Do plugins slow down WordPress?
The short answer to your question: plugins can slow down your site even a little bit. You can reduce the impact on the performance of your website by using lightweight plugins.
Many users make the common mistake of installing a lot of plugins. This leads to your web pages loading slower than usual, despite how well they are processed, because resources are still required to carry out their features and include any third-party requests.
Small plugins are usually quality and thin. They only add a few code lines and features. Using the proper plugins can prevent the bloat and errors of extensive, heavier plugins. Don’t use plugins that have the same features over and over again.
I noticed many popular plugins, which may be why an entire website runs slowly. It can get worse if there are more of these on your site. You probably installed them because of their positive ratings. But they are never ranked based on site speed. People love gimmicks and a plethora of features, and they get favorable reviews.
If you notice one of the slow WordPress plugins, remove it or find an alternate one. You should realize plugins have features that overlap. Don’t use plugins for overrunning.
What is the meaning of overlap features?
In short, you use another plugin or addon for a function, but that feature still has an installed plugin or theme. If you already use SEO plugins like Yoast, Rank Math, Squirrly SEO, All in One, etc., they can create a sitemap without a separate sitemap plugin.
You don’t need image optimization plugins if you already use CDNs like Cloudflare Pro, Bunny, KeyCDN, Fastly, etc. Also, you can optimize images before you upload them.
You don’t need comment plugins; use the native comment section.
If your host already creates backups, there is no need for backup plugins to be installed.
Use a redirection plugin only when necessary. Even with CDNs, you can do it without plugins using server configuration or htaccess. Or use your SEO plugin.
How to find slow WordPress plugins?
- Slow plugins mean that many unnecessary functions are packed into a single plugin. There are tools and plugins; you can see this in the GTmetrix waterfall results.
- Query Monitor is a favored plugin for detecting slow plugins and themes. Still, it slows down your site, especially on the back end. Remove after recognized.
Here are some lightweight alternatives to slow WordPress plugins and themes:
- Page & Site Builders: Gutenberg, Oxygen, Breakdance and LiveCanvas
- SEO: SEO Framework, SEOPress, Slim SEO, and Rank Math (Deactivate Rank Math’s unused add-ons).
- Cache Plugins: FlyingPress, LiteSpeed Cache, WP Rocket, Swift Performance
- Asset optimization: PerfMatters (PAID), Unbloater, Debloater, Gonzales (PAID)
- Backup: Use your web host, BackWPup, or Manually.
- Security: CDNs, Cloudflare, Antispam Bee, WPS Hide Login, Limit Login Attempts
- Image Optimization: Do it Manually with Ezgif or other online platforms. Use CDNs or plugins like ShortPixel or Converter for Media.
- Database Optimization: WP Optimize OR Advanced Database Cleaner
- Form Plugins: Happyforms, Fluent Forms
- Share Plugins: Use the default theme feature or Scriptless Social or Grow Social.
- Themes: GeneratePress, Blocksy, Zakra, Kadence
Slow WordPress Plugins
1. Page Builders
I can’t say all page builders are slow, but most are. And they generate a lot more scripts and extra code lines than Gutenberg and some other page builders.
Pagebuilders are basically small content management systems within larger CMSs (WordPress) with their own layouts, designs, and configurations.
It’s a myth that Page Builders can’t provide good UX and page speed, but you must be especially wary about hosting, so I’d recommend a cloud VPS with 4GB+ RAM.
They are the most common reasons for slow WordPress sites with plenty of bloated features. And slow down your site on both the front and back ends.
Here is a list of slow page builders:
- Elementor: The king of slow. Many are aware of it and how to avoid it.
- Beaver Builder: a little better than Elementor, but still slow.
- Divi Builder: It’s like purchasing a dump site.
- Brizy: a little good but nothing spectacular
- Avada: similar to Divi
- King Composer: not a king
- Site Origin: nothing incredible
- WPBakery: Yes, it is a bakery.
- Visual Composer: There are much better alternatives.
- Thrive Architect: unnecessary functions
Many page builders are designed for newbies, as it is obvious that most devs do not use them. They bloat your website with in-built codes, gimmick effects, hidden links, and hidden codes. Page builders require extra plugins or add-ons to perform all functions.
You already know that if you use Elementor, you need to install extra plugins to get full creations, which increases loading times and cracks the website’s user experience.
