Are WordPress Plug-ins Slowing your Site?

Are WordPress Plug-ins Slowing your Site?

The WordPress platform continues to grow in popularity for two main reasons. The first of these reasons is the simple fact that publishing quality content is of ever increasing importance for worldwide businesses, as it helps to improve social media standing, search engine rankings and more.

Secondly, even individuals with no previous coding knowledge/ experience can add increased functionality to sites by using plug-ins. Created by coders around the world, the plethora of available plug-ins enables users to add all the functionality they could possibly imagine to their sites. There is, however, a drawback to this array of possible plug-ins...


The Problem with Plug-ins

Most WordPress plug-ins are created as stand-alone projects. While they are typically fully functional as such, coders could not possibly take all the different possible combinations of themes, plug-ins, and so on into consideration when writing the code. This, of course, means that a plug-in's code may not run well once combined with varying themes or other plug-ins, subsequently hogging resources and affecting the site's performance/ load times.

Considering the fact that loading speed is now regarded as a factor in search engine rankings - not to mention the impatience of Internet users in general - and subsequently may actually harm a site's ranking, slow loading times are obviously not acceptable. Determining which plug-in is causing issues and removing it is therefore essential.

Plug-in Performance Profiler (P3)

Fortunately, there is a plug-in (yes, another one) that enables users to scan their plug-in directory and determine exactly how much time each of the plug-ins used on the site is adding to the overall loading time of pages.

Once installed, the P3 plug-in can be run out of the 'Tools' menu and will provide a scan result detailing:

Total Plug-ins - the number of installed/ running plug-ins
Plug-in Load Time - the time it takes just to load the plug-ins (ideally, entire pages should load in under one second, meaning this figure must be extremely low)
Plug-in Impact - the percentage of plug-in loading times with respect to the site's overall load time
MySQL Queries - Statistic essentially indicating the strain put onto the database

A pie chart showing individual plug-in load times and their impact on overall load time (again shown in percentages) then assists in determining which plug-ins are causing problems and should be considered as potential candidates for removal in order to achieve acceptable load times.

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