4 tips for WordPress plugin management

One of the best features of WordPress is its infinite extendability through plugins. WordPress.org offers over 48,000 plugins and many more are available from third parties. While there are many great plugins out there, it’s important to follow these simple tips to keep your plugins from getting out of hand.

Disable any plugins you’ve installed but aren’t actively using

It’s easy to let your plugin library get out of hand. If you employ an approach of “the more, the merrier,” you could run into trouble. Each plugin you install adds code to your site that must be loaded each time someone views your site, so the more plugins you install, the more code it must load. As you can probably guess, the more code your site has to load, the slower it will load for your visitors.

Because of this, it’s important to go through your installed plugins occasionally and consider whether you actually need each one or not. If you’re using a plugin, it’s worth it to leave it installed, but you can speed up your site if you disable plugins you’re not using.

Ensure every plugin you install is reputable and up-to-date

Since plugins install extra code on your website, it’s important to make sure the plugins you install are trustworthy and updated. Make sure they’ve been updated recently and are compatible with the newest version of WordPress, because outdated plugins could cause errors. Before you install a new plugin, check its reviews to ensure that other users have had a good experience with it. Even though the risk of malware or malicious code is small, you can’t ever be too careful. Plugins you install through WordPress go through an approval process before they are able to be downloaded, and they must follow strict guidelines. Plugins downloaded from third-party sites do not have to follow these guidelines, however, so take extra caution with them.

Delete any disabled plugins you don’t plan to use again

After you’ve disabled unused plugins, take things a step further and delete any plugins you don’t expect to use again. Be aware that doing so could delete certain settings and other information you’ve added to the plugin, so be sure you won’t use it again before deleting it.

Don’t use multiple plugins for one purpose

Many plugins are available with overlapping features. Sometimes, however, these plugins can “fight” each other and create major problems for your website. For example, several plugins are available to assign tags to your post that Facebook or Twitter use to display thumbnail images and snippets. You won’t want to use one of these plugins in tandem with an SEO plugin, though, because many SEO plugins offer the same functionality. If both plugins tried to write Facebook or Twitter tags, those sites wouldn’t know which ones to use if they were different.

Plugins allow WordPress to do many things it cannot without their help, but they must be used wisely to avoid a bloated, slow website. How many plugins do you have on your site?