For our WordPress clients, 9 times out of 10 we are seeing far too many plugins installed or are not updated and some that perform pointless tasks. As a webmaster, you should really be careful with what WordPress plugins you are installing and keep installs to a minimum.

Expanding your plugin list with pointless or simply small installs is bloating your website and making it slower. We mentioned this in our website page speed tips but many webmasters are guilty of WordPress plugin bloating.

Consider this example, say you have an old computer, when you keep installing more and more software applications to it, it will eventually start to crash. This is exactly what is happening to your WordPress website, regardless of what hosting package you may be on.

Pointless WordPress Plugin Installs

The worst offenders for installing pointless plugins are non-technical SEO people because they either do not know how to code the functionality or they are being lazy. What are some examples of pointless WordPress installs? Automated year in the footer or cookie and privacy policy automation tools are two that I have seen used recently.

The issue with these sorts of plugins is that they are made by non-reputable companies that could leave “back doors” in the code to perform malicious activity. For example:

  • Place hidden links for SEO gains
  • Place ads or affiliate links via popups
  • Allow access to your WordPress Dashboard
  • Potentially perform Bitcoin mining
  • Take down the site

Clearly the list of malicious activity is endless but it is fairly common. Charles Floate exposed a few big names in the SEO community doing exactly this for their SEO agency clients business websites, which is very naughty!

This is not to say that every WordPress plugin will be up to this sort of behavior but just be cautious. If something is small and can be easily coded, then do it. You want to keep your plugin installations to a minimum to reduce bloating and ensure maximum website performance.

wordpress plugin slowing down website

How Do Plugins Slow Down Websites?

The majority of novice web developers will not realize that many plugins will run in the background and slow down the website. They do this by consuming CPU and calling external resources such as style sheets or Javascript files.

Not only this, many make database requests and in great numbers too, which slows the site down quite significantly. Many webmasters seem to think installing several performance/speed related plugins will magically make the site faster too but seriously, don’t believe the hype. As a rule of thumb, you should only need one Caching plugin (i.e. WP Super Cache or WP Rocket) and a CDN setup (i.e. Cloud Flare).

Not Updating Plugins

If having too many plugins isn’t bad enough, many webmasters will not even keep them up to date. This can cause bugs involving other plugins or themes, latest WordPress updates and more.

Many people will avoid updating plugins as they are worried that it will break other things such as custom themes. However, plugins are prone to hack attempts and once this is common knowledge, your whole website is an open target.


It is so easy to let your plugins spiral out of control with multiple installations. We strongly recommend going through the list and removing those that are not in use as well as updating those that are. If you believe that the WordPress plugin can be coded by yourself, then get it done and reduce the bloat!

Of course, we are not saying that you shouldn’t use WordPress plugins. Many provide excellent functionality and are vital for optimum performance, website design and security. Simple remove those that are not used, lack functionality and update the rest.

We are the only Cardiff SEO Company that provide solid technical knowledge in terms of PHP and custom WordPress installs as part of our SEO services. If you feel that your website is bloated by all the plugins, get in touch and let our team sort it out.