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Slow WordPress Plugins that affect your site speed to avoid

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Do you want to know some of the plugins that slow down WordPress performance to avoid?

The WordPress plugins in this guide are some of the slowest plugins you need to avoid if you want your WordPress site page speed to be fast.

A lot of these bloated and slow WordPress plugins don't just impact a website's speed and performance in the front end but also guzzle up CPU, yikes!

WordPress plugins that slow down your site cost you hosting money too as you have to keep upgrading, especially, if your WordPress site is on the wrong or cheap server plan or with a bad website hosting provider. 

What's even sadder is that these plugins are usually popular so people just assume they are good(this is why we don't do popularity, we prefer simple coded and lightweight fast plugins) because of their popularity.

Important: If you are with one of the two best fully managed WordPress hosting companies, WPENGINE (click to see disallowed plugins) & Kinsta(click to see banned plugins), they have a list of non-secure, bloated, and slow loading plugins they won't allow on their hosting platform.

This is good because it saves you from headaches and keeps your WordPress pages secure and loading fast.

If you are in a rush here are some of the popular security, SEO, form, cache, page builder, etc, slowest loading plugins to avoid that negatively affect performance and you need to think long and hard before adding:

NameUsed forFile Size(PHP Memory Impact)
WP RocketCache3.1 MB
LiteSpeedCache813 KB(ok to use if on a LiteSpeed server by hosts like GreenGeeks, NameHero)
WP OptimizeCache525 KB (just the free version)
JetpackAddon(Security/Backup,etc)14.5 MB(pro) & 1.11 MB(free)
WordFenceSecurity4.3 MB
Defender SecuritySecurity1.8 MB
IThemeSecurity3.3 MB (pro) & 1.18(free)
All In One WP SecuritySecurity170 KB(small file size but adds >390ms to load)
All In One SEOSEO2.7 MB
Yoast SEO3.5 MB(Pro) & 1.7 MB(free)
Rank MathSEO3.4 MB(pro) & 346 KB(free)
Backup BuddyBackup6.9 MB
ImagifyImage Optimization1.8 MB(pro) & 419(free)
ElementorPage Builder5.6 MB(pro) & 1.7 MB(free)
Visual ComposerPage Builder2.7 MB
WP Staging Staging631 KB
WP Go Maps (formerly WP Google Maps)Maps3.5 MB
WooCommerceE-commerce6.3 (without the extensions)
Advanced Custom Field(ACF)Fields1 MB
If you don't want plugins that bloat & reduce WordPress page speed avoid(unless you absolutely need to) the above.

Here are some WordPress Slow Plugins with more details

We have listed the plugins that reduce the speed of WordPress sites by category to make it easy for you to navigate the read -

  • security
  • search engine optimization(SEO), 
  • cache
  • translation
  • page builder 
  • forms 
  • etc.

Let's get to the plugins that slow down WordPress sites to avoid.

Security

Security plugins usually impact website performance negatively. They guzzle up CPU resources(RAM) and cause server stressful loads.

Here are the slow plugins for security to steer clear of.

  • All in One WP Security

PHP memory impact(file size): 170 kb

Average speed impact: 390 ms

  • ITheme Security

PHP memory impact(size): Free 1.18 MB, Pro 3.3 MB

Average speed impact: 125 ms

  • WordFence Security

PHP memory impact(size): 4.24 MB

Average speed impact: 118 ms

  • Jetpack 

The speed impact is insignificant but the file size is a little big for free but huge for premium(only an issue if you have a lot of plugins with big file sizes).

Jetpack is not as bad as it used to be. The plugin speed used to be horrible but they improved it over the past years.

PHP memory impact(size): 1.1 MB free, 7+ MB  premium

Average speed impact: 10 ms( free version)

Faster Alternatives

If the above security plugin's free options are that bloated, imagine how bad the premium options are.

Here are the alternative plugins and tools to use.

  1. Strong password. The best security is to create a strong password and avoid these password mistakes. Create an over 12-character password with a mixture of lower and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols. 
  2. Block Bad Queries(BBQ). Super simple and fast(only 9 kb file size) plugin that stops hackers from injecting all kinds of nasty stuff into WordPress and redirecting user requests from your site to theirs. Just activate and it works( no setting required).
  3. Limit Login Attempts Reloaded. Lightweight(20 ms load impact and just 100 kb in size) plugin to prevent & stop brute force attacks.
  4. Use a fully managed WordPress host with premium security. Most hosts have basic security( this is why most people need security plugins) in place while hosts like WPENGINE that specialize only in WordPress sites have premium server securities in place, will remove viruses from their client's website when hacked, they enable strong password on all WP site, etc.
  5. Jetpack alternative. For ADDONS ToolBelt( just 7 kb file size and 80 ms) is 100 times better. A well coded plugin that does almost the same things Jetpack does without the speed liability.

