What is Your Favorite WordPress Plugin? #FridayFinds

by Sherryl Perry on February 14, 2014

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Plugins are programs (written in the PHP scripting language) that can add additional functionality to your WordPress website. Some plugins perform functions such as backups, caching and security. Others add special features like forms, image galleries, displaying related posts etc. Since plugins are basically a way of adding more code to your site, it’s understandable that a plugin can impact your site performance. In this week’s #FridayFinds, let’s take a look at why some WordPress plugins slow down your website, some highly recommended plugins and a simple alternative to adding a plugin for your social media follow buttons.

How Many Plugins Are too Many?

Austin Gunter of WPEngine.com interviewed Pippin Williamson, (the developer of Easy Digital Downloads) for his article Plugins and Fast WordPress Sites – It’s not the Number of Plugins, It’s the Quality. Austin said that he interviewed Pippen because, in addition to being a thought leader, he also runs 81 plugins on PippensPlugins.com and 83 plugins on EasyDigitalDownloads.com. One of the things that Austin took away from the interview is:

“He explained to me that the trick isn’t how many plugins you have, but what operations they need to perform in order to render your site in a visitor’s browser. Most plugins are pretty simple, but some will perform complex actions that are “expensive” in terms of backend processing, and will slow a website down. In other words, you could have a quickly loading website with 80 plugins, and add a single, complicated plugin and lose half a second (or more) of loading time!”

The four areas that Pippin Williamson looks at when he evaluates plugins are:

  • How many JavaScripts, CSS files and other assets does it load? (These can use resources with HTTP requests between the server and the browser.)
  • Does it use database queries? (For example, does it store a value in a database every time a page is loaded?)
  • Is it performing a complex operation on your hosting server that will negatively impact performance?
  • How many remote requests does it make to 3rd party external websites?

(Note: I’ve just touched on the bullet points here. This article is a worthy read if you’re interested in learning more about how plugins work.)

What Plugins Do Other WordPress Bloggers Recommend?

We all have our favorite plugins that we can’t live without. However, what works well on your site may not work well on mine. Plugins sometimes conflict with each other and sometimes they may not work well with a particular WordPress theme.

So how do you know which plugin to use? As I’m writing this, there are almost 30,000 free plugins in the WordPress repository (and that doesn’t include premium or custom plugins). This week, Devesh Sharma from WPKube.com, shared the Best WordPress Plugins: 40 Experts Share Their Favorite WordPress Plugins  with us. It’s probably no surprise the plugin that was recommended the most (by the bloggers who were interviewed) is WordPress SEO by Yoast. You’re sure to recognize many of the plugins and more than likely you use some of them but I believe you’ll find a few new ones here.

Is Using a Plugin Your Best Choice?

We all know that site performance and page load time are important factors that Google considers when they decide whether or not to include your blog posts in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page). Plugins can save us hours of work and they can add functionality to our WordPress sites that many of us couldn’t add otherwise.

However, installing plugins can become a habit. Sometimes, a few lines of HTML code in a text widget will do the trick. So, for those of you who want to know How to Add Follow Buttons to WordPress without a Plugin, I’ve linked to one of my more popular posts. (This code will also work for any image that you want to link to, for example a badge or an affiliate program.)

Over to You:

What are your five favorite plugins? Do you have any tips to share with us on ways that you have been able to eliminate a plugin or two?

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Mohd Arif
May 19, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Great list; I use many of those but will certainly try Vault as I use WPBackUp and haven’t had a response to a support request for two weeks !

A recent plugin that I found is Dropbox Photo Siteloader. If you use Dropbox to collect your photos or receive photos from brands/PRs you work with, this plugin pulls all your selected photos from Dropbox folders into your media library. No more downloading and re-uploading !
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Sherryl Perry
May 26, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Hi Mohd,

Sorry to hear that you’re not getting a response from WPBackup. I use BackupBuddy by iThemes and I’ve always found their tech support to be awesome.

Unfortunately, they don’t have a free version. However, I was recently hired by a client who ran into an unfortunate experience with a web hosting company. Due to a misunderstanding, she lost her entire site.

While I was working on her site, I found a full backup that had recently been created using BackupBuddy. She had no idea where it came from. Initially, I thought that without a license, we would not be able to use it. Upon contacting their tech support, I learned that I could use my license and her backup to recreate her site. That’s the solution that I implemented. She’s now hosting her new site through me and we’re both happy.

