stealing content. That and info
about "vital" (necessary) links, as well as how many plugins are
recommended. I can't help you, but thank you for helping me!
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stephhill Premium
I am happy to help you. I actually get more delight out of knowing this blog helps you more than me. :)
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bstreet57 Premium
I would say it depends on the plugin function. I use 3 plugins to help me control various aspects of my sites. Other then that I only have 6 plugins that actually affect my site's performance.
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stephhill Premium
This is good information. How do you know which plug-ins do not affect performance and which ones do?
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bstreet57 Premium
It all depends on what you want the Plugin to do. For instants "Wordpress Database Administrator" it helps me control my members information. It runs in the back ground of WP, it does not load when my site is brought up. Another is "WP Editor Widget" helps me develop pages, but does not load when the site is loaded up. At least that is the way I understand it. One thing you can do is to use a speed tester like "http://toolcrop.com/website-page-speed-checker/". Run the test to get a base speed, then load up your new plugin and test again. Hope this helps.
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Rich908 Premium
Good question - five would be the limit - I have seven - Jay and Kathy both give sound advice on plugins
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stephhill Premium
Thank you Rich.
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Kathy331 Premium
I've seen this question asked before and Jay is right, the 5 plugins limit here is to discourage overuse. Louie gave a good answer.
I've got 19 plugins and always test site speed before and after installing. It's badly coded plugins that slow your site down. This site has a good article, it also has 53 plugins! http://www.wpbeginner.com/opinion/how-many-wordpress-plugins-should-you-install-on-your-site/

I accept that my site health here is never going to be 100%
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stephhill Premium
Thank you Kathy! That is encouraging to know I could use as many as 19 or so. Interesting to know that it depends on the coding of the plug-in.
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Kathy331 Premium
This is the link for testing your speed http://gtmetrix.com/ Also a member here gave some very good tips for site speed, plugins included.
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jaytech Premium
I'm currently using 12 plugins on one site, I've just started on a new niche site with a premium theme that came with 6 plugins pre-installed. That's before I start adding the recommended WA plugins.

I've asked this question and researched it on Goggle and many people with large websites are using way more than 6 plugins. One site I came across was using 35.

I think the advise WA gives regarding plugins is to stop newbies filling their sites up with pointless plugins, it can become quite addictive.

As long as it has a function that you need and your site is loading quickly, that's what is important.
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stephhill Premium
That is really good to know. I learned a lot from your reply Jay. Thank you!!
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jaytech Premium
As an example, I'm currently working on a site for a client and he wanted a map plugin on his site for people to find his business. He has no less than 3 map plugins installed as he was unable to decide which he preferred. And they're all activated. Plus there's a whole bunch of others in there not activated.

All this adds up over time and will slow your site down if you let it go unchecked. But I couldn't cope with just 6, I've doubled that already lol.
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ShirleyWoon Premium
This is where I step out. Too much geekery for me. I'm so impressed by your knowledge Steph. I know there're many who'll give you the right answers. I just came by to cheer you on. Blessings.....
Shirley
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stephhill Premium
Thank you Shirley. Love your word "geekery" -- I might borrow it from you.
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ShirleyWoon Premium
By all means. Many has used it when they're puzzled by all this geekery. God bless....
Shirley
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Robert-A Premium
Hi Again Steph. I personally use 12 plugins and to date I have never had any problems with that many. Perhaps it will depend on the Theme you use but I use Super Nova and as I said No problems.
Robert
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stephhill Premium
Awesome Robert! I appreciate knowing that. I learned so much from reading your blogs. Thank you also for the plug-in recommendation for which I referred to in this blog. You are a wonderful source of information. I might pick your brain a little more if that is okay. :)
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Robert-A Premium
No probs Steph, you pick away as much as you like lol
I'm just about to go out for the day as its a beautiful day here in Edinburgh.
Have a good one as well.
Robert
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teacup Premium
Louie has a good answer. I might add that I ignore that part of my site health. I use what works best for my site. Some plugins really are helpful. Others are just fluff that sound good. You can check your site speed in a number of places.

Another thing to watch out for is if your post suddenly disappears from your visual editor. If it does then you probably have too many things pulling at the same time. Disable some plugins that may be running and it will usually come back.
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stephhill Premium
Interesting piece of advice on how the post might suddenly disappear and that is a good sign if there are too many plug-ins pulling on it.
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MartinaWA Premium
I've been having the same question lately. Hopefully, we'll get some answers.
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stephhill Premium
I think we both would have learned a lot here today. ;)
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DIVICAN Premium
I should be equally happy to know this.
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stephhill Premium
I am glad I could ask a question being asked by many others.
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DIVICAN Premium
Good
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SamiWilliams Premium
Thank you for opening this discussion. Will be watching for some response.
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stephhill Premium
You are welcome Sami!
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ChrisGooden Premium
If you want to know the effect use Google "speed test" https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
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stephhill Premium
Thank you Chris for the link to testing your site speed on Google. I will definitely use this when I add a few more plug-ins to include the one mentioned in this blog to protect my content. Although Louie had a good point - if people want to copy my content, they will find a way.
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profitsrgood Premium
Does having many plug-ins cause a problem? Not to my knowledge. Plug ins can be a problem when they cause a security weakness or become outdated with new Wordpress upgrades.
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mjdimarco Premium
I have been wondering exactly the same thing. Thanks for starting this post.
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stephhill Premium
You are welcome Michael.
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