One of the reasons why I’ve stuck with WordPress over the years—aside from the fact that its competitors, such as Drupal, are absolutely pitiful—is the ease of modifying it. WordPress’ Plugin system enables you to add functionality to your blog with nothing more than a couple of mouse clicks; just perform a search for the kind of plugin you need, download and install it and you’re good to go.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of plugins that don’t play nice with your site unless it’s set up in a very particular way.
I’ve already written about how I had to unplug W3 Total Cache because it was wreaking havoc on my site’s servers. There are a number of other plugins I’ve had a sentimental attachment to but have had to get rid of because they screwed with the site. For example, for the longest time, I used the plugin WP-Ban to fuck with haters and trolls by banning them from reading the site. Any banned commenter who tried to access the blog would be redirected to Goatse instead.
Many lulz were had… until I had to unplug the plugin.
Occasionally, WP-Ban would ensnare legit commenters, who would subsequently email me in a state of shock; for example, Dr. Illusion once informed me that my site had been replaced with “a picture of a fag holding his asshole open.” But the real problem came when I installed some security measures to stop people from hacking my blog a while back; whenever I had them and WP-Ban active at the same time, the site would crash. Goodbye, Goatse.
But software incompatibilities aren’t the only issue with some plugins. A great many of them can tank your site just from the resources they use. If you’re looking to speed up your blog, a great place to start is with P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler), which analyzes your site to see how long it takes to load up and which plugins are impacting it the most. For example, MattForney.com’s plugins add about 1.2 seconds worth of load time to the site; here’s a breakdown of which plugins are causing the most trouble:
For comparison’s sake, here’s the chart for The Electric Camel (which has 0.7 seconds of plugin load time):
After running P3 on both sites, I used the reports to deactivate and delete a number of plugins that were hampering my site’s speed and weren’t providing me any kind of benefit.
If you’re looking to get your site running faster and improve your search engine rankings, I recommend using P3 Plugin Profiler to get rid of unnecessary plugins. Even if you don’t use it, deleting plugins you don’t need is a no-brainer, as each plugin consumes resources on your server.
Read Next: W3 Total Cache vs. WP Super Cache