2016-05-23 #wordpress

One Plugin Vs Lots Of Smaller Plugins

Yesterday I asked this question on Twitter and was quite interesting to see the response to the question so I wanted to post it on here and open the discussion up to more people (other than those on Twitter) and see what people think. In the past of WordPress we see lots of articles about if you want to speed up WordPress then you need to reduce the amount of plugins that you have. If you know WordPress and how the development works you'll know that it doesn't make a difference to the amount of plugins you have installed but what the plugin does. There are 1000s of WordPress plugins on some of them are huge plugins doing lots of different things and others are tiny which do a specific job. An example of this question I'm going to use one of the most popular WordPress plugins is Yoast SEO, it's a great plugin and does everything you need to control SEO on your website. You can change the title format, social network tags, XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs, RSS settings and many more. There are other plugins on that break up this code a bit by offering just XML sitemaps or a plugin just for breadcrumbs. My question on Twitter is would you prefer to use a single large plugin like Yoast SEO or would you prefer to use lots of smaller plugins that do a specific job? The smaller plugins would break up the parts of Yoast SEO and have a specific plugin for changing the title tag formats, another plugin for changing your social networks, another plugin to create your XML sitemaps etc. Please comment below with your thoughts on this?

What would you rather install, one big plugin that does everything or lots of little plugins that do a specific job?

— Paulund (@paulund) May 22, 2016


From the answers on this currently 78% of people have voted that they would prefer to have multiple smaller plugins that do a specific job.

Multiple Smaller Plugins

One of the replies from @jennybeaumont, said that you never need to use everything. Therefore most of the time you don't use all the features on a bigger plugin so you can just get plugins that do the job that you need. > @paulund the latter. You never need everything.

— Jenny Beaumont (@jennybeaumont) May 22, 2016

This seems to be a shared view by @ajaydsouza, where he thinks you can get exactly what you want by more specialised plugins. > @paulund the latter. I am not convinced one big one could give you all that you need vs many specialized ones

— Ajay D'Souza (@ajaydsouza) May 22, 2016

Depends On The Job

@ChrisWiegman had an interesting reply saying that it depends on the objective of the plugin. For things like security he would prefer multiple smaller specific plugins whereas for SEO he would prefer one bigger plugin like Yoast. > @paulund depends. If it’s an area I know well, like security, I keep the plugins minimal.

For others, like seo, 1 big plugin does well

— Chris Wiegman (@ChrisWiegman) May 22, 2016

This was interesting so I was thinking, what about for something like customising the comments area of WordPress? Looking on the Yoast website again they had previous plugins that were smaller, more specific plugins like:

It seems like they have already had a think about the one plugin vs multiple smaller plugins idea and opted to move the above plugins into one bigger plugin as these are now deprecated and replaced with the comments hacks plugin.

Modular Plugin

@David Wang suggested an approach like Jetpack where the plugin is broken down into different modules that you turn on and then have access to that feature. Which is along the lines of having one big plugin but able to hide some of the features the plugin can do. > @paulund one big plugin with modules you can turn on and off.

Like, err.. Jetpack, with fewer modules

— David Wang (@blogjunkie) May 22, 2016

I like this idea but if you're only using a couple of the modules there could be over 50% of the code that you're not using which adds extra bloat to your codebase.

Premium plugins

Andy Wilkerson brought up an interesting point about premium plugins. It sounds like normally he would prefer to have multiple smaller plugins that do a specific job but with premium plugins it's easier to have one bigger plugin. He mentioned about keeping up with licence codes and renewals can be a chore when you have multiple plugins, therefore it's easier to just have one. > @paulund Sometimes keeping up with lots of licenses and renewals is a chore. I might opt for a single product depending on price & quantity.

— Andy Wilkerson (@AndyInTheWild) May 22, 2016

With the majority of people opting for multiple smaller plugins with the exception of premium plugins it would be interesting to know what more people think so please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


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