Yes, they are simple to use and drag and drop, but if you want to use Elementor, Divi, BB, or another crap page builder on your website, it should be hosted on fast servers. They also create many excessive codes, rendering pointless HTTP requests, and often cause Dom issues that are hard to solve.
There are also good page builders like Bricks, Oxygen, LiveCanvas, Breakdance, etc. They are faster than Gutenberg and optimized for lightning-fast performance in WordPress.
Read these Search Engine Journal articles to learn why you should avoid Website Builders:
2. Security Plugins
Security plugins may be the most common cause of a slow website for both the dashboard and the front end. Because they try to surpass each other in marketing by packing every feature. Some features are unrelated to security and should not be contained in a plugin.
Here are popular security plugins significant impact on page speed:
Scanner and firewall plugins are the leading causes of slowdown because they handle PHP and critical system files. They will add many codes and background processes, making your website incredibly slow.
Before using security plugins, make sure you have enough server resources. And stay away from security plugins on shared hosting.
You know you cannot use security plugins if your site is hosted on a premium managed host like Rocket.net, Kinsta, Servebolt, or others. Because they already have security measures and technology at home. It also has more security steps than plugins.
Most managed hosts banned security plugins because of slow performance related to scans and bloated features.
Read my article about security plugins for more details.
Jetpack is another crappy plugin that slows down your website even when all features are inactive. You also don’t require many of its functionalities. It’s top-heavy and adds excessive scripts to your website. Of course, you don’t really need Jetpack.
More or less, every Jetpack feature is replaceable with some other plugin. It’s silly to see how they encourage it like it’s a must-have WordPress plugin.
Another thing is that it often tries to encourage its paid services. Provide free features just to gain access to a website, then trick people into thinking they should buy premium when inside.
And Jetpack tries to do everything: security, analytics, monetization, Gutenberg blocks, and other things. One of the most popular WordPress slow plugins.
See Jetpack’s features, and each part is just bloated. There is no unique stuff. It just adds more weight to your website rather than being useful. You’ll be just fine without Jetpack.
Test it out for yourself. It will slow down your website, especially on shared hosting.
3. Analytics Plugins
All analytics and statistics plugins can slow down your website because they load scripts on every page, and some use third-party codes.
A suitable way to serve analytics is to use Google Analytics or other tools like Clicky, Plausible, etc., and the search console because you don’t want to install plugins.
If you use Query Monitor or other statistical data plugins, be sure to remove them when you’re finished because they access your website core stuff, which can expand memory and processor usage and have a noticeable impact on page speed.
Some prevalent slow analytics plugins:
- Koko Analytics
- WP Statistics
- Matomo Analytics
- WP Server Health Stats
- Query Monitor
- Hosting Benchmark
- Burst Statistics
- Hosting Performance Check
Site Kit by Google
I use Google Site Kit on my website, BUT this plugin can slow down your site slightly, especially on shared hosting. However, Site Kit will have little or no impact if you use a reliable host like Rocket.net.
And you don’t need Site Kit because all its features can be configured manually without causing page speed. But Site Kit can do it automatically, and the dashboard displays some important SEO and analytical statistics.
I like Site Kit plugin because it helps me realize Google’s products in one place, how SEO works, and any progress or fall. Also, it is a simple way to configure your G-Analytics and Search Console, but it is recommended not to use Google’s Site Kit on poor hosting.
Hence, the best way to avoid problems is to prevent bloated analytics plugins.
4. Social Sharing Plugins
Social sharing plugins can slow down your WordPress website in various ways, and I wouldn’t use most of them. They’re bloated, with all the features for where to put the icons and show design, graphics, fonts, and symbols—much nonsense.
They’re focused on beginners who love dazzling tricks.
Stay away from these social sharing plugins:
- Ultimately Social
- Sassy Social Share
- Social Share Icons & Buttons
- Simple Social Media
- Shared Counts
- Social Warfare
What is the ideal method for setting up social share buttons?
Use the default theme feature; themes like Blocksy contain social sharing functions, even in the free version. And you won’t need to install extra bloated plugins.
However, WordPress themes provide fewer features than plugins. But it is the fastest and easiest way to display social icons.
What about your theme’s lack of social sharing functions?
First, social sharing is a gimmick, and if you want a clean and professional site, you can realize it with a smooth web design. Social sharing is not a critical element.
