I was working on a site for a client recently a couple of month ago that was complaining of her website being slow. Sure enough when I ran it through I found that it was loading in 14s, which is a big no no for google.

I told her about it and the first think she asked me was “should we install a cache plugin?”

Well there is probably something we can do before it comes to that. cache plugins are not always the solution. I have a post coming up regarding cache plugins and when it is a good idea to use them.

So I checked her install. That’s when I saw roughly 30 plugins. (Maybe more I did not count).

And that made me think of this post.

It is so easy to install free plugins to try them out and then forget to deactivate them and delete them when we don’t use them.

One of the benefits of using WordPress is the amount of plugins (or add-ons) that is available out there. With over 30 000 free plugins available in the WordPress directory and many many more plugins available online, you can make your site do almost anything you want… you name it, there is probably a plugin for it.

There is no question about it, WordPress would not be as popular as it is without its plugins.

But… WordPress is making installing plugins so easy that it becomes a potential threat to your website. Anybody can potentially write a plugin and make it available for download. And some hackers use that technique to hack into websites.

If you rely too much on plugins, you can expose your site to a number of risks. Here is a list of common problems you’ll probably face at some point when dealing with plugins:

– A decrease in the speed load of your site (we don’t want that! Google likes websites that load in 5s or less)
– Security vulnerabilities
– Exposure to long-term risks: plugins not being updated increase security risks and unexpected behaviors

I just shot you a short video to show you the criteria I look at before deciding if I’m going to try a plugin of not, I thought it would be easier than boring bullet points 🙂

And of course…

– ask around what others are using and if they are happy with it, ask for links to their sites so you can check it out
– google it! you can google  ” [plugin name] problem” or “[plugin name] not working” and see what comes out

“But Nat, what if the plugin is not on”

Then you need to ask around, look for reviews and testimonials.

In any case, rule #1 : never install a plugin on your live site directly, always test it first in <a href=”” target=”_blank”>your development environment</a> to make sure it does not break your site and/or interfere with another plugin you have. Or if you do, at least make sure that you know how to get to your cpanel and rename the plugin folder so that you can get your site back in a couple of minutes 🙂

So now I’d like to hear from you, how many plugins do you have right now and what is the ONE plugin that you can not live without? Please leave a comment below 🙂