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4 Must-do Steps To Avoid Wordpress Plugin Bloat

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By Author: Ajeet Yadav
Total Articles: 2
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The vast library of plugins developed by the WordPress community is probably the greatest strength of the platform. Thanks to the community of elite WordPress developers, you can use a WordPress site to do almost anything, often for a free or manageable cost.

There is a dark side to this glut of functionality, though. Browsing the WordPress plugin codex is like strolling through a giant candy store where all the candy is free!

If you are wandering around that candy store without a concerted application of willpower, you're going to get fat and bloated pretty fast. The codex is the same thing, but for your website.

The WordPress CMS already has a real problem with speed. Its nature as a flexible free platform makes it very difficult to optimize than a custom-coded site or a platform designed for a much more restrictive niche.

As of Google's recent mobile update, fast site loading times have gone from a minor detail to a major concern, and chances are good Google will be getting even more strict in the future.

The ...
... simple truth is that plugins will slow your site down, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, but you can't have a site running tons of plugins that also loads like greased lightning.

So how do we prevent WordPress plugin bloat from tanking our search rankings?

#Don't Add Functionality You Don't Need

There's an adage about how you shouldn't shop hungry. Well, if you only go shopping for functions your site needs, and you know what they are, you're going to have a better shot at not downloading a plugin or twelve you don't actually need.

Still, it's bound to happen from time to time, and it's not always a bad idea to check out a plugin that looks like it might be cool, just to see how it works. WordPress plugin developers work hard on many of these plugins, and it's only fair we give them a shot.

The key is not to let plugins that aren't working keep using up your server resources.

#Only Keep What Stays Current

Sometimes you use a plugin for a while, and it works great, but eventually, you stop needing it. Maybe some other plugin does the same job now; perhaps the plugin hasn't been updated in a while, maybe there's something better out there. Whatever! This is survival of the fittest, and if the plugin is falling behind, kill it.

This isn't just a matter of functionality, though the longer it's been since a plugin has been updated, the more likely it will cease to play nice with the newer versions of WordPress and other plugins on the site. It's also a matter of security.

#Deactivate the Deadweight

The great thing about plugins is that you can always turn them off. Simply go to the plugin page and click "Deactivate." This feature is best used for plugins you use every now and then and might need in the future but don't need running all the time. Theme Check would be a perfect example of this or one of the plugins which check how well the other plugins are playing together.

Bottom line, if you're not currently using it somewhere on your site, you should deactivate the plugin. But what if you're never going to need it again?

#Fully Uninstalling Plugins

Uninstall those unneeded plugins! Just get rid of them. But then make sure they're gone. Most plugins do a pretty good job of uninstalling themselves, but a fair few also leave bits and pieces around.

This is incredibly annoying when they're leaving scripts in the site's header, which will then need to be loaded by your site. Be sure everything has actually been uninstalled.

That's It!

Apart from the above steps, here are a few tips to reduce database bloat on your WordPress site:

Optimize database and delete revisions
Turn off your post revisions or set a maximum number.
Clean out database tables from plugins that you no longer use
Choose off theme-integrated functionalities instead of plugins whenever possible

Wrapping Up

Following these tips won't guarantee you a blinding fast website, but it will keep you from shooting yourself in the foot before you even get started. Keeping your site clean will help you place higher in search results and improve the user experience. So get to deactivating and deleting!

More About the Author

Ajeet is a senior wordpress developer, he is responsible for writing custom JavaScript code during the conversion process. In his spare time, he writes on different topics related to WordPress, JavaScript and Web Design to share his work experience with others.

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