Second, you can use a plugin with a minor impact on page speed and UX, like Scriptless social share, Social Pug, Grow Social, or paid plugins like Novashare.
5. SEO Plugins
SEO plugins are another significant cause of slow websites, as they perform critical tasks and provide bloated features you do not require. They also mess up your database and test more SEO features than others. However, we need SEO plugins.
I think SEO plugins are now more useless than before. Some are super bloated and have a few plugins that only do SEO.
- The SEO Framework: Yes, it’s a very lightweight plugin with the correct number of features. Clean and without the bloat. Simple and doesn’t try to handle every aspect of your website. Just page optimization.
- SEOPress: A good alternative to RankMath and YOAST, but with some bloated features and excessive database entries.
- Yoast: In terms of audience and aggressive marketing, this is the most popular SEO plugin. Yoast is bloated and the slowest plugin; it comes with numerous ads on the Dashboard but lacks essential features.
- Rank Math: another popular plugin, an all-in-one plugin with Schema. It’s bloated and has a lot of autoloads(database). Deactivate unused modules if you use Rank Math.
- All in One SEO: Looks like another Yoast, with many coding lines/ads, and feels bloated.
Even tiny SEO plugins can slow your website because they load on every page. Other plugins, like Schema Pro, Table of Contents, Broken Link Checker, etc., may hurt page speed.
So, with the minimum possible impact on page speed, use SEO Framework or Rank Math. Deactivate unused addons on Rank Math because they mess up the database.
6. Comment Plugins
Why do you use third-party comment plugins when you’ve got a native comment feature?
Comment plugins are another common cause of slow sites because they contain third-party code, ads, and bloated content. Even 50 comments on a single post can take a toll on your site’s speed and make it less attractive.
Yes, the WordPress comment scheme is quick and free but loads many at once. However, you can limit the number of comments.
Disqus is a third-party commenting platform that isn’t entirely free and bloated. The main weakness is that it loads third-party codes on all webpage, even if they lack comments.
I like the Facebook comment plugin is an excellent and cost-free option. It is suitable for a large number of comments or discussions, and it does not show all replies simultaneously.
However, the same problem exists due to third-party loads. I chose WordPress’s native comment design because it is fast and reliable, and I can customize things.
7. Backup Plugins
Why do you use backup plugins when your host already creates backups?
Backup or clone plugins are only required for specific reasons, such as migration or instant backups because many hosts provide backup features even on low-cost plans.
They can also disrupt your performance and waste the resources you have. Yes, some hosts do not offer or charge for backup.
However, if you want backup plugins for regular use, ensure you have enough server resources because plugins like:
- Total Upkeep
- Backup Buddy
And others slow down like hell. However, some plugins, such as Backup Migration and BlogVault, have little impact on your website. On the other hand, backup plugins do not have to be used regularly.
8. Redirection Plugins
You might need to use redirections on your WordPress website for various reasons. The most common scenario involves URL changes. Old URLs may no longer work if you change your WordPress site’s configuration or permalinks.
In such cases, you can set up redirects to ensure visitors access the old URLs. The most common method is using a redirect plugin.
But redirection plugins route users through PHP, similar to putting a guy in front of your website to check everyone before letting them enter. There is some kind of overlap because you don’t need them; you can use htacces.
Use your SEO plugin, as many modern SEO plugins include the redirection feature. Redirection plugins slow down your website’s pages, not just selected pages.
If you want a redirection plugin, I only prefer “Safe Redirect Manager,” but it is still unnecessary. For more advanced users, you can use htaccess to set up redirects.
This approach allows you to create 301 or 302 redirects directly in the server configuration. Be careful when editing the.htaccess file because incorrect changes can cause errors.
Redirect with .htaccess
It is simple to use htaccess. You have to enable the RewriteEngine to use the rewrite rules for redirection. And add the following line to your .htaccess file:
301 Redirect: This redirection tells search engines that the original page or resource has been permanently relocated:
Redirect 301 /old-page.html https://www.yoursite.com/new-page.html
302 Redirect: the original resource or page has momentarily relocated to the new destination:
Redirect 302 /coming-soon.html https://www.yoursite.com/under-construction.html
If you’re familiar with PHP, you can create custom redirects using functions like wp-redirector in your theme’s functions.php file.