Thanks for the tip on Dropbox Photo Siteloader! I’ll check it out. I hope you have a great weekend and that you accept my apology for not replying to you sooner. I
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John Crooks March 12, 2016 at 2:31 am

The only plugin in that list that I use is CommentLuv Premium, which is a must have for any blogger. I do use different versions of some of those plugins, like the cache and SEO plugins. Another plugin that I find to be essential is the edit plugin that allows commentators to edit their comments and allows me to do some sexy things like blacklist those obnoxious comments that people occasionally leave 😉
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Sherryl Perry
March 12, 2016 at 6:39 pm

Hi John,

CommentLuv is one of my all time favorite plugins. It has definitely played a major role in building my community.

I’m surprised to hear that you find a plugin that allows commentators to edit their comments essential. I would be very leery of installing a plugin that does that. I have enough problems monitoring CommentLuv links without enabling people to edit their comments. I think it would add to my workload.

Then again, I still remember (years ago) when I lost a significant amount of my traffic because I had a lot of CommentLuv do-follow links that led to broken links and spammy sites. One of the issues that I uncovered was that several bloggers had stopped blogging and the links to their old domains led to spammy sites.

In many cases, they led to parked domains with Google AdSense ads. So, I was actually being penalized by Google for pointing to Google Ads. 🙂 Ironic, right?

Thanks so much for joining us here and taking the time to join the conversation. I hope you’re having a nice weekend.
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Enstine Muki
June 8, 2014 at 3:32 am

Hi Sherryl

I fully agress with Pippin Williamson that the number doesn’t matter. you can have one plugin that has the load impact of 30.

Plugins that have too many backend db calls or depend heavily on some css or javascript files are not too good. Some that load external resources are even worst.

I think the right way is to do a lot of research, digging technically deeper to know how a plugin functions before going in for it.

Have a wonderful weekend
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Sherryl Perry
June 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Hi Enstine,

Thanks for weighing in on this topic. I agree that there is no magic number. Dealing with plugins can be a nightmare. I run into more than my share of conflicts with plugins here. (It’s past the time that I should have upgraded my theme.)

What works for one person won’t work well for another. It’s definitely worth looking into what our page load time is both with or without a plugin.

I hope you’re having a great week!
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May 11, 2014 at 4:12 am

Hey Sherryl,
Nice post and Yes, Wordpress is really an amazing CMS as it provides lots of amazing features and plugins. I love lots of plugins but my favorite ones are CommentLuv and SEO by Yoast. Plugins are really very helpful but we have to use them properly and as minimum as possible because if we use them in large amount it increase the loading time of our blog and loading time is very important factor these days. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

Sherryl Perry
May 11, 2014 at 10:15 am

Hi Sudipto,
Thanks for letting us know that CommentLuv and SEO by Yoast are your favorites. I’m a huge fan of CommentLuv and while I don’t need a plugin for SEO (it’s built into my theme), I highly recommend Yoast’s plugin to clients.
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April 25, 2014 at 5:41 am

Nice Post. Plugins are the backbone of WordPress. Without plugins, you can not do nothing on Wordpress platform. I am using SEO by yoast, Timy MCE Font Plugin, Google Analytics, Daily Stats, et., This is the few and main plugins. You can also try these plugins and Experience some differences each of this plugins. Don’t install lots of plugin on your wordpress blog. It may reduce your page time load speed.

Sherryl Perry
April 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Thanks for sharing the plugins you use with us. I have the Tiny MCE plugin installed on a client site. I wasn’t aware that they had a Font plugin. I’ve never heard of the Daily Stats plugin before. I’ll have to check that out.

Installing too many plugins can definitely reduce your page time load speed. Thanks for the reminder. Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes plugins conflict with each other or don’t play well with your theme. (For example, SEO by Yoast doesn’t work well with Thesis which has SEO built in.)

Thanks so much for weighing in on this.
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April 5, 2014 at 7:06 pm

This is a tough question I must admit because it is hard for me to think of one plugin that really stands out however, I would mention go with these 3: nRelate, SEO by Yoast and Lazy Load.
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Sherryl Perry
April 6, 2014 at 11:24 am


Thanks for the tip about Lazy Load. That’s a new one to me. I checked it out and Lazy Load hasn’t been updated since 9/4/2012 but before I went to the WP repository, I Googled it and “BJ Lazy Load” came up. That looks interesting and that plugin was last updated on 1/20/14. (I’m thinking that is the replacement.) Is that the one that you’re using?
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Enstine Muki
March 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Hi Sherryl,
If we can reduce the plugins as most as possible, that will be find. However, if we must run a plugin, I think it must be considered how “expensive” the plugin is. Pippen is right but the issue is most plugins are poorly coded with lots of heavy javascript and css files to loads.

I think if you find a plugin with few db requests, no css file and javascripts, it’s better to go with it 😉
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Sherryl Perry
March 3, 2014 at 9:12 am

I agree that it’s best to go with a plugin that doesn’t carry a lot of overhead. Thankfully, there are lots of articles on favorite plugins.