SEO

  • Yoast SEO

PHP memory impact(size): 1.7 MB

Average speed impact: 180 ms

The premium version is more bloated and slower.

  • All in One SEO

PHP memory impact(size): 2.4 MB

Average speed impact: 810 ms, yikes!

If the free version is this bloated and slow then the premium is even worse( premium plugins and theme are more bloated than their free version).

Faster Alternatives

For WP SEO you don't need bloated and all in one feature plugins.

1. Focus on writing content that is well written and properly optimized with the right 

  • title
  • headings
  • users intent phrases and keywords
  • front loading
  • proper bolding
  • synonym
  • etc,

WordPress already has your pages and posts H1 as your Title ( your page title is the H1 tag on most modern WordPress themes) so Google can read that without the need for a plugin that slows down your pages.

Also, the XML sitemap is now part of WordPress core which is automatically enabled.

2. Enable custom field in WordPress backend for the basics like meta description, title tag, etc.

Add the following to your functions.php file to enable Custom Field for Meta Description for your homepage, pages, and posts.

/*Display custom meta description or the post excerpt*/
function add_custom_meta_des(){

#Home, Single Page and Post Meta Description
if( is_single() || is_page() ){
	$des = get_post_meta( get_the_id(), 'description', true);
	if( ! empty( $des )  ){
		$meta_des = esc_html($des);
		echo '<meta name="description" content="' . $meta_des . '" />';
	}
}}	
add_action( 'wp_head', 'add_custom_meta_des', 1 );

You can use the Code Snippet plugin to add the above and below codes.

/*Redirect author archive pages to homepage*/

function obc_author_page_redirect() {
    if ( is_author() ) {
        wp_redirect( home_url() );
    }
}
add_action( 'template_redirect', 'obc_author_page_redirect' );

The above code will redirect your author archives to the homepage.

3. Find small file-sized and single-coded plugins to duplicate some of the features of the popular SEO plugins

Attachment Pages Redirect(super fast and light - 1 kb file size & 40 ms) - redirects images to their original post to avoid duplicate image URLs that will affect your WordPress search engine ranking performance. It

Important: On the plugin directory, it says not updated for a while, don't stress about that it still works. Those signs you see doesn't mean a WordPress plugin is bad. Secondly, most single and simple coded plugins doesn't need to be updated as they are evergreen.

Avoid bloated and slower loading plugins by doing and using the above SEO tricks.

Cache 

  • WP Rocket

PHP memory impact(file size): 2.4

Average speed impact: 124 ms

  • WP Optimize

PHP memory impact(file size): 526 KB

Average speed impact: 70 ms

Faster Alternatives

  • Use service-based caching(most modern web hosts have some basic server-based caching but if you need hosts that use premium server-based cache without the need for caching plugins consider WPENGINE & Kinsta).
  • Simple Cache plugin (super lightweight just 34 kb file size)
  • WP Super Cache plugin
  • Consider CDNs like Cloudflare Edge Cache

Page Builders

  • Elementor

PHP memory impact(file size): 1.7 MB

Average speed impact: 80 ms

Bloated free version but the premium is worse at over 5 MB file size.

  • Gutenberg Editor Plugin

PHP memory impact(file size): 568 KB

Average speed impact: 170 ms

Faster Alternatives

Most page builder plugins reduce WordPress loading speed, especially, the premium version and add-ons.

  1. Use the default Twenty Twenty themes with Gutenberg block editors built into the core
  2. GeneratePress theme free version(pro is bloated)

Forms

  • Contact Form by WPForms

PHP memory impact(size): 1.3 MB

Average speed impact: 60 ms

Faster Alternatives

  • Find faster contact form plugins
  • Isolate the plugin scripts to only load on the contact form page
  • List an actual email and link it so it will open to email
  • Contact Form 7 is better now( but use selective activation to only load on the contact form page)

Ecommerce

  • Woocommerce 

PHP memory impact(size): 6.3 MB

Average speed impact: 230 ms

Faster Alternatives

Most e-commerce plugins will be slow and most people need to use them.