Always test your redirects after you’ve set them up to ensure they’re working properly. Incorrectly arranged redirects can lead to unexpected problems, so proceed with backup before making major changes.
9. Membership Plugins
Unfortunately, membership plugins are unsuitable for fast web performance, but if you have a site with significant members, you need to use them. There are a few plugins you can optimize:
- MemberPress: an effective membership plugin that allows you to create membership groups, limit access to content, and integrate with various payment gateways.
- Restrict Content Pro is another popular membership plugin that lets you create subscription strategies, specify content access, and set payment gateways.
- Paid Memberships Pro: It offers a customizable structure for handling memberships, subscriptions, and downloads. It accepts multiple payment networks and has different levels of membership that can be customized. However, it is overpriced and bloated.
- WooCommerce Memberships: This plugin can be a good choice if you already use WooCommerce. Otherwise, stay away from it.
But most membership plugins are poor, have crappy, unattractive, overblown UX, and lack helpful elements. Simply install them, and you’ll see.
Before picking a membership plugin, consider your requirements, such as the restriction, payment compatibility, integration with other plugins or themes, and support and updates. Also, always read quality reviews, especially from developers, and the plugin’s documentation to ensure it meets your needs.
10. Cache Plugins
Yes, it’s a bit of a joke because we use cache plugins to speed up WordPress websites. Sometimes cache plugins are the leading cause of slowing down your websites, and I’ve noticed two reasons for this:
One, lousy cache plugins, and two, misconfigurations.
Some caching plugins, such as:
- A2 Optimized
- WP Super Cache
- Clearfy Cache
- Comet Cache
- WP Fastest Cache, etc.
They slow down rather than speed up your website.
Because they are poorly coded or have too many autoloads and bloated features that are not part of the cache or WordPress asset optimizations.
Another reason for the slowdown is misconfigurations, common among beginners because they don’t know where to start. Also, some plugins lacked clear documentation.
Most popular cache plugins, such as W3 Total Cache, LiteSpeed Cache, SWIFT performance, and SG Optimizer, can easily be misconfigured. Because of too many features and a complex user interface, even average users can be stuck.
A few cache plugins are lightweight and super easy to set up, like FlyingPress, WP Rocket, etc., because they are tiny but have all the features you need and are easy to set up.
WP Rocket is famous, but it lacks some essential features. If you want to free ones, use the LiteSpeed cache for LiteSpeed users. It is entirely free and has a lot of features, but it is challenging to set up for beginners.
Swift Performance, Cache Enabler, Breeze, and SiteGround Optimizer work well with their respective environments.
11. Pop-up Plugins
Yes, another slow WordPress plugin category that I never even use. I hate pop-ups and even ads. These plugins are bloated and painfully slow. If your site receives a lot of traffic, avoid using these because UX will go downhill fast.
Pop-ups are typically felt as a less desirable option for websites for the following reasons:
- UX Disruption: Pop-ups can disrupt a user’s normal website browsing process. It may pop up while users are reading content or doing certain actions, leading to frustration and taking away from their overall satisfaction.
- Impact on mobile users: Pop-ups can be worse on mobile devices. They may be hard to close, leading users to leave the site.
- Poor Page Load Time: the most significant reason to avoid Pop-up plugins. Pop-ups frequently require extra resources to load, which may increase page load time.
- Decrease in trust in the website: Some pop-ups attempt to push ads, subscription requests, or other offers aggressively.
There are many reasons to avoid pop-ups on any website. Despite all these drawbacks, pop-ups can be useful in some situations. They can help show consent notices or provide information during sudden events.
There are numerous popular plugins, such as Thrive Leads, OptinMonster, Bloom, Sumo, Convert Pro, etc. But all I can say is that they’ll ruin the user experience on your website.
You can also use Pop-ups without plugins; most themes have Pop-up functions in the premium version within content blocks. Slow plugins can be challenging when using Adsense alternatives or ad networks on your website.
12. Asset Optimization Plugins
Some asset optimization plugins may cause your website to slow down, and most of the time, this is because of incorrect configuration.
- Asset CleanUp
- Flying Scripts
- Plugin Load Filter
And some others are not always suitable for all sites.
Asset optimization plugins may work well in some circumstances, but they can break or slow down your website, and you must be aware of what you are doing with them.
