We all love WordPress plugins and make use of them all the time. They ease our work considerably. But not all plugins are efficient. Some can cause delays, or even damage.
That’s why you should be really careful when installing a new plugin on your WordPress site. Sometimes, as much as they can help you, they can also spoil your plans.
How to “catch” slow plugins?
Probably the best option out there is P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler), a free plugin that analyzes other plugins and lets you know how fast/slow they are.
How to work with P3?
It’s really simple. All you need to do is install the plugin, activate it, and click on “Scan Now”:
Important! Remember to deactivate all caching mechanisms that you might have running on your site before starting the scan. Caching alters the way your website and plugins execute code, which has an impact on the performance and makes the scan results skewed.
Then, click on “Start Scan”:
The plugin will ask if you want to go forward with an Auto or Manual scan. Go ahead with Auto.
After it’s done, you’ll see a chart presenting the loading times of your plugins. You can clearly see which plugins take up the biggest piece of the pie, effectively making your site slower.
When a WordPress plugin is slow, look for alternatives
If you’ve discovered that a certain plugin weighs a lot more than you’d wish, you can remove it and start looking for a faster alternative.
The first place to go is WordPress.org / Plugins / Search Plugins. There, you can look for various plugin categories and purposes.
For instance, I typed in “contact form plugins,” and a long list of plugins popped up:
By the way, you can do the same thing without leaving your WordPress dashboard. Click on Plugins in your dashboard menu, then Add New, and then write what type of plugin you are looking for. The same page from WordPress.org will appear right in your admin interface:
As you can see, a lot of alternatives are available when it comes to contact form plugins (or any other type of plugin, for that matter). Just pick a plugin from that list, install it, and then test it with P3 again – to make sure that this new plugin is indeed an improvement over the old one.
Test and compare
I’m going to do some tests to show you a concrete example of how the whole process can be done.
The tests are performed on WordPress version 4.4.2 running the latest version of the Twenty Fifteen theme.
Since we talked about contact form plugins, let’s compare:
- Contact Form 7 – probably the most popular on the market,
- Pirate Forms – a plugin made by us, and
- Contact Bank – one of the most reviewed plugins on WordPress.org.
I deactivated all my other plugins and kept only these three to make the test clearer.
After a quick scan with P3 … voila:
It seems that Contact Form 7 is the slowest WordPress plugin here, while Pirate Forms and Contact Bank load way quicker.
The same goes for SEO plugins…
I typed in “SEO plugin” in the search form, and selected three plugins for my tests. We have:
And here are the results:
Once again, the most popular plugin seems to be the slowest. In fact, it occupies half of the entire load time.
And that’s all to it! This is the way you can test the speed of your current WordPress plugins and replace the ones that are dragging behind.
Be honest … do you keep your plugins in check and test their load times regularly?