I think a lot of us immediately think I’ll download a “free” plugin and that will work but sometimes it’s worth investing in a license for a premium plugin that has been coded more effectively.

Thanks for dropping by my blog!

Atish Ranjan February 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm

My favorite plugin is ReplyMe, commentluv, wordpress to dropbox mainly but I do use a number of plugins but I always try to perform specific tasks with codes if they are feasible otherwise I use plugins. I suggest to use lesser number of plugins.
Nice read.
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Sherryl Perry
February 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I use ReplyMe and CommentLuv but I’m not familiar with the WordPress to DropBox plugin. I’ll have to check that out. Thanks! I don’t believe anyone here has shared that one with us yet.
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Atish Ranjan March 1, 2014 at 1:20 am

Wordpress to dropbox is actually a back up plugin which automatically sends the all the file back up to dropbox as long as you add something on blog.
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Sherryl Perry
March 1, 2014 at 11:00 am

Thanks for the info Atish. I manage two client sites where I’m having issues with BackupBuddy. I don’t use DropBox but now you have me wondering if there’s a backup plugin that I could use that would send backups to Amazon S3. It never occurred to me to search for one.

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

Atish Ranjan March 2, 2014 at 4:05 am

Sorry I mistaken the name of that plugin it is “wordpress backup to dropbox”. Any way if you want to send back up to Amazon S3, I guess Backwpup works fine for that. Give it a try. It takes both files and DB backup.
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Sherryl Perry
March 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm


Thanks so much for following up on this. I just checked out BackWPup on the WordPress repository and it looks like a great alternative to BackupBuddy.

As I read the information about it, I realized that I have seen this plugin recommended before. The only downside that I’m aware of is that the restore process is not automated. That certainly doesn’t deter me but if someone was uncomfortable with phpMyAdmin, they should take that into consideration. As for me, I’m going to install this on the two sites that I’m having the BackupBuddy issues with.

I really appreciate this.
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Atish Ranjan March 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Good to know that. Let me know your experience with it! In my case if plugins don’t work well then I take back up of DB from Phpmyadmin directly once in a month and file back up works the best with wordpress backup to dropbox.
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March 26, 2014 at 11:21 pm

I believe I used a plugin called UpdraftPlus on a site that had amazon s3 as an option for backing up.
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Sherryl Perry
March 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Thanks Matt. I wasn’t aware of that plugin.
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February 27, 2014 at 11:43 am

Hey Sherryl,

AWWEE! You stole my plug-in of choice! Whenever I get asked what my #1 must have plugin is, I always say Yoast! It’s seriously one of the best! My second best would have to be shareaholic, makes getting your name out on social media like 1000x times easier!

Great plug-ins

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Sherryl Perry
February 27, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Hi Zach,

Thanks for sharing your favorite plugins with us. Yoast’s SEO plugin deserves to be the favorite of most bloggers. It’s packed full of extras. I don’t run it because my theme has SEO built in but if I were to switch to another theme that didn’t have it, I wouldn’t hesitate to install Yoast’s plugin.

Lisa Magoulas
February 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Hi Sherryl,
I have to admit, I wouldn’t know which plugins to use if it weren’t for fellow bloggers and mentors telling me which is best. I have some that I don’t even know what they do. Kinda sad, huh? Lisa
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Sherryl Perry
February 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm

We all learn from each other (and from experience). So, it makes sense to rely on recommendations from other bloggers.

It’s a good idea to check your plugins every once in a while to make sure that the author is still updating them. It’s not uncommon for authors to abandon a plugin. If a plugin hasn’t been updated for months (sometimes years), it can still be in the WordPress repository but it could have a security vulnerability that would put you at risk.

If I were you, I would check on any plugins that you don’t remember updating lately. I’d also question any plugins if you don’t know what function they’re performing.

Are you using Wordfence Security? I’ve used other security plugins before but one of the features that I like the most about Wordfence is that they’ll email you if something needs updating and also if a plugin is a security risk. (That’s a general email though and it’s not the specific plugins that you have installed.)

Good luck and thanks for dropping by!
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Susan Cooper
February 23, 2014 at 11:01 am

Hi, I missed this one… sigh! That is an easy question for me. I love Yoast. It really helps me do what I need to do to make my article SEO friendly and I do believe it’s helping me. As far s the other ones… hum… I would say Foto.com is very helpful at times when I need a picture of a certain winery. The rest escape me.

What weed out plugins eliminating the ones that aren’t being used. We have been working on speeding up my site by moving all my images to an offline server so not cluttering up the site with unused our unneeded plugins makes since. 🙂
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Sherryl Perry
February 23, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Hi Susan,
You may have missed this one because you were preparing for your Valentine’s Day weekend with your husband. I hope you had fun.

