Many WordPress users often ask ‘What is the ideal number of WordPress plugins that you can install on your website?!’

The answer to this question is ‘No one knows’ and that’s the reality.

I have personally seen websites struggling to perform with just a couple of plugins. And, I have also seen websites performing at their best with two dozen plugins.

A lot depends on the hosting infrastructure that the site is using. If the website is using a cloud hosting solution with server-level cache plugins, then that site will have a completely different threshold for WordPress plugins. It will be able to install a lot more plugins in comparison with a website that is on a shared hosting solution.

Let’s learn in detail why some WordPress websites can install many plugins while others struggle to install even a few.

What Factors Impact WordPress Plugins?

  1. Site infrastructure 
  2. WordPress CMS Updates
  3. Other Plugins
  4. WordPress Themes

In short, almost everything can impact WordPress plugins. If the WordPress hosting solution is not scalable and performance-focused – as we have already discussed earlier – that would directly impact site performance.

Similarly, WordPress CMS needs to be updated from time to time. However, if the WordPress CMS is not updated on time, then that can also impact plugin performance.

Last but not the least, themes and plugins can also impact other plugins because of the number of requests they generate. If the plugins are not professionally made and run unnecessary scripts on-site loading, then that is another factor impacting website plugin performance.

A Little About WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins are parts of code or scripts that are added as an addon on the WordPress website. The reason behind adding WordPress plugins is to reduce the time and money it takes to run a service on a website. Without the plugins, users will have to design custom scripts that can be added in the WordPress functionality. Since scripts have different uses, each WordPress user will be designing their own script. 

The beauty of WordPress plugins is that they are open source and anyone without any knowledge of PHP scripting can install them and get their desired functionality from them with ease.

Essential WordPress Plugins You Need for Your Site/Store

Here is a list of essential WordPress plugins that any website or eCommerce store should have. Let’s go through the complete list one by one.

  1. Akismet
  2. Yoast/All In One SEO
  3. Elementor/Beaver Builder
  4. Backup Plugin/UpdraftPlus
  5. WP Rocket/Nitro Pack
  6. Image Optimizer
  7. WPForms
  8. Site Redirection

These are some of the most essential plugins that you would need on your WordPress website. If you are starting a website from scratch, then these are the minimal plugins you would want on your website or blog.

If you are running an eCommerce store, you can add a few more plugins such as:

  1. WooCommerce
  2. Easy Digital Downloads
  3. Currency Switcher
  4. Product Importer Exporter
  5. Popup Plugin

All these WooCommerce based plugins are mandatory for the functioning of an eCommerce store. However, store owners would want more plugins on their stores as they gain more traction.

So, on average, an eCommerce website will be having around 12 different plugins installed.

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How to Check If You Have Too Many WordPress Plugins?

Here are a few indicators to see if you have too many WordPress plugins on your website.

  1. Test your website performance on GTMetrix, Pingdom, and Google Speed Test tool to see how your website is performing. If it is having too many server requests, then you have too many scripts on the website. Most of the scripts on a website are usually because of the plugins installed.
  2. If your plugins are not actively used and they are still installed on your website.
  3. If your website is crashing for no apparent reason or is running too slow, then it means you have too many plugins installed
  4. Dan Norris, the co-founder of WP Curve, recommends to never exceed 20 plugins. 

A good rule of thumb is to only install plugins that you truly need. If you can get by without using a plugin on a WordPress website, then do that.

For example, you don’t certainly need Google Analytics Plugin to install the tracking code. You can just paste the code in the header or footer of the WordPress website. That is it.

So, see if the plugin is absolutely necessary to be installed on a website. If it is not, then don’t install.

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When is WordPress Plugins Bad?

Plugins can also be bad for your WordPress website if they compromise on speed and performance, security, and trust. This can happen because of many reasons. These are:

  1. If you install plugins from unreliable sources such as a non-WordPress directory.
  2. If the plugin is installed from a third-party website that is shady. WordPress users install most cracked versions of the premium WordPress plugins on their websites because they are free. However, most often these plugins have some kind of malware installed. This malware can use the WordPress server for illicit purposes.
  3. When the WordPress plugin is too big or taking too much storage space. 
  4. When the plugin is a cheap rip-off of some premium plugin. The plugin will be available for free but it won’t offer the same quality to the users. 

When users try any of these scenarios, they are bound to get bad WordPress plugins installed on their websites. These plugins will not only cause harm to the sites, but they will also steal important site data. This data is then sold by cybercriminals online. If an eCommerce store installed any of these bad plugins, its customer data can also get leaked.

How to Check if WordPress Plugins are Reliable?

WordPress plugins should be only downloaded from the WordPress plugin directory. Or, you can also download them from paid repositories such as Envato, CodeCanyon, and Themeisle. There are many more that you can see. Just make sure that when you are downloading WordPress plugins for your website, they are:

  • From well-reputed developers such as Elementor, WP Astra, and others
  • They have a higher rating on the directory where they are listed. Most freemium plugins are already listed on WordPress and have a higher rating
  • They have positive reviews about them

Make Sure Not to Download Plugins from:

  • Forums because they can have malware
  • Cracking blogs
  • Torrent websites
  • Shared directories where anyone can upload plugins

Important: Once you have downloaded the plugins, make sure to install them on a staging directory to ensure that the malware (if any) doesn’t spread to the main website.

Should You Install WordPress Plugins or Code Snippets?

It depends. If you have a developer and the code snippet can serve the functionality, then you can ask the developer to create that. Otherwise, you can install a plugin for the same functionality. 

Since most WordPress users don’t have access to developers, they find it easier to install WordPress plugins. When installing plugins, just make sure that they are properly vetted for security and quality before you install them.

How Many WordPress Plugins To Install? WordPress Plugin Limit:

  1. If you are on a shared hosting solution, then make sure that the limit is less than 10 plugins on the website
  2. If you have faster cloud hosting available, then you can install around 30 to 40 plugins on the website.
  3. Similarly, you can also install 30 or 40 plugins easily on your VPS or Dedicated hosting solution. Most reputed websites such as Ted Talks, Tech Crunch, and various others have WordPress installed on them. So, they have around 30 to 40 plugins easily installed on them.

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