Avoid these 75 WordPress plugins and your website will load faster.
Some plugins load slow on the frontend while others create resource-intensive background processes that increase CPU. This is common when plugins collect statistics (and other data), create backups, or generate large database tables which can be measured with WP-Optimize.
This list was made with the help of the WP Hive Chrome Extension which shows a plugin’s impact on memory usage and PageSpeed. However, I adjusted the results since WP Hive doesn’t take into account frontend CSS/JS/fonts loading when you actually display plugin content on the frontend. For example, even though WP Hive says Elementor doesn’t impact PageSpeed, it’s extra CSS/JS/fonts do once you start actually building your site in Elementor.
I also took into account Ivica’s list of slow plugins from the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group page, as well as testing many WordPress sites using these plugins in Chrome Dev Tools.
Lightweight Plugin Alternatives
- SEO – Rank Math.
- Backups – UpdraftPlus.
- Comments – native comments.
- Sliders – Soliloquy or MetaSlider.
- Gallery – Gutenberg Gallery or Meow Gallery.
- Analytics – Google Analytics + Google Search Console (ideally no plugins).
- Social Sharing – Grow Social is a fast social sharing plugin with less requests.
- Theme/Page Builder – GeneratePress, Oxygen, Gutenberg, Genesis, Kadence.
- No plugin – many things can coded in CSS or be done manually without using a plugin.
Find Your Slowest Plugins
Use Query Monitor or New Relic to find your slowest plugins. Some tools like GTmetrix Waterfall only show slow plugins on the frontend even if they create heavy background processes. Delete Query Monitor when you’re done since the plugin itself can increase CPU.
Disable Unused Plugin Addons, Modules, Settings, Usage Tracking
Deactivate all addons and modules you’re not currently using (Ultimate Elementor Addons, JetPack, or other robust plugins). Also disable usage tracking for plugins that collect statistics.
Selectively Disable Plugins
- Disable slider plugin on pages that don’t use sliders
- Disable rich snippets plugin on pages that don’t use rich snippets
- Disable contact form plugin on pages that don’t have a contact form
- Disable affiliate link management plugin on pages that don’t use aff links
- Disable social sharing plugin on all pages (since it’s usually for blog posts)
AWStats Helps Identify Sources Of High CPU/Bandwidth
AWStats is a tool built-in to most hosting cPanels that provides statistics on CPU usage. It tells you whether certain bots, images, downloaded files, and even IP addresses are consuming a lot of CPU. You can also use the WP Server Stats plugin but I think AWStats does an awesome job.
AWStats helps you find:
- High bandwidth crawlers
- High bandwidth IP addresses
- High bandwidth download files
- High bandwidth files (eg. images)
- Total bandwidth usage (for monitoring)
Avoid Slow Plugins On Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is very limited on server resources.
If you’re running slow WordPress plugins and are experiencing slow server response times in PageSpeed Insights, 503 errors, or you’re exceeding CPU limits, I highly recommend skipping shared hosting all together and go with someone like Cloudways. This is especially true for WooCommerce sites which require extra scripts, styles, cart fragments, and often more plugins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do plugins slow down WordPress?
Yes, some more than others. Robust and poorly coded plugins will definitely slow down your site while lightweight plugins with clean code will have minimal impact on load times.
Which plugins slow down WordPress?
Page builders, social sharing plugins, portfolios, backup, and statistics plugins are all notorious for slowing down WordPress. Three common culprits include Elementor, WooCommerce, and Jetpack.
How can I find my slowest plugins?
Use Query Monitor or New Relic to find your slowest plugins.
How do I make plugins load faster?
Use lightweight plugins, be minimal, and selectively disable plugins from loading on specific pages and posts using a plugin like Asset CleanUp or Perfmatters.
Do number of plugins matter?
Every plugin adds to your load time, it just depends how much. Using lightweight plugins is more important than reducing the number of plugins, but both are important.
See Also: Ultimate WordPress Speed Guide
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