That’s wonderful news that you’re moving your images to an offline server. I’ve read before that can really help speed up a site. Good luck with it and good for you to have someone who makes these great suggestions to you and keeps an eye on your site. It’s one thing less for you to worry about. That way, you can spend more time creating those wonderful illustrations. 🙂

Tauseef Alam February 23, 2014 at 6:39 am

Hi Sherryl Perry

My favorite Wordpress Plugin is SEO by Yoast. I love it because it is light, frequent updates from the owner and the best part is it is simple to use.

The other plugin that i find helpful is WP Total Catch.

Tauseef Alam

Sherryl Perry
February 23, 2014 at 8:50 am

Hi Tauseef,
I would say that SEO by Yoast is definitely a winner. Joost de Valk has a premium version of it now too. I haven’t read any reviews on it but I’m sure it will prove to be another winner.

Thanks for joining the conversation!
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Jeannette Paladino
February 22, 2014 at 12:33 am

Sherryl — my favorite plugins are the ones that work and don’t cause trouble! I guess I would agree with others that I do like the Yoast SEO plugin. Most of my plugins add functionality to my site. I try not to add the latest plugin du jour. They slow down your site and cause problems when you’re upgrading your WP site to the newest version.

Sherryl Perry
February 23, 2014 at 8:36 am

LOL Jeannette! – “The ones that work.” I couldn’t agree with you more. Plugins are like children on a playground, they can all be seeming to play well together and then one won’t get along with another and the next thing you know, someone gets hurt.

You know that I’ve run into my share of issues with conflicting plugins. It always seems to be after they’ve worked well together for months (or years) and then an update to WordPress or a plugin suddenly breaks something.

It’s not just the plugins that can break each other either. I’ll be writing a post on plugin issues soon and share a horror story or two from my experiences. (You’ve probably heard them before.) Thanks as always for dropping by and for being there for me when I’ve been troubleshooting some of my plugin nightmares. 🙂

William Butler
February 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Hi Sherryl,
I was totally surprised to read of having so many plugins at one time. I have 16. One of my favorites is W3 Total Cache for WordPress performance for website speed, as well as WP SmushIt for optimizing images, but my favorite, like many others, is Yoast’s Wordpress SEO.

I am going to take my time over the weekend going through the links you’ve provided to learn more.

Thanks kindly,
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Sherryl Perry
February 21, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your recommendations with us. I’m familiar with SmushIt but I wasn’t aware that there was a SmushIt WP plugin. I’m often asked for recommendations on image optimizing solutions and I will definitely check that out.

As for the W3 Total Cache plugin, that is a favorite of many bloggers. I ran into a problem (a long time ago) where there was a conflict with the version of W3TC that I was running and the version of the Thesis theme that I was running. Everything ran fine until one day I made a minor tweak to Thesis and W3TC broke my theme.

I would still recommend both separately and probably this would not happen with the latest versions of each. However, my experience should serve as a cautionary tale to be diligent about backing up your database (and your entire site) and also tracking what changes you make to your blog (no matter how small).

I’ve linked to the post that I wrote about this experience. You’ll notice that I don’t mention either W3TC or Thesis in the title. That’s because I don’t fault either of them. It was just one of those instances when 2 plugins (or a plugin and a theme) conflict and weird things happen. (Of course you know that I have my share of plugin conflicts Bill. Thanks again for your help today.)
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Barbara Charles
February 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Hi Cheryl,I definitely found your post helpful. I’m always in learning mode and love learning new stuff and what to watch out for. Also, that is what we are here for to help each other, right? Looking forward to your next posts!Have a good one!Barbara
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Sherryl Perry
February 19, 2014 at 8:33 am

Thanks for letting me know that you found my post helpful Barbara. I always say that we can all learn from each other.

One of the reasons that I always end my posts with a few questions is to encourage readers to share their insight, experiences and thoughts in the comments. You can find some great ideas in the comments left here. It’s another opportunity to learn.
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February 18, 2014 at 7:24 am

Informative Post. Plugins is the main part of wordpress site. And you are exactly right – a well-written plugin only adds the code you need. But many do much more than that, and you don’t usually need all those extras. I mostly recommend here: All in One SEO, Google XML SiteMap, W3 Total Cache, JectPack Plugins. these are the few plugins which are mostly get used in the WordPress system. Thanks for sharing this information with us 🙂
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Sherryl Perry
February 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Hi Shailesh,

Thanks for letting us know which plugins are your favorites.

One plugin that I have grown to love is WordFence Security. It’s not too complicated and it does a wonderful job of protecting my site and alerting me to any potential problems. My blog attracts a lot of spam and although I never see most of it (thanks to the Anti Backlinker plugin), about once a week, I get an alert from WordFence that there’s potential malware in a comment that has been left. They’re not always new comments either. Sometimes, I’ll get a notification for a site from a trusted blogger who may not even be aware that there’s a potential issue on their site. (I always will contact them if possible.)

Thanks for joining the conversation.
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February 19, 2014 at 2:23 am

Hi Sherryl,

Yes. I just heard about if of WordFence Security Plugin. It’s a nice Security Plugin for WP. I would definitely like to use it on my WorPress blog too. Thanks for to bring to our notice about these plugin. It would be really helpful for us for Security reason.
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Sherryl Perry
February 19, 2014 at 9:08 am

I’m subscribed to the Wordfence Security mailing list and the info that they share in their newsletter is valuable. For example, when they find vulnerabilities in plugins, they’ll list them there. This is especially important to me because I manage several websites for clients and it can be challenging to keep track of all of the different plugins. (I use the same plugins on most of these sites but there’s a few that have plugins that perform special functions and there’s always the risk of an author no longer supporting it.)

February 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Hey Sherryl,

Great post about plug-ins! I’ve always been told to limit them and felt that my 23 were way to many, but 83! Crazy! I guess I have a lot to learn to kind of figure out exactly what each plug-in is using in terms of resources then I can go from there, so thanks for the tips!

My FAVORITE plug-in would have to be Yoast SEO, it make figuring out my meta-tags a breeze and I can even see how I’m going to appear on Google before I hit publish, my #1 must have!

Thanks for the great info,


Sherryl Perry
February 18, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Hi Zach,

Thanks for letting us know that you’re a happy user of Yoast’s SEO plugin and that you enjoyed the tips.

There are so many plugins available that it can be overwhelming deciding which one to use. Often, it’s trial and error finding the right one to fit your needs. You do have to be careful though. I know that some bloggers have never run into big issues either installing or updating new plugins but I’ve personally run into two instances where simply updating a plugin has broken my site.
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February 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Hey Sherryl,

I’ve heard that it’s not how many plugins but how big they are or how much juice they use. You shared the correct terminology of course but you know what I mean. I think I read someplace some time ago that one guy had 61 but they all worked very well and his blog was still quick. I of course don’t understand all of that but as long as my blog isn’t too darn slow I’m good.

Dev’s list is awesome and I even made it on there myself. I was honored to get an email from him asking me which ones are my favorite. Yeah, I don’t use Yoast but I’ve been threatening myself to check it out for more reasons then just the SEO functions since Thesis has that part built in.

Also, thanks for the post on installing the follow buttons without a plugin. I’ve always just created those myself but recently changed all of that up but it’s good to know.

Great post Sherryl and hope you enjoy your week.

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Sherryl Perry
February 17, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Hi Adrienne,
I noticed that you made Dev’s list. I always like seeing bloggers who I know and trust on an “experts recommend” post, Congrats on being included.

I would love to use Yoast’s plugin myself but I’m using Thesis too and I had read that there were conflicts between Yoast’s plugin and the 1.8 version of Thesis. (I have not rebuilt my site in the 2.0 version and I’m not even positive that I will.) Are you using the 2.0 version of Thesis?

As always, thanks for dropping by. I agree with you about the number of the plugins we use not being as important as how they’re built but I was very impressed that Pippin Williamson was running over 80. Actually, I wasn’t familiar with Pippin until I was researching this article and came across Austin Gunter.

February 17, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Hey Sherryl,

I was so honored to be asked and I love it when I see the posts and all the cool people I’m on there with. Just makes me smile.

I hadn’t heard about any conflicts myself but I was thinking of some of the other things that it does that could prevent me from adding additional plugins you know.

When it was first released we were told that if we were using 1.8 to not upgrade to 2.0 because we would lose all our settings. If we were starting a new blog then use that version so I’m still with 1.8 and I love it. I don’t want to change, I still don’t.

The only reason I don’t like a lot of plugins is because I’ve used some in the past that just quit working or the developer stopped upgrading it and some of them did affect how my posts were setup so I had to go back through every single post and fix what was now broken. I don’t know, to me it’s just not worth having something to help your blog look prettier. I’ve even bought a plugin and he quit supporting it and left us hanging so to me less is still best.

Thanks Sherryl!

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Sherryl Perry
February 17, 2014 at 9:33 pm

I had read that it was best to rebuild your site in Thesis 2.0 rather than to attempt to upgrade it. My reason for wanting to go to 2.0 is that my site is not mobile friendly. It’s been suggested to me that I start using a responsive theme. Otherwise, I’ve been happy with Thesis. (I admit that my site needs a fresh look but I could accomplish that with Thesis.)

I just checked your site on my Android and it looks great to me. How are you handling your site for mobile devices?

February 17, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Yeah, I’m not up for rebuilding the whole thing because that’s one more thing I have to learn and I swear I’m hit with too much as it is Sherryl.

I’ve been told to go to a responsive theme too but mine looks just fine on the mobile devices so I’m not sure why everyone keeps telling me I need to move. I’ve just been using the plugin WPtouch Mobile Plugin and that’s done the trick for me.
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Sherryl Perry
February 18, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I used to use the WPtouch Mobile Plugin and another blogger told me that my site was displaying as if it were a mobile site (on their PC). I honestly had seen that happen on my PC before she told me. So, I removed it.

Since then, I’ve reduced the number of plugins that I’ve been using. I’m going to give it another try.

Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly. BTW – I really enjoyed James Halloran’s guest post on branding.
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Jeevan Jacob John
February 16, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Hmm, my favorite plugin?

I want to say none. The choices are too many, and if I were to choose one, I would go for comment luv (but that’s too common, so I am not going to make a choice!).

I used to believe that number of plugins mattered, but reading Pippin’s interview, I was amazed (and I did visit his site to make sure that it was loading fast. Sure enough, it was).

These days, I don’t worry too much about the number of plugins (well, to an extent, I do – it’s hard to get over something, especially if it is something you have been told a thousand times, so many bloggers write about limiting the number of plugins we use, so the idea itself is embedded onto our minds!).

The best way to approach this problem is look for replacement plugins (In most cases, there is always another plugin that can do the same job and have less impact on site performance).

Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Sherryl 🙂 Appreciate it!
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Sherryl Perry
February 17, 2014 at 10:09 am

Hi Jeevan,

I was very surprised to learn that Pippin was running over 80 WordPress plugins on each of his sites. I’m sure there are other factors besides his choice of plugins that are contributing to how fast his site loads. I believe he’s probably running on a VPN (virtual private network) as opposed to the shared hosting that many of us still use. Even so, it is pretty amazing to think of 80 plugins all running at once.

I’m always open to learning about new plugins and I’m willing to experiment. Although, (like you), I’m still a big fan of CommentLuv.

As always, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

February 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm

With respect to the question about how many plugins would be too many, I’ve actually been using a plugin that provides information about which plugins are taking too long to load etc. This gives me a good comparison that allows me to use ‘less-taxing’ plugins.

It is called PS (Plugin Performance Profiler); there are probably others that do the same thing but this is the only 1 that I have tried. It can often be quite surprising to find that 1 plugin in particular is the cause of a sluggish site.
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Sherryl Perry
February 17, 2014 at 10:07 am

Hi Glenys,

Thanks for mentioning the Plugin Performance Profiler plugin. I’ve never tried that one before. It sounds interesting.
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donna merrill
February 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Hi Sherryl,

Oh those plugins! I’ve seen so many of my friends breaking their blogs by plugging in too many or installing plugins that are not compatible.

I just had Kumar redo my back end of my blog for all of that. My blog was slow to download on mobiles. There were quirks. I didn’t know what to do, nor did I have the time to start learning about it all.

Thank goodness Kumar is a trusted blogging buddy of mine and he fixed it all up. Now I’m running great!

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Sherryl Perry
February 16, 2014 at 6:24 pm


Maybe it’s me but I run into more problems when I update plugins than when I install them. (Thankfully, I track any changes I make to my blog including the versions that I’m upgrading from and too.)

About 2 weeks ago, I installed an update to BackupBuddy and it broke CommentLuv. Broke it – as in no control panels for CommentLuv in WordPress and no way to leave any comments on my site. I’ve always been a techie. So, I’m my own tech support and I did solve it within a couple of hours but dang! 🙂

You’re luck that Kumar was able to iron out the quirks for you. A couple of years ago, I was running into major issues with my web host and I needed help too. Thankfully, I was able to find someone who really knows PHP (not my strongest skill set) and he came to my rescue.

Thanks for joining the conversation. I hope you had a nice weekend and I wish you (and everyone here) smooth sailing with your site.
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February 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

Hi Sherrly,
I believe the numbers is not an issue – compatibility and functionality should be the major concern. And what more, if someone like Pinnpin could have on his blog 81 plugins, then is obvious the numbers is never an issue.

Though, presently I run 40 plugins on my blog. I tried to weed out some I didn’t necessarily need but maybe just want. All in all, is about your needs and the way you want your blog to respond to users command.

Thanks for sharing, have a nice week.

Geri Richmond
February 15, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Hi Sherryl,

It’s my first time here on your blog and I saw you on Barbara’s blog.

I just had to come over and check this plug in post out.

I have always been perplexed by plug-ins so, I try not to use too many.

