How to do a Plugin Self Audit
It's spring cleaning time! And for bloggers and WordPress users, that means plugins!
Plugin audits never really feel necessary until something goes wrong with your site, but keeping a "clean house" makes it easier to maintain your site’s content over time and troubleshoot issues that may arise in the future. It's a great opportunity for you to clean up the junk that's accumulated over the past years and make some hard decisions on what really matters to your readers.
Too Many Plugins
Let's say you install 30 plugins, it will require to load 30 JS files (not all plugins requires JS files). This will drastically slow down your site. You want to try to keep your list of plugins as lean as possible. If you have more than 25-30 plugins, it's definitely time for a plugin audit.
I've seen this happen way too often- users having multiple plugins that perform the same functionality, causing a major plugin conflict on their site. Having multiple plugins trying to perform the same function can slow down your website or even worse, break your site and cause functionality issues with your theme.
Do NOT install duplicate plugins.
For example, if you already have the caching plugin W3 Total Cache installed, then don't install the Hummingbird caching plugin. If you want to try out a different cache plugin, deactivate W3 Total Cache FIRST, then install the new plugin you want to try.
Remove plugins that are not regularly updated. If a plugin hasn't been updated in over a year, it's time to remove it. Outdated or poorly maintained plugins are what every hacker is looking for: an opportunity to force entry into your site.
Keeping your Plugins Updated
Good plugins will release frequent updates. When a plugin update become available, you should update it. It's important to keep your plugins up to date so that your site stays secure.
WordPress allows you to enable automatic plugin updates now and you should take full advantage of that! Go to your Plugins page and look to the right side of each plugin. You can click to enable automatic updates for your plugins.
While turning on automatic updates for your plugins is super helpful, I recommend turning it off for bigger plugins. Waiting a day or two gives the plugin developers time to sort out any bugs and errors in the update.
How to Audit your Plugins
- From your WordPress Dashboard, go to the Plugins page
- Remove plugins that you are no longer using
- Remove any plugins that haven't been updated in a year or more (click the View Details link to open the plugin's information. You can see the last time it was updated here)
- If you have any duplicating plugins (i.e. 2 different cache plugins), you need to remove one.
- Update all plugins that need updating
- Optional: enable auto-updates for plugins