Asset optimization plugins are unnecessary if you use cache plugins like FlyingPress or LiteSpeed Cache. However, if you want to use them safest options are PerfMatters (PAID), Unbloater (FREE), Debloater (FREE), Plugin load filter, and Gonzales (PAID). They’re useful but not required if your themes and plugins are already improved and well-coded.
13. Image Optimization Plugins
Image optimization plugins aren’t necessary if you think about it first. Most of the time, they are garbage and load countless queries on every page. You get unattractive images or compressed files. The user interface is also tricky to use and too bloated.
For example, you can do it manually by resizing images to the exact determined area. You can use third-party software like Photoshop, Ezgif, and Cloud Convert.
Suppose you already use CDN services like BunnyCDN, KeyCDN, Cloudflare’s Paid Version, FlyingCDN, and Fastly. In that case, you don’t need image optimization plugins because they can do it at the edge without slowing down your website.
I hate greedy sales promotion, and I see a lot of carbon copy plugins. Kraken, WP Smush, and EWWW Image Optimizer are poor and keep configurations in your database after uninstallation.
As a result of speed problems and database bloat, all fully managed hosts keep banning the use of image optimization plugins. Yes, there are good plugins, like ShortPixel, Optimole, etc., but the majority are crap.
14. WordPress Form plugins
Form plugins are a part of every website. They are required, but most form plugins gather data and load all elements on every page, even if there are no forms on that page.
Contact Form 7 (One of the popular slow WordPress plugins)
Contact Form 7 is the famous form plugin, but it loads all scripts on every page with plenty of autoload. You can test it, and I think it is the worst contact plugin ever created.
Another big problem with Contact Form 7 is that it does not save submissions by default. To save and manage CF7 messages, you should set up another plugin called “Contact Form 7 Database Addon.”
It is the worst-case, and there is no need to explain why your site is slowing down like hell, resulting in poor performance and clashing with other plugins.
WP Fluent Forms, Gravity Forms, Happy Forms, and other solid WordPress form plugins are far better than Contact Form 7 because they only load on pages with forms and other outstanding features.
16. WooCommerce Plugins
It is not a secret that WooCommerce is one of the most popular slow WordPress plugins. Ok, it’s fine because there are a lot of code lines and features, and if you have enough server resources, you can run Woo without any problems.
However, there is another issue: most other WooCommerce-related plugins slow down your website. And load a massive amount of scripts, photographs, styles, and other file types, causing your pages to load slower than usual.
This ends up resulting in a negative user experience.
Facebook for WooCommerce
The official WooCommerce Facebook plugin connects your WooCommerce site to Facebook. However, it is one of the slow WordPress plugins.
There are over 400 user reviews, with around 250 giving a one-star rating. You can understand why I listed this plugin in this article by reading its 1 star reviews rather than what I have to say.
Mailchimp for WooCommerce
This is the official Mailchimp plugin for WooCommerce integration, and like the Facebook plugin, it gains poor ratings primarily for slowing down websites. However, you can test the plugin to see how it affects page speed and the dashboard.
It’s a shame that many official plugins have errors and poor performance, not just Mailchimp. Other official plugins with bugs and inferior versions include Facebook, Cloudflare, MailPoet, and other slow WordPress plugins.
To Wrap It Up
Perhaps there are other slow WordPress plugins that I haven’t mentioned. Nevertheless, the safest solution is always to try to do things manually or with small plugins.
One-task plugins are a fantastic option for fast web performance because they are less bloated and don’t try to do everything. Using VPS or a cloud host with a cloud hosting control panel for heavy websites is good because you can save server resources.
If a plugin has a lot of users, re-coding or optimizing speed becomes impossible because it will affect dozens of existing sites that use it.
This can be why super-bloated plugins cannot optimize their reign. They KNOW what it takes to update their plugin to make it far better, but it’s too late to fix it. There is little way to completely gap current settings and lines while placing an updated version.
When deciding which plugins to add, look for quality and modern ones with constant updates that provide the critical features your website requires.
Avoid adding plugins for the same features that are not crucial to the website.
It is essential for maintaining a fast and effective website.
The solution to keeping your website speedy and practical is to manage each plugin and analyze how well it performs. Keep up your performance.
Now it’s your turn to tell me about your experiences, thoughts, or other slow plugins.