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Slow Load Times With WordPress Plugins? The 3 Best Fixes

Published by Algorithmic Global on

Wordpress plugins being timed by an hourglass

WordPress plugins work by adding more code to your website’s infrastructure, which could slow down performance.

Load times are an essential aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) because search engines rank a slower website lower on the search engine results page (SERP) than a faster site.  

A significant part of an SEO professional’s job is to ensure that a website’s load time is under three seconds for mobile and desktop devices.

WordPress plugins affect site speed depending on several factors: their development, the quality of code, and the WordPress plugin’s size. Managing these WordPress plugins for optimal website speed is a vital part of the SEO playbook.

Desk of a web designer working on a new website.

How to choose your next WordPress plugin?

When you choose to add a plugin to your website, you need to ensure that you select reputable plugins that have been recently updated and are recommended by trusted sources. 

You can tell if a WordPress plugin is reputable by looking at the number of reviews the plugin has. Plugins reviews are just like Google reviews—they tell if a product is trustworthy and will point out flaws. 

Checking to see if the plugin has recent updates will be essential when choosing your next WordPress addition. We recommend never using a plugin that hasn’t come out with an update within the last six months. Outdated WordPress plugins are likely to have bug issues and can pose security threats.

Two coding books being held up by a flower pot

How do WordPress plugins slow down a site?

There are files within each WordPress plugin; the more extensive the files, the longer the WordPress site will take to load. Initial loading occurs when a visitor arrives on a website. The files are delivered from the WordPress site owner’s server to the visitor’s browser. Slower load times happen when the file transfers to the visitor’s browser takes a long time.

Three main file types get delivered to a visitor’s browser in a WordPress website, including Javascript (JS), stylesheets (CSS), and images (JPG/PNG).

A plugin that includes a needed stylesheet (CSS) causes slower load times. You will need to have javascript (JS) if you want to make your website more interactive using pop-ups, which also slows down a website. 

Lastly, if you install a plugin that loads images, you can bet that your site will suffer from increased loading times.

No single reputable plugin will cause your website to have significant load times. The issue of site speed occurs when you start adding multiple plugins to your website; for example, including loading a stylesheet and a Javascript file. It is best to use plugins that add features behind the scenes rather than to your website’s front end to avoid load time issues. 

What kinds of WordPress plugins slow down a website? 

The easiest way to tell if a WordPress plugin will slow down your website is to see if the plugin is changing your website’s front-end. Plugins that are changing your site’s look and feel are known to slow the website down. 

Common front-end plugins that will slow down a website: 

  • Social share links 
  • Rotating carousels 
  • Maps

If you feel like one of your WordPress plugins is slowing down your website, head over to your staging site and start deactivating each plugin one by one to see which is the culprit. 

WordPress plugins backend on WordPress CMS

Plugin maintenance

Providing consistent plugin maintenance to your website is essential for the best page speed results. 

Here are three ways to maintain your WordPress Plugins:

1) Deactivate unused WordPress plugins 

2) Remove any duplicate plugins (plugins that do the same thing)

3) Update your plugins regularly

How to deactivate any unused plugins?

Deactivating a WordPress Plugin is very simple and can be done quickly. In your plugins menu, you will see all of the active plugins. Deactivate any plugins that are duplicates or not beneficial. This one of our SEO best practices.

Deactivating a WordPress plugin will result in no further additional code weighing down your website. Deleting plugins will keep your plugin list organized—you will be reminded when an update is necessary whether you still use the plugin or not. There is nothing worse than seeing an update notification on a plugin no longer in use! 

Deletion of an unused plugin will also free up storage space on your server.

Concluding thoughts

Are you too busy to manage your WordPress Plugins? Are you looking for a company that will continuously optimize your website for you? If you answered yes to either, contact the professionals at Algorithmic Global

When you partner up with us, we will ensure that your website is only using necessary plugins. Our goal is to have your website loading faster so you can show up first on the SERPs.


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