Love your Plugin ?

8 Sep
Theme Big

Not all WordPress plugins are created equal. There are some plugins, loved and used by many, that are absolutely horrific in terms of your site’s performance. Conversely, there are plugins that virtually no one uses that are absolutely fan-damn-tastic. With that said, unfortunately most plugins fall into the former category rather than the latter.

The Down Low on Plugins

So, here a few golden rules of using WordPress plugins:

1. Only use a plugin if three things are true:

Note: The third point is especially important!

  • You absolutely must have the functionality offered by this plugin
  • You can’t easily accomplish the same functionality without a plugin
  • The damage done to your site’s performance by activating this plugin does not outweigh what you gain by using this plugin.

I constantly see people using plugins that possess absolutely zero benefit to their site. Actually think about what a plugin is going to do for your site before you install it.

2. If you are using more than 10 plugins you’re probably using WAY too many

If you’re using 5 plugins to create thumbnail images for your recent, popular, and similar blog post lists, there is something seriously wrong. With a relatively small amount of research, and a very small amount of php/html/css knowledge, you can create something similar with zero plugins. The same can be said for so many of the popular plugins in existence right now.

3. Only use plugins that are routinely updated

This is very important. You don’t want your website depending on something that was last updated in 2007. Seriously. Would you let your car go three years without an oil change? C’mon now. Think about this…if your plugin hasn’t been updated in years, it probably won’t be ever again. What does that mean? Eventually it will break because of a WordPress update and you’ll be up poop creek without a paddle.

Conversely, if you find a way to do something without a plugin, you’ll have the solution and, most likely, the knowledge to fix that solution if a WordPress update ever breaks it.

The Bright Spots

Alright, enough gloom and doom. Let me point you in the direction of some really amazing plugins that are lightweight, clean, fast, and…useful!


Akismet is the best comment spam control on the market. You’ll never have to worry about approving comments again (unless you have a very large blog). The best part is, there’s no strain on your server since it runs completely on WordPress’s servers. Additionally, because it was created and is developed by WP, you know its not going anywhere.

Login Lockdown

One of the bad things about WordPress is that there is no way to protect against brute force attacks. If you don’t know, that’s when a hacker sets up a program to enter your username along with every conceivable password until one works and they gain access to your site. Obviously, if you run a popular website, its likely that someone will try to hack it at some point. Login Lockdown isn’t a foolproof solution (I’m not sure there is one), but its pretty good. Check it out.

WP Total Cache

WP Total Cache is used by major WordPress blogs such as Mashable, and John Chow. It has the capability to speed up your site by caching just about anything running on your site.

The Rub

In the end, there are a lot of plugins that are really great and can do you a ton of good. Besides the ones in this article, I can think of at least 10 more that are very useful for the right site. With that said, be vigilant, do your research, and make sure you find what’s right for you.

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