Avoid these 35 WordPress plugins and your site will load faster.
Many of you remember using P3 Profiler to run scans that detect slow plugins. But it hasn’t been updated for several years – so I created this list which also includes talks about finding slow plugins in GTmetrix, alternative lightweight plugins, and disabling unused plugin settings.
There are certain plugin settings known for causing high CPU like Wordfence’s live traffic report, Broken Link Checker’s ongoing scans, and other settings that run scans, collect statistics, send email notifications, or robust plugins that offer tons of functionality (but you only need some features… like only using one feature from Jetpack). I would also install WP Disable to turn off WordPress settings you don’t use (Emojis, Gravatars, heartbeat API, etc).
Thank you Ivica from the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group for creating this awesome list on his resources page – I also added quite a few. I would definitely join his group which has over 5,000 members. You can also read my own WordPress speed optimization guide which includes over 30 ways to make your site load faster (using WP Rocket, Cloudflare, AMP Pages, image optimization, plugin optimizations and plenty more) which has over 200+ comments.
Finding Slow Plugins In GTmetrix
Since P3 Profiler doesn’t work anymore, an alternative solution to finding YOUR slowest loading plugins is to run your site through GTmetrix and check out your report. If when you expand items the same plugin appears multiple times in your report (or simply takes a long time to load in the GTmetrix waterfall tab), you should probably delete or replace that plugin.
Lightweight Slider/Gallery/Social Sharing Plugins
Soliloquy – premium slider plugin ($19) I have used on multiple sites and works fantastic. It’s easy to use (drag and drop), responsive, and comes with multiple templates. It’s not as robust as Revolution Slider or Layer Slider, but those are code-heavy and will almost certainly slow down your WordPress site. For a minimal, nice slider plugin – Soliloquy does an awesome job.
Envira Gallery – $29 premium/lightweight gallery plugin recommended by Ivica, WP Beginner, and others. NextGEN Gallery and Essential Grid are slow so avoid using those. Envira also has a lite (free) version but doesn’t come with albums, tags, social media integration, gallery templates, deeplinking, pagination, ecommerce, image proofing, and more.
FooGallery – free popular lightweight gallery plugin with great (5 star) reviews.
Sassy Social Share – lightweight social sharing buttons with over 100 social sharing and bookmarking services and customizable icons. Recommended by Ivica on his resources page.
DVK Social Sharing – alternative plugin that supports Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Turn Off Unused Plugin Settings
Go through each of your plugins and decide which settings you can turn off (this will lower CPU). For example, in Yoast under Settings > General > Features I disabled the following…
Wordfence’s live traffic view also consumes high CPU…
Avoid Using 2 Plugins For Duplicate Functionality
Since Yoast creates a sitemap for you, you don’t need the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. If your host takes backups for you, you don’t need a plugin for that. If you have Google Analytics, do you really a statistics plugin that slows down your site and does about 1/1000 of what Google Analytics can do? Think about which plugins you actually need and delete the ones you don’t. And instead of using Jetpack so you can use 1 or 2 features, install a lightweight plugin that does the same thing but doesn’t have a million settings/features that will slow down your site.
Disable Unused Settings In WordPress
WP Disable lets you disable settings in WordPress that consume CPU and slow down your site. It also has options for heartbeat control (if you remember the actual heartbeat control plugin, you can now delete it and just use this)… as well as a few other options that can speed up your website/admin panel. Go through the settings and disable everything you don’t use…
Tips On Using WP Disable
- Disable EVERYTHING you don’t use
- Scheduling spam deletion is a good idea
- Emojis, Google Maps, and Gravatars take a long time to load
- Pingbacks and trackbacks aren’t usually worth the extra resources
- Set post revisions to 3-5 so you have backups, but you don’t need hundreds
- Miscellaneous options in the “request” tab can further your improve load times
AWStats Helps Identify Sources Of High CPU/Bandwidth
AWStats is a tool built-in to most hosting cPanels that provides statistics on CPU usage. It tells you whether certain bots, images, downloaded files, and even IP addresses are consuming a lot of CPU. You can also use the WP Server Stats plugin but I think AWStats does an awesome job.
AWStats helps you find:
- High bandwidth crawlers
- High bandwidth IP addresses
- High bandwidth download files
- High bandwidth files (eg. images)
- Total bandwidth usage (for monitoring)
Search engine crawlers/spiders usually consume the most CPU (bandwidth)…
My WordPress speed guide has more tips on reducing crawler CPU plus tons of other tips.
What If You Absolutely Need A Resource-Hungry Plugins?
Your hosting plan has a limited amount of server resources (#1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide). If a plugin is consuming too much CPU your only option (other than deleting or replacing it) is to upgrade your plan to include more server resources. Some of you know I recommend SiteGround for many reasons as their speed technology is extremely fast. And if you’re currently hosted with someone like Bluehost, Godaddy, InMotion or any of those other crappy hosts, this will be a huge upgrade for your server hardware which should improve both your scores and page load times in GTmetrix, Pingdom, and Google Page Speed Insights.
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