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Plugins Advice

The following articles are for reference only. Please note that HostGator cannot offer direct support for the information provided below.

WordPress Plugins can cause errors directly and immediately, however a bad plugin can have effects that do not instantly cause an error, but have long term effects on your CPU and resource usage causing even larger harder to fix problems.

This article will help you install programs that will actively Optimize your WordPress and identify plugins that are damaging to your site.

Install Recommended Plugins

There are a few plugins that HostGator strongly recommends that every WordPress user install. These plugins actively improve the efficiency and health of WordPress sites:
  1. Install WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. The installation of either of these plugins can be done from your WordPress Dashboard under Plugins. Follow the links below for information on how to set up these plugins:
    • WP Super Cache (recommended)
      • WP Super Cache is a simple and easy-to-manage caching plugin that is set up by default if you installed WordPress via our QuickInstall cPanel plugin.
    • W3 Total Cache
      • W3 Total Cache is a more advanced and feature-rich caching plugin. It is normally overkill and can adversely affect performance if it isn't set up correctly. If advanced caching features such as Minify or CDN integration are needed, you should use this plugin.
  2. Install a Database Optimization Plugin. Frequent updates and large databases can cause severe issues with CPU usage. The following plugin is highly rated for optimizing WordPress databases:
  3. Install Anti Spambot Plugins. Unlike caching plugins you can have multiple plugins that prevent spam bots from abusing your site with large quantities of spam and attack.
    • Askimet: It is recommended to use Akismet to automatically filter and delete spam posts on your blog which can dramatically increase your resource usage as well as inconvenience you with Spam. Please click this link to expand instructions for installing Akismet:

      This video will walk you through the steps below, demonstrating how to install and configure Akismet.

      1. Log into your WordPress Dashboard.
      2. From the menu, click Plugins, then Add New:

      3. In the search plugins textbox type Akismet and press the Enter key:

      4. Akismet should be the first plugin found, locate it and click Install Now:

      5. Once the installation is complete, click Activate Plugin:

      6. On the next screen, click Get your API key. You will be taken to Akismet's home page and prompted to create an account. Please create an account and to acquire your API key, then return to this page, enter your key in the text box, and press the button labeled Use this key:

      7. Click Save Changes on the next page to accept the default configuration:

      8. Congratulations, Akismet will now begin filtering spam and helping you have a happier site!
      • CAPTCHA: Choose and install a CAPTCHA plugin. There are many options for this that are highly rated. A good CAPTCHA plugin will help prevent the spam posts from ever getting made.

Review Your Existing Plugins

Any plugins that are not vital to your WordPress should be deleted. Please remember that any time you add additional plugins, each of these plugins can increase your resource usage. We recommend no more than 3 to 5 active plugins, not including your caching plugin.

If you're having difficulty with your site that may be caused by a plugin, you can disable all of your plugins to return your site to a functional state. At that time, you may reactivate them one at a time, and observe their impact on your site before activating the next plugin. HostGator has this helpful article which includes information for how to monitor your site's resource usage to determine if it is impacted:

In addition to checking this manually, the following plugins are known to be severely resource intensive and could cause downtime, longer page load times, or larger process counts. It is advised that you avoid the use of these plugins:

Resource-Intensive Plugins:

  • Google Sitemap
  • StatPress and other WordPress statistics software plugins
  • Unique_articles
  • WP Post Views
  • WPRobot3 and other auto-poster plugins
  • Some SEO plugins
  • Some image galleries and media players are intensive, but this largely depends on how you use them.
  • All related posts plugins such as WordPress Related Posts or YARPP
  • All Backup plugins

Plugins are developed by third parties. If you're having difficulty with a plugin, or have identified a plugin as being the source of your issue, you will need to contact the plugin developer for support.

This video will walk you through recommended methods for contacting your plugin developer for support.

For more information on how WordPress plugins could negatively affect your site, please refer to the following articles:

Resource-Friendly Plugins

The following plugins are recommended by HostGator as they provide features for WordPress that are in high demand, such as SEO functions, without harming your site: