I’ve gone to great lengths to make this site as light-weight as possible. Part of this process has included removing all the plugins I don’t need. From Jetpack to forms plugins and so many others if they added weight to the site they’re probably gone. That said, I can’t remove everything.
While I’ve become something of a WordPress cynic over the years it is still in plugins where WordPress’ power lies. I think it would be dishonest, at best, to say a site should run without any plugins at all. I’ve seen many sites try but they always leave a lot to be desired.
Today I still have 10 plugins on this site for a range of functions from minimizing images to optimizing code and providing some privacy and security functions. Each of them I currently consider “essential” and with few exceptions each would be included in any new site I was to build. Here’s what they are:
- Content Security Policy Manager
- Disable Topics API
- EWWW Image Optimizer
- Favicon by RealFaviconGenerator
- Pods – Custom Content Types and Fields
- RSS Featured Image
- Syntax-highlighting Code Block (with Server-side Rendering)
- WP Engine Smart Plugin Manager
- Yoast SEO
Of the list Yoast SEO and Pods have been in my toolbox the longest. I’ve used Yoast since probably my first WordPress site and Pods off and on on every site that’s needed it going back 10 years or so.
Most of the rest are simply optimizing my site for safety and performance and all have done a wonderful job in that area.
The thing with WordPress plugins is it doesn’t matter how many you have if what you have serves a real purpose and is well coded. Once small plugin that was badly written can do more damage to a site than 1,000 well-written plugins of any length. The ones I’ve added above fulfill that view well. For the most part each provides a feature I could do myself. Why don’t I? Because each of them saves me the work and does so efficiently while also making sure that, as the web changes, so does my site with it.