Have you heard that having too many WordPress plugins will slow down your site, so you should try to limit the number of plugins you use?
I’ve heard that a bunch of times, so I decided to do some research on the matter. Because if having plugins that can expand the functionality of your website is such a great perk of having a WordPress site, why should you have to limit their use? It seems pretty counterintuitive.
Turns out, the advice to not have too many plugins isn’t quite right.
Yes, it’s possible that you can have plugins that slow down your site, but it’s not the quantity of plugins that’s the problem, it’s the quality. If you have plugins that are well coded and don’t tax your site too much, the number of plugins isn’t a problem. For a really good explanation of what a good plugin would look like, check out this blog post on the topic.
So now you know you can use as many good plugins as you’d like. But is that the best choice?
It’s great to know that as long as you’re choosing good quality plugins you can use as many as your little heart desires. But, I would still argue that there are times when a plugin might not be the best option, even though it would work.
I was recently working on the widgets in my sidebar and wanted to use a shortcode for the form to sign up for my newsletter. Turns out, that functionality is not part of the theme I’m using. So I dug around online for a solution, and quickly came upon a plugin that would allow me to use shortcodes in widgets.
But, I also came across another, more elegant and permanent solution to my problem; I could add two lines of code to my functions.php file.
I opted for editing my functions.php file for a few reasons. First, even though I know that I can use as many good quality plugins as I want, I personally don’t like worrying about keeping a bunch of plugins updated if I don’t have to. Second, I’ve found that it’s too easy to accidentally turn off a plugin. It would be pretty bad if I accidentally turned off the plugin that lets me use shortcodes in widgets, and suddenly no one could fill out my newsletter subscription form.
When given the option, I prefer to add the code for simple, permanent features of my website right to the site’s files. If the function is complicated, requires a lot of code or is above my abilities to code, I love to use plugins. But for simple things such as adding a simple function like shortcodes in widgets or adding social media icons to my site, I prefer the peace of mind knowing that those changes aren’t going to get turned off unless I go into the code and purposefully delete them.