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BBP 037 How Plugins Affect Your Site Speed


There is a common misconception that too many plug-ins slow down WordPress sites causes confusion for many users in the online world. In this episode get some tips on optimizing your plug-ins and still getting the site features that you want. 

Guest Info:

Grayson is the founder and CEO of iMark Interactive, a full-service WordPress support and development agency. After learning WordPress since 2003, he started providing other bloggers and business owners with support to help them with technical challenges. When not working in WordPress, he enjoys traveling with his family.

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[00:00:10].140] – Liz Stapleton

Is the number of WordPress plugins on your site slowing it down? Maybe, so there is a common misconception that the number of plugins you have on your website will slow it down. But the truth is, with the right plugins and the right maintenance routine, you can keep your site speed up and have the features you want.

[00:00:28].820] – Liz Stapleton

Hi, I’m Liz Stapleton, your host of the Blogger Breakthrough Summit Podcast. And in today’s episode I’m sharing some knowledge dropped by WordPress guru Grayson Bell during the 2021 Blogger Breakthrough Summit. I’m going to go ahead and let’s get to what he has to say.

[00:00:42].800] – Grayson Bell

Another item, plugins. When I say [crosstalk [00:00:45]

[00:00:46].250] – Liz Stapleton

… Like, seriously?

[00:00:47].960] – Grayson Bell

Yeah. When I say plugins, what I mean is there’s a common misconception that the number of plugins affects the speed. That’s not technically true. It’s what they it’s what they do, not how many you have. So you can have a fast site with 50, 60 plugins, as long as they’re well coded and stuff like that, especially if you’re thinking about e-commerce and something like that, you’re going to need.

[00:01:10].640] – Grayson Bell

And not every plug in affects the front end. They only load when you run it back end type thing. So you can have used the number of plugins that you need to get the features that you want. Like that’s what WordPress is about, right? The thing is, most people double up, triple up on the same type of plug in. We see it with caching plugins. We see like six or seven backup plugins. We see multiple image optimization plugins like.

[00:01:37].910] – Grayson Bell

And then you just have plugins that haven’t been updated in six or seven years. It’s probably time to get rid of those. Like there’s a fine line between knowing that a plug in still kind of works, even though it hasn’t been updated in a while. But like six or seven years is a long time. You probably should just dump that.

[00:01:52].820] – Liz Stapleton


[00:01:52].820] – Grayson Bell

It’s time to get rid of that. We do a lot of plug in audits and that’s typically what we find are really outdated plugins that are never going to be updated again. And really those affect the site not being able to run on the latest version of PHP or the new version of WordPress 5.5.1 which it is right now.

[00:02:12].200] – Liz Stapleton

I have no idea what version it is. I just let you take care of it.

[00:02:15].800] – Grayson Bell

Yeah, I mean, the new version is 5.5.1, but PHP is 7.4 and almost every host has it now I think. I think everyone …

[00:02:26].350] – Liz Stapleton

And when this airs, it might be different like.

[00:02:28].280] – Grayson Bell

Really, if you’re going to do like a plug in audit, you really want to just look to see what you need, are you using all of those things? A good way to tell is, just deactivate it and go look at your site like, like a reader would. If you don’t, if you don’t see anything different …

[00:02:44].810] – Liz Stapleton

Which is something you should do occasionally anyway. I think a lot of us forget sometimes to actually go look like, look in an incognito window. I had a period where for six weeks my posts weren’t showing to people, but I would see them and I didn’t know it until, and it was like a caching issue and it got fixed quickly.

[00:03:01].070] – Grayson Bell

That’s definitely a big win. I definitely would recommend that. Just I mean, even if it’s another browser that you don’t use regularly, Incognito or another browser, just open it up.

[00:03:09].680] – Grayson Bell

That also, because here’s the thing, you are not typically cached as an admin, so you are most likely going to see things slower as well because you are an uncashed visitor when you’re already logged in. So your readers might see something much faster.

[00:03:26].810] – Grayson Bell

And that’s typically what we see is a lot of people are like, oh, I didn’t even know this was broken. When I’m like, did you ever check your site on your phone or something else? Just check it where you’re not logged in.

[00:03:37].010] – Liz Stapleton

Like create like a recurring task, and whatever your ritual like every week or every other week or once a month, go in and do a solid, like a look around of your site to see if something’s broken.

[00:03:46].850] – Grayson Bell

Yeah, just just look around. I mean, it works out pretty well.

[00:03:50].240] – Liz Stapleton

After hearing Grayson speak, do you now have some ideas to clean up your plugin game? I hope so. But plugins are just one part of sites, the site speed equation. To learn more from Grayson, head to to watch Grayson’s entire session. And I will catch you next time.

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