How to Reduce the Number of Installed WordPress Plugins

WordPress Plugins

The WordPress plugins expand and extend the functionality of WordPress. They can be installed and activated really easily with just a few clicks.

However, having too many installed and activated Plugins could cause different issues with your website. Depending on the Plugin functionality they could slow down the website performance, they could open a big security vulnerability of the entire website.

Here are 10 common cases when you don’t need to install and activate a Plugin, but you can apply the necessary changes with a few simple steps:

1. Adding a Favicon

The favicon (also called “favorite icon”) is a small image icon which is set in website header to be used to associate your website with that image, i.e. it is displayed in the website tab, as a bookmark image, etc.

If you are using WordPress version 4.3 or later (and you should have already updated to the latest version) you can add such image using the WordPress core functionality.

Here’s a guide by Codex how it can be set:

https://codex.wordpress.org/Creating_a_Favicon

 

2. Add a robots.txt

The robots.txt is a simple text file uploaded at the root path of your website (i.e. http://example.com/robots.txt) which is used to inform the web crawlers which parts of the website are allowed (or denied) to be indexed by them. Also, the path(s) for sitemap.xml is included in that file as well.

There are plugins which allows you to edit this file directly from the WordPress Dashboard.

Instead of using such plugin, you can access the files of your website via FTP (File Transfer Protocol). You can create the file locally on your computer and then to upload to your website using an FTP Client such as Filezilla.

 

3. Generate and Add sitemap.xml

The sitemap.xml file is an XML file which includes list URLs of all website pages. It’s used to inform the web crawlers about the websites URLs, how often their content is being updated, etc.

There are Plugins which allow you to generate such sitemap. However, using it too often could require more resource and it could affect the performance of your website.

So, instead of using a Sitemap plugin, I’d suggest:

  1. Using this online tool to generate an xml file:

https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

  1. Download the generated sitemap.xml file on your computer
  2. Upload the file to your site via FTP

If you add a new blog post or pages rarely (i.e. once per week), you can add the new file to the sitemap.xml file manually (using a text editor) and then re-upload it to your website.

 

4. Adding Google Analytics Code

Using the Google Analytics Tools you can easily track and report your website traffic. You can integrate it for your site simply by adding a code provide by the Google Analytics to your website footer.

Instead of using a plugin, you can add this file with a few steps:

  1. Access your website via FTP
  2. Navigate to /wp-content/themes/YourActiveThemeFolder
  3. Download footer.php
  4. Open the file from the previous step using a text editor
  5. Insert the code before </body> tag
  6. Save the change
  7. upload the modified file to the same path as once from step 1.

 

5. Adding Meta Tags

Sometimes, you may need to add a meta tags in your website header, i.e. if you prefer to verify your site in Google Webmaster Tools with meta tag, you will have to insert a <meta> in your website, just before the </header> tag.

The approach is similar to the adding of Google Analytics, here are all of the necessary step:

  1. Access your website via FTP
  2. Navigate to /wp-content/themes/YourActiveThemeFolder
  3. Download header.php
  4. Open the file from the previous step using a text editor
  5. Insert the code before </header> tag
  6. Save the change
  7. upload the modified file to the same path as once from step 1.

 

6. Embed Facebook Like Button

  1. Open the below page:

https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/like-button/

  1. Generate a preferred like button or box for your page
  2. Copy the generated code
  3. Open your WordPress Admin Panel
  4. Navigate to Left Menu -> Appearance -> Widgets
  5. Add a new ‘Text’ widget to the Sidebar widget area (or some other widget area of your website):
    Facebook Like Button
  6. Insert the generated code from step 3.
  7. Save changes

 

7. Changing Website Font

There are plugins which allow you to change the default website font. Alternatively, it can be done with a simple code change:

1. Open the Google Fonts website:

https://fonts.google.com/

Select a preferred font, and click on Embed tab:

Select Google Font

  1. Access your website via FTP
  2. Navigate to /wp-content/themes/YourActiveThemeFolder
  3. Download style.css
  4. Open the file from the previous step using a text editor
  5. Find the body css code, something like this:

body {

font-family: ….
}

  1. Above it, insert the @import code from step 1, i.e.

@import url(‘https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Roboto’);

  1. Inside the body tag update the font-family, i.e.

body {

font-family:’ Roboto ‘,Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif;

 

  1. Save the change
  2. upload the modified file to the same path as once from step 1.

 

8. Visual Editor Change

In some case, you may need to add a custom style or specific font size to some of the text in your post.

Instead of using a plugin for it, you can achieve this functionality by adding small CSS code. Here’s an example if you want to define a specific color and size and to apply it to multiple text parts of your posts:

  1. Access your website via FTP
  2. Navigate to /wp-content/themes/YourActiveThemeFolder
  3. Download style.css
  4. Open the file from the previous step using a text editor
  5. in the end of the file, add the following code:

.custom-text {
color:#FF0000;
font-size:20px;
}

You can update the color and font-size values with any other preferred value.

  1. Save the change
  2. upload the modified file to the same path as once from step 1.
  3. Open a post or page in the Admin Panel, then click on the ‘text’ tab:
  4. Wrap the preferred text with the following code:

<span class=”custom-text”>Your preferred text that need to have a specific color and size</span>

  1. Save the changes

You can apply step 9 to any text in Pages and Posts where you want to display the previously defined color.

 

9. Mobile View

There are plugins which allow you to transform your site into mobile-friendly layout when the site is opened via smartphone or tablet.

Instead of this approach, I’d prefer to have a fully responsive design (it looks great under different screen resolutions).

If the theme you use for your website is Not responsive, I’d suggest to consider changing of it with once which has fully responsive design.

 

10. Contact Form

The reason I include the Contact Form into the list of cases when you shouldn’t use a plugin is that many premium WordPress themes comes with predefined page templates with such form, i.e. such as the premium themes we offer at tishonator.com 🙂

Also, I’d prefer to use the contact form when it’s part of the theme, because it usually include specially defined widget areas, google map integration, etc.

Of course, if your theme doesn’t include such page template, you can install and activate a contact form plugin.

 

Conclusion

I really hope that the above article has helped you to reduce the total number of installed plugins in your WordPress website if you have decided to so.

If you have additional thoughts, you liked or disliked the post, please let us know by leaving a comment.

About the Author

Tihomir Ivanov is a WordPress web developer, founder of tishonator.com, a fan of Linux and Open Source, a gym enthusiast, a vegan, a fan of minimalism, good movies and books :)

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