This is how plugins slowly kill your website
Plugins have never been more popular – and for good reason. A plugin can both increase the functionality of your website while also solving any problems you might encounter. They do so effectively and at low costs.
But you should always think twice before installing a new plugin – they also have detrimental side-effects. Plugins can increase the risk of serious gaps in security and can heavily impact the speed of your website.
Let’s jump into the different problems plugins can cause and how to solve these.
Plugins often tackle many different issues.
You might ask yourself: Is it really a bad thing for a plugin to try to tackle and solve many different problems at once?
While it might seem counter-intuitive, plugins that try to add too many features are bad.
You rarely need all the features and solutions that some more expansive plugins provide, resulting in several hundred functions and thousands of lines of codes slowing down your site, unused.
Even if you don’t use the extra functions, the code is still there, weighing everything down.
It’s why otherwise well-developed websites sometimes end up being slow, even when they “only” have 10 plugins.
Solution: When you’re adding a plugin, consider whether it is really necessary and if it effectively solves your problem. Consider alternative plugins that do not include unnecessary features and explore the possibility of choosing a plugin that solves several of your problems together. Alternatively, if the plugin offers it – or if you have the necessary technical knowledge – it’s advisable to delete functions you don’t use.
Plugins compete with each other
Because there are thousands of different developers creating plugins, it is frequently the case that two plugins are incompatible, leading to serious bugs and errors.
Even worse, these errors are generally incredibly difficult to spot.
Solution: Always make sure you have a recent backup of your site, preferably just before updating existing plugins or downloading new ones. That way, if something goes wrong, you can restore the old version of your site. Before installing or updating your plugins, do some research to make sure they are compatible with each other. Finding this information online should usually not be so difficult, especially in the case of popular plugins.
Not all plugins are of the same quality
It’s a common misconception that all plugins are made by skilled developers. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
In Open Source systems (like WordPress), anyone can upload a plugin. And while you can find amazing plugins developed by amazing and skilled teams, other, less experienced users can also upload their lower-quality plugins.
Time and time again, we encounter people using plugins that are inefficient, full of unnecessary and poorly composed functions, and just overall far heavier than necessary.
This bad code usually leads to functionality issues or lower website speeds. So much, in fact, that we’ve often seen a single poorly developed plugin be solely responsible for an otherwise good website being dull.
Solution: Do thorough research before choosing your plugins. When possible, stick to popular plugins that have many good reviews. Read what the reviews have to say about the plugin and assess whether it is the right match. Fortunately, the intense competition in the plugin market means that there are generally many good alternatives.
Plugins often lead to:
- Slower websites
- Reduced life expectancy of your website
- Unnecessary maintenance
- An increased risk of serious security breaches
Think twice when choosing to install a plugin. Be picky, spend time and resources on research, and stick to popular, well-developed solutions with many good reviews.
Generally, avoid plugins that have not been updated for a long time and always make sure to update your plugins whenever possible.
If you stop using a plugin, delete it.
Now you know what to look for when downloading plugins. Use that knowledge correctly and you can easily take advantage of the many positive features plugins bring – without compromising on either performance or security.
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