Plugins get the blame for crashes. Do they deserve it?
Many developers are not happy with restoring your site after a crash when they discover you had 50 plugins installed. It makes their job of sifting through what caused your site to crash almost impossible, or at least, extremely time-consuming. For that reason, most developers have advised users to keep the number of plugins as low as possible.
Developers also point out that the more plugins you use, the more likely one of them is going to conflict with others. It’s just a matter of the odds.
Another factor that climbs with each plugin is the length of time it takes to load the code each one requires. Most of these have very small amounts of code, but added all together, this code-loading time can amount to a delay you don’t want (and neither does Google).
What factors should we consider when we select plugins?
The most important factor to consider for each and every plugin you install, according to every developer I consulted, is the quality of the plugin. Quality in a plugin means good, slim code, and updates when needed along with the changes in the WordPress Codex.
These requirements mean the plugins work together and work with the WordPress system without problems. For 3 or 30 or 90 plugins, there would be no limit except the slow down of the page.
Sarah Gooding in a recent post on WPMU.org suggested these points to determine if you have a quality plugin:
- Plugin Author – Is the plugin’s developer well-respected and known for producing high quality plugins?
- Stats – Is the plugin widely used without many conflicts / issues? Peruse the support forums, if possible.
- Support – When a plugin developer supports his plugin, whether in a free or professional capacity, it’s likely that all the user feedback has helped to refine the code so that it works smoothly and more efficiently with each release.
- Documentation – Is the documentation thorough and easy to understand?
- Interface – Is the plugin’s interface intuitive enough that you can find your way around or do you have to spend hours reading up on it to understand how to use it? A high quality interface is many times the sign of a well-constructed plugin.
Says Sarah, “These are not the sole determining factors of a good plugin, but in general, these will give you a hint in the right direction.”
All these tips should help you decide whether to be a plugin-maniac or a plugin-prude. Are you going to go with the minimum number of plugins, or will you go crazy with plugins that you have confidence in and plan to keep close watch on?
My experiences with WordPress websites and their plugins have led me to both ends of the spectrum. I’ve ended up with about 20 plugins on average, but today I am careful in my selection, adaption, and attention to changes within WordPress itself. Is that middle of the road or what? What road do you choose? (Share with us in the comments below.)
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com”
and created by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator