Avoid these 75 WordPress plugins and your website will load faster.
This list was made with the help of the WP Hive Chrome Extension which shows a plugin’s impact on memory usage and PageSpeed. However, I adjusted these results since WP Hive doesn’t take into account frontend CSS/JS/fonts loading when you actually display plugin content on the frontend. For example, even though WP Hive says Elementor doesn’t impact PageSpeed, it’s extra CSS/JS/fonts do once you start actually building your site in Elementor.
I also took into account Ivica’s list of slow plugins from the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group page, as well as testing many WordPress sites using these plugins in Chrome Dev Tools.
x = has impact (bad)
✓ = has no or minimal impact (good)
|Plugin||Category||Memory Impact||PageSpeed Impact|
|All In One SEO||SEO||x||x|
|AnyWhere Elementor||Page Builder||x||✓|
|Beaver Builder||Page Builder||x||x|
|Broken Link Checker||SEO||x||✓|
|Caldera Forms||Contact Form||x||✓|
|Divi Contact Form 7||Page Builder||x||✓|
|Divi Builder||Page Builder||x||x|
|Elementor Addon Elements||Page Builder||x||x|
|Elementor Essential Addons||Page Builder||✓||x|
|Elementor Extras||Contact Form||✓||x|
|Elementor Header & Footer Builder||Page Builder||✓||x|
|Elementor Premium Addons||Page Builder||✓||x|
|Elementor Pro||Page Builder||x||x|
|Elementor Ultimate Addons||Page Builder||✓||x|
|Everest Forms||Contact Form||x||✓|
|Final Tiles Grid||Gallery||x||x|
|Fluent Forms||Contact Form||x||✓|
|Livemesh Addons||Page Builder||x||x|
|Master Addons||Page Builder||x||x|
|Menu Image, Icons||Menu||x||x|
|Modern Events Calendar||Calendar||x||x|
|Ninja Forms||Contact Form||x||✓|
|Orbit Fox||Page Builder||x||✓|
|Paid Memberships Pro||Membership||x||✓|
|Post SMTP Mailer||x||✓|
|Photo Gallery by 10Web||Gallery||x||x|
|PowerPack Lite||Page Builder||x||x|
|Site Kit by Google||Analytics||x||✓|
|Smart Slider 3||Slider||x||x|
|Social Media Share Buttons||Social Sharing||✓||x|
|Social Share Icons||Social Sharing||✓||x|
|Social Warfare||Social Sharing||x||x|
|Structured Content||Social Sharing||✓||x|
|Titan Anti-spam & Security||Security||x||✓|
|Unlimited Elements||Page Builder||x||x|
|WP Google Maps||Maps||x||x|
|WP Hide & Security Enhancer||Security||x||✓|
|WP Mobile Menu||Menu||x||x|
Lightweight Plugin Alternatives
- SEO – Rank Math (remember to disable unused modules).
- Backups – UpdraftPlus.
- Comments – native comments.
- Sliders – Soliloquy or MetaSlider.
- Gallery – Gutenberg Gallery or Meow Gallery.
- Analytics – Google Analytics + Google Search Console (ideally no plugins).
- Social Sharing – Grow Social is a fast social sharing plugin with less requests.
- Theme/Page Builder – GeneratePress, Blocksy, Kadence, Oxygen, or Genesis.
- No plugin – many things can be coded manually. Coding your header/footer in CSS instead of page builders, disabling Heartbeat, limiting autosaves/post revisions, etc.
Find Your Slowest Plugins
Query Monitor, New Relic, Chrome Dev Tools, and WP Hive are all tools that can find slow WordPress plugins. I prefer Query Monitor and Chrome Dev Tools, but they will all do the job.
Query Monitor is my favorite tool for finding slow plugins, but it collects lots of data which can increase CPU usage (so make sure you delete it when you’re done). Once the plugin is installed, view any page on your website and you’ll find the Query Monitor menu on top. Go to Queries → Queries by Component and filter by “time.” It will clearly tell you which plugins are the slowest.
The coverage report in Chrome Dev Tools shows which plugins add the most CSS/JS to your site. Look at the URL of the file and you’ll see wp-content/plugins/plugin-name. You can also search for ‘Elementor’ to only see URLs including Elementor or filter by usage, bytes, or CSS/JS.
New Relic is used with most hosts and can be activated in your account. They have several graphs but this is the main one you should be looking at. Again, disable it when you’re done.
WP Hive is a free Chrome Extension that lets you browse the WordPress plugin repository and see various stats about a plugin. The main 2 things you want to look at are “impact on memory usage” and “impact on PageSpeed.” Keep in mind these stats only measure the plugin out-of-the-box. Once you start designing your website in Elementor, “impact on PageSpeed” would definitely be affected. WP Hive can still help you avoid slow plugins before even installing them.
WP-Optimize shows which plugins add the most database overhead. For example, I saw modules from Rank Math were adding lots of bloat, so I disabled those I didn’t need. You may also find old plugin tables in your database, in which case you’ll see a “remove” button where you can delete the table using WP-Optimize. This happens when you install/delete plugins a lot.
Disable Unused Plugin Addons, Modules, Settings, Usage Tracking
Deactivate all addons and modules you’re not currently using (Ultimate Elementor Addons, JetPack, or other robust plugins). Also disable usage tracking for plugins that collect statistics.
Selectively Disable Plugins
Avoiding bloated themes/plugins is by far the best way to prevent issues.
In Perfmatters, you would activate the script manager in the settings, then activate test mode to prevent things from breaking your site. View any page on your site and you’ll see the “script manager” in the top menu. You’ll see a list of all plugins, scripts, and styles loading on the page. Depending on where a plugin has to load, you can disable it ‘everywhere but posts’ for example.
- Disable slider plugin on pages that don’t use sliders
- Disable rich snippets plugin on pages that don’t use rich snippets
- Disable contact form plugin on pages that don’t have a contact form
- Disable affiliate link management plugin on pages that don’t use aff links
- Disable social sharing plugin on all pages (since it’s usually for blog posts)
AWStats Helps Identify Sources Of High CPU/Bandwidth
AWStats is a tool built-in to most hosting dashboards and provides statistics on CPU usage. It tells you whether certain bots, images, downloaded files, and even IP addresses are consuming lots of CPU. You can also use the WP Server Stats plugin but I think AWStats does a sufficient job.
AWStats helps you find:
- High bandwidth crawlers
- High bandwidth IP addresses
- High bandwidth download files
- High bandwidth files (i.e. images)
- Total bandwidth usage (for monitoring)
Avoid Slow Plugins On Shared Hosting
I would never run Elementor, Divi, WooCommerce, or WPML on shared hosting.
It just doesn’t have enough server resources to give you much flexibility to add more plugins without slowing down your site or getting CPU limit + 503 errors. If you plan on using heavy plugins, at least use cloud hosting from someone like Cloudways Vultr High Frequency or Rocket.net. And if you only have a small budget for shared hosting, try to go with a LiteSpeed server from someone like NameHero which is faster (and more efficient) than Apache/Nginx.
Do plugins slow down WordPress?
Plugins do slow down WordPress, but some more than others. Multipurpose and poorly coded plugins will usually slow down your site while lightweight plugins with clean code and specific features will generally have minimal impact on load times and CPU usage.
Which plugins slow down WordPress?
Page builders, social sharing plugins, portfolios, backup, statistics plugins and any plugin that has to collect/process data are all notorious for slowing down WordPress.
How can I find my slowest plugins?
Query Monitor, New Relic, and Chrome Dev Tools are all great tools to finding slow plugins.
How do I make plugins load faster?
Avoiding bloated plugins to begin with is definitely the best solution, but you can also optimize them by disabling specific features/modules and selectively disabling them on pages/posts using an asset unloading plugin.
Do number of plugins matter?
Every plugin adds to your load time, it just depends how much. Using lightweight plugins is more important than reducing the number of plugins, but both are important.
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