  • Managed Ecommerce hosting is the best choice. Here is the truth, having a fast and specialized server focused on Woocommerce & eCommerce is really the best option when it comes to speeding up an eCommerce store. This is because Woocommerce and other e-commerce store plugins require special care to avoid a lot of cart abandonment. One wrong misstep and you will lose thousands and millions. So avoid cheap shared servers and get on fully managed E-commerce hosting with WPengine(recommend) or Kinsta.
  • Disable carts fragment script. Use this lightweight plugin to do that Disable Cartfragments By OptiMocha ( 16 kb file size loads impact is only 20 ms, no setting - install and it works, can I get an amen?). From the plugin's page, "With our plugin, you have the best of both worlds: You keep using the caching plugin and you still get to update the cart totals when the cart is not empty. This check is made via WooCommerce cart cookies, so it still employs JavaScript but doesn’t rely on slow AJAX requests. The check is made instantly, whether you’re using a caching plugin or not. How cool is that?"

Here is the hard cold truth, having a fast and specialized server focused on Woocommerce & eCommerce stores is really the best option when it comes to speeding up an eCommerce store WordPress website...

So avoid cheap shared servers and get on a fully managed and specialized E-commerce hosting with WPengine(recommend first) or Kinsta.

Translation

  • WPML

This is another plugin that loads on all WordPress pages and hammers the server because of too many scripts.

PHP memory impact(size): 1.29 MB

Average speed impact: 110 ms

Faster Alternatives

  • Use multisite install
  • Polyang ( the Free version on the WP plugin repository is sufficient for most sites)
  • MultilingualPress ( the FREE version has zero KB )

Maps

  • WP Go Maps (formerly WP Google Maps)

PHP memory impact(size): 3.5 MB

Average speed impact: 110 ms

Faster Alternatives

The best alternative to not using Google Map WordPress plugins that's slow is to do the below in the order listed:

  • go to Google Maps
  • use the Google map tools to build your map
  • do a screenshot of the map image
  • optimize the image(reduce pixel and resize)
  • upload it to your contact page or any page where you want it
  • make the image clickable by adding the URL of your map when you built your map with the Google Maps tool

This is the best alternative to installing a plugin or using the Google embed from the Google Maps tool.

Analytics

  • Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights

PHP memory impact(size): 409 kb

Average speed impact: 114 ms

Alternatives

  • Use Google Search Console

Other Plugins

AMP

  • PHP memory impact(size): 800+ kb
  • Average speed impact: over 400 ms

Consumes a lot of CPU resources. No need for this since WordPress is mobile responsive

Frequent asked qestions(FAQs):

Q: What do I do if I must use bloated & slow plugins?

If you must use a slow WordPress plugin, make sure to do selective activation.

A: Selective Activation

Selective activation is when you disable a plugin from loading on certain pages where it is not needed.  Contact form, slider, comment, etc, plugins are good candidates for selective activation.

Use the following plugins to disable scripts and plugins from loading on all your WordPress site pages.

  • Plugin Load Filter
  • Plugin Logic

A: Specialized & fully managed WordPress hosting

Another option if you must use certain slow plugins is to be on a server that is strong and optimized for WordPress sites.

WPengine and Kinsta are the two top companies that only host WordPress sites.

Because they are specialized and use premium cloud hosting, they have custom servers and other things built-in their hosting platform no need to use slow security and cache plugins.

Secondly, if you have to use bloated plugins, your WordPress website won't feel the impact much when on a strong and fast server compared to a cheap shared one.

Doing the above options will help you steer clear of lagging plugins that are bad for performance.

Q: How do I find WordPress slow plugins?

Below are some of the strategies we use to find the laghing plugins to avoid.

A: Testing tools

To find plugins that are bloated and impact WordPress performance negatively we use one or a combination of these tools:

  • Plugintests.com 
  • Query Monitor plugin( please remove after use. It lessens WordPress speed)

A: What to look for

When determining if a WordPress plugin is slow or fast, look at the file size( impacts PHP memory) and impact on site page loading time.

The big plugin file size isn't everything, but there is a correlation between that and plugins slowing down your site.

Some plugins might have a big file size but because they don't load on all your site pages, the negative impact on performance is zero to little.

Also, If you have an optimized site that is fast and on a fast WordPress host(WPENGINE - only host WP sites), you can get away with one or two plugins with big file sizes.

For us, we mostly use WordPress plugins with file sizes under 100 kb. On rare occasions, we use ones between 109 kb to 500 kb.

CPU

CPU is something to watch for too because some plugins might show small file size and minimal speed impact but hammer the server RAM.

An example is the ITheme security plugin(It is known to consume a lot of server resources, especially, if your WordPress site is hosted on a cheap shared server).

Have comment or question about WordPress plugins that slow down your site? Reach out to us and we will do our best to assist you.