The ones that I find valuable are Akismet, LeadpPages, All In One SEO, TinyMCE and WordFence.

There are more so, after reading this post I’m going over to your friends post.

Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. To me, plug-ins are confusing.

Great post with wonderful information. 🙂

Geri Richmond

Sherryl Perry
February 16, 2014 at 10:13 am

Hi Geri,
Thanks for dropping by and for letting me know that you found me through Barbara’s blog. (How you found me is always a good to know.)

There are so many plugins that I don’t believe anyone could possibly be familiar with all of them. Thanks for the tip on LeadPages. I hadn’t checked them out before.

I’m glad you found my post informative!
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Barbara Charles
February 15, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Hi Sherryl,

Thank you for writing this article on Plugins. I’m not a big one on plugins but that’s because I’m still learning about them. I’ve heard so many conflicting opinions on how many plugins to use that it’s always confused me. But 81 seems like a crazy bit.

I know I am cautious with plugins. I have about 20 right now and am still thinking of eliminating what I don’t need. The problem is assessing which ones are important.

This is a great article helping to explain and help us with your choices.

Thanks so much.
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Sherryl Perry
February 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

Hi Barbara,

80 plugins does seem a bit crazy for most of us and 20 sounds like a reasonable amount – especially for those of us who are using shared hosting for our websites.

Pippin is a plugin developer so it makes sense that he would want to promote the use of plugins. His two sites PippinsPlugins.com and EasyDigitalDownloads.com) both pack a lot of functionality. I suspect that the majority of the plugins that he’s using are performing single functions whereas many of us run one plugin that is packed with multiple functions.

For example, The CommentLuv Premium plugin includes commenting, anti-spam, a link to Twitter, a reply function and keyword name functionality. (It’s actually eight plugins built into one.) The CommentLuv functionality alone is making calls between the web host that your site is on, the client machine of the person leaving the comment and the web host for the site that the luv link is on.

Thanks so much for letting me know that you found my post helpful. I found your article on the Facebook debugger tool very interesting!
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Kumar Gauraw
February 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Hi Sherryl,

I do have several plugins in my favorite list. However, if there is something I highly recommend to bloggers, is W3TotalCache plugin because it dramatically not only helps speed up your website, helps you plug many other services when you need them such as CloudFlare, CDN, object Caching and so on…

I have a good 25+ plugins on my site and I don’t think I can live without any of them unless my theme starts to support them in a better way. And my website’s performance is pretty good I think. So, I would tend to think that it’s not the number that matters. Instead, the question is, is that plugin really needed? If yes, then have it!

Thank you for sharing!

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Sherryl Perry
February 15, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Hi Kumar,
Thanks for letting us know that you recommend W3 Total Cache. Lots of bloggers love that caching plugin. A few of us (including me) have run into issues with it. In my case, it ran well for a long time and then one day, it conflicted with my WordPress theme.

I’m not saying that I don’t recommend it. I just want to remind everyone (especially new bloggers) that strange things can happen on our sites in spite of our best intentions. Sometimes, the wrong combination of plugins and your WordPress theme can trigger a conflict.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, I took a minor update of BackupBuddy and suddenly CommentLuv wouldn’t work. (It appeared enabled as a plugin but otherwise, it didn’t exist.) In the case of W3TC, it destroyed the design settings of my theme.

I linked to my post about that experience below because it was loaded with lessons-learned. For example, I learned that sometimes a total restore of your backup can not be enough.

Thanks for joining the conversation! It’s amazing how one comment can trigger memories of an experience that others may find interesting.
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Ray February 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I still can’t imagine why someone would need or even want 80+ plugins for that matter. I see people talking about 30-40 and I thought that was a lot, but 80 yikes. Even if they consume very little resources updating and trying to remember what each one does would be a major challenge with that many.

I have used a plugin called P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) in the past that will test all your plugins and give you a nice report of their resource usage. I haven’t used it lately with WordPress 3.8, but I have with earlier versions and it worked great.

As for a favorite plugin I don’t really have one. It is more like set it and forget it with me lately.
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Sherryl Perry
February 15, 2014 at 9:42 am

Hi Ray,
Running over 80 plugins is unimaginable to me. Since Pippin is a plugin developer though, it makes sense that he would want his websites to be proof that it can be done.

I thought the same thing about managing that many plugins. It would drive me nuts but I’m sure his business has grown beyond a one man shop.

I’ve never tried P3 before Ray. Thanks for mentioning it. One of the sites (that I manage for a client) has quite a few plugins (including JetPack which I am not a fan of). It would be interesting to see a usage report for that site. (BTW – I did not install most of those plugins. They came with the site when I started working on it.)

One of my favorite plugins is Widget Logic. That’s a set it and forget it plugin too but it’s pretty handy. I’m a fan of the SEO Data Transporter plugin too but that’s another one that has a specific use and after it’s done it’s job, you just delete it.

