So how many WordPress Plugins are too many? If you spend time on blogging related forums, this question comes up quite often. Just as often as the question comes up, so too are the various answers. After just going through a major headache of a nightmarish WordPress upgrade for a client I have come up with my opinion on the subject.
When I first started working with WordPress I tried all kinds of different plugins to gain an advantage and make blogging easier. Over time I discovered that some plugins have a short life span and using them can make more work for you or end up being a pain to get rid of.
Table of Contents
Why Use Less WordPress Plugins
First I will tell you a little about an update I just did and how I came to post this topic. It also had an extensive list of plugins, most of them are not used, and all of them are outdated. For anyone familiar with WordPress you know where this is going. The upgrade went fine until I started updating plugins and activating them. I started getting all kinds of database errors and fixing those caused the visual editor to disappear. After an hour of research with no real fixes, I decided to scrap the whole thing, do a fresh install on a new database and selectively import only the content back into the blog. The point here is that some old setting, probably from an outdated plugin was causing the issues.
According To Anurag Gupta (Providing WordPress Development Services)
The lesson learned is never to use a plugin that you will need to add anything special into the content of the post. And never become so dependent on a plugin that your WordPress blog will look terrible or worse not function without it. Because chances are eventually that plugin will become obsolete!
How Many Are Too Many WordPress Plugins
So how many WordPress plugins do you need? As very few as possible! If you don’t know what a plugin does, don’t activate it. If you don’t really need that new plugin, don’t install it.
So as I continue to work with WordPress, the more it evolves and the more mess I see from obsolete plugins, the more I believe that fewer WordPress plugins are better.
I also suggest keeping away from plugins that require files placed in directories other than the plugins directory. Not only do these typically cause problems but can easily be overwritten or deleted when you upgrade WordPress. In fact, for a typical blog very few plugins are needed. I am not a big fan of “best of lists” and when you start one everyone else wants to add their favorite. Here are my few “Must Have” plugins and if you add yours in the comment section remember we are trying to keep this list as small as possible!
That is a pretty a short need based list in the above link and all you need to get the most out of your WordPress blog.
Solution to Remove Obsolete Plugins
Let’s start with a case study of an out-dated WordPress site. Case in point is the once mighty Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin. Man what a pain was getting away from that thing! If you are not familiar with UTW, it was a great plugin, and it had a feature built into it that tagged terms within the content of the post.
Using tag parameters like this: [tag] Your Tag Word [/tag]. The terms of the tag parameters would then link to your tags page and automatically tag the post. The tag parameters would not show on the content as long as you kept the UTW plugin active. The tagged term or terms would look like a link. But guess what? When UTW stopped working in WordPress, and the plugin is deactivated the tagged terms on all posts looked just like the example. What a mess.
So the solution to one obsolete plugin is, You guessed it, using another plugin! But in this case, I choose to remove all those [tag] parameters from all my posts but not by manually editing several hundred posts. But using a plugin that searches and replaces text. It is real easy to use and unlike other plugins that always run this one only runs when you need or use it.
The plugin is called Search and Replace, and you can use it to replace text in more than just the content of posts but just about any area of the WordPress blog that holds its data in the database. In my case, I just replaced the tags with a blank, and it took all of them away in seconds. This can be handy for a lot of other things too.
Note: Remember keeping WordPress plugins to a minimum number and always keep updated your WordPress version. This will lead to almost no issues in the future upgrades.