Compare this 1990s desktop computer to a smartphone that makes phone calls, takes photos, records video, serves as your alarm clock, can measure your heart rate, and handle many more apps. Which one runs faster?
If you’ve spent any time using WordPress, you’ve no doubt run into comments about people not wanting to use too many plugins on one site.
People come to this idea for all sorts of reasons. Some have first hand experience with plugins causing the “white screen of death” on their site. Others have experienced plugins that cause their page load time to slow down, a lot.
The thing is, if you use plugins with carefully crafted “good” code, then using 100 of those plugins will not make your site slow or problematic. Good code, in this case, as it pertains to WordPress plugins, means that it runs efficiently and lightly. It is not resource-intensive or memory-exhausting. You can pile on several hundred more of these good plugins, and even then, any lag will be negligible, insignificant, and barely noticeably when viewing the front of your site.
It’s not the number of plugins that slow a site down or cause a site to break. It takes just one plugin with memory-exhausting code to do that.
Consider two sites, “Site A” and “Site B,” both on the same hosting plan.
Site A has only one plugin installed, which happens to be a memory-exhausting one.
Site B has 100 plugins installed, but they all happen to be well-coded plugins with a light footprint.
Site B, with 100 plugins, will run faster and smoother than Site A, with only 1 bad plugin.
This brings me back to the image, above, of the 1990s desktop computer. Compare that computer to a smartphone with dozens of apps and functionalities. Which one runs faster? Even with all the extra functionality, the smartphone runs faster than a 90s computer because of the way it is designed.
It’s the same with WordPress plugins. The way a WordPress plugin is designed, or coded, is what determines whether it will slow a site down.
So, it’s not the number of plugins that slows a site down. It’s the way the plugin is written that matters.
If you use plugins that are written with optimization in mind, you don’t have to worry about using “too many” plugins.