Thanks for taking the time to add to the conversation. Have a nice weekend!
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February 14, 2014 at 11:21 am

Great post, I just realized that one of my sites has a horrible load time (which may explain the drop in traffic!) I have been using wp3 cache an ewww optimizer in an attempt to speed things up, but it hasn’t made much difference. It’s frustrating!

Sherryl Perry
February 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Thanks for letting me know that you found my post helpful. There are a lot of caching plugins to choose from. I don’t use wp3 cache on this site because it doesn’t work particularly well with my theme. I tried several caching plugins before deciding on Hyper cache for this site.

CloudFlare.com could possibly be an option for you. They have a free service that may fit your needs. Use caution with whatever approach you take. Make sure you have backups of your data and your site and track everything you do. (That way, if something goes haywire, you should have a good idea of what caused it – unless you’ve tried several things all at once. 🙂 )

Do you get a high volume of traffic on your site? Are you sure that your images are optimized for the web? That can make a big difference.

One of my blogging friends wrote a great post on improving page load time on your website that you may find this helpful: http://bloggingwizard.com/improve-website-loading-time/. Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions. I may be able to help.
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Dave Rekuc
February 14, 2014 at 10:54 am

Any new plugin introduces the chance that it’s going to conflict with something on your site. So, if you are installing plugins, it’s a good idea to give your whole site a once over when you do.

I find that many blogs are still using plugins for things that are built in to today’s more robust themes. The Avada theme and the Udesign theme in particular are incredibly flexible and have tons of UI stuff built in to them, which helps cut down on plugins. Both responsive by the way.

Another good tip is to make sure you have a back up plan. Ideally, you have a dev site that you can make chances to and test them out before making them live. But, at a minimum have a relevant back-up of your site in case things go haywire.

Good topic, Sherryl, thanks for covering it 🙂

Sherryl Perry
February 14, 2014 at 1:30 pm

That’s a great point about possibly not needing the same plugins when you switch WordPress themes. It’s also something to keep in mind when we’re selecting a new themes. We need to select a theme that meets our needs (not someone else’s).

Having a backup is a great tip. I know you’ve heard me say this before but tracking the changes that we make to our site is critical too. A couple of weeks ago, I updated BackupBuddy and it crashed CommentLuv Premium.

My commenting system was dead in the water. I had updated three plugins at the same time but I immediate suspected that it was BackupBuddy. (BB released a second update shortly after I installed the first one.) I ended up deleting and removing both the CommentLuv and Anti Backlinker plugins and I restored my database. After I updated Backkup Buddy (again) and reinstalled CL and ABL, I was fine.

Thankfully, I always backup my plugins before updating them and I always track what version I’m upgrading from and to. Just in case (as you said) “things go haywire”. One time, I had to go back to the WP repository and download an older version of a plugin. (I knew which version had previously worked with my site thanks to my Excel spreadsheet.)

As always, thanks for adding to the conversation.
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February 14, 2014 at 4:54 am

Learn to write simple code to do things like making a list of such and such category in such and such place on your site. Or learn how to ask someone to write this code. The bloated plugins try to do too much.

And you are exactly right – a well-written plugin only adds the code you need. But many do much more than that, and you don’t usually need all those extras.

Hope you are surviving the snow season OK – one day spring will come. Or so I’ve been told.
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Sherryl Perry
February 14, 2014 at 9:18 am

Thanks for weighing in on this Leora. Alarms go off in my head when I see a plugin that performs multiple functions. We have to ask ourselves if we really need them. Sometimes, it’s a good thing but other times, it’s just a lot of overhead that we don’t really need.

I keep seeing the countdowns of the number of days until spring but we get snowstorms in spring too. I get cold just looking at the snow. Anytime I feel badly for myself, I look at Doreen Pendgracs’ FB posts. She’s up in Manitoba and they are really getting hit hard up there.

Thanks for dropping by. I visited your blog recently and got distracted. (I’m going back now.)
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Kaloyan Banev
February 14, 2014 at 4:47 am

Numbers of plug-ins should be minimal. Definitely this will improve speed and actually tight up security. Though it depends on a project what plug-ins to use. WordPress is not just blogging CMS.
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Sherryl Perry
February 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm


I was very surprised to learn that Pippin Williamson was using over 80 plugins on two of his sites. I think it would be safe to assume that he’s not using shared hosting. 🙂

For most of us, I think being prudent on the number of plugins we install is wise. It’s just a matter of time before updating one plugin causes a conflict with another one and the next thing you know, you’re spending your day trouble shooting.

More code/plugins equals more security risks. Thanks for sharing your insight with us.
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