Selective activation of plugins for improved speed.

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Loading plugins redundantly and globally decreases the speed of your pages. It’s best to deactivate heavy plugins on pages where they’re not needed. JavaScript, CSS files, and SQL queries are then reduced during page load.

A popular WordPress form plugin is installed on over 1 million WordPress websites. The favored culprit is Contact Form 7. It adds 37k page weight to all pages on your website. Even when the plugin is only used on one page – such as your contact page – the plugin “globally” slows down all pages. This “global” activation is even more problematic for heavier plugins like Google Maps or social media controls.

Other form plugins are lighter and faster. But substitution isn’t the solution or our main concern. What if we absolutely needed to use Contact Form 7 plugin because there is a special addon plugin that gives us more extended utility (And, there are addons!) How can you prevent global loading?

We fix it with a plugin that restricts a “heavy” plugin to just the pages where it’s needed. Plugin Logic (15k compressed download file) or Plugin Organizer (295.1k compressed download) both let you deactivate or activate plugins on a page-by-page basis.

With these plugins, you can selectively disable plugins by any post type or WordPress-managed URL. But if you’ve read our recommendations about plugins and themes, you know we usually choose the lightest plugin when possible. Smaller file size usually equates with efficiency, which means it will probably load and work faster.

Of the two plugins, Plugin Logic (only 80+ active installs) is the simpler and easier to use. It hasn’t been downloaded much yet compared to Plugin Organizer (10,000+ installs). Using the Plugin Organizer is more complicated because it let’s you change the plugin load order. Changing the load order can help prevent plugin conflicts, which is a nice bonus feature if you need it – but we don’t, so we’ll stick with Plugin Logic.

Video Tutorials for Plugin Organizer (The fact people have created video tutorials indicates the plugin setup is complicated.):

WordPress “Plugin Organizer” tutorial – Nov. 2015

Plugin Organizer Tutorial for Speeding Up WordPress Blog

How to Use Plugin Organizer WordPress Plugin to Fix Conflicting WordPress Plugins

Other Uses

While our main focus is page-speed improvements, here’s another example of how plugin deselection can help:

We’re using the WP Image Borders plugin (266k compressed download) on a client’s website. It makes it easy to add image borders to pictures on pages or posts – but activation is global. The plugin adds borders to images on all pages.

But we don’t want borders around every image – as in the case of these circular buttons show here – the border ruins the look. So we deselect the border plugin for just that page. Problem solved.

BEFORE: With light-blue border, edges show up as squares.
AFTER: The blue line is removed because the border plugin is deselected for only that page.

PagePipe helps you balance performance and mobile branding.

What others think of us:


"Steve advised me on a few simple changes to my site that only took a matter of minutes and my site went from a sluggish 4+ seconds to under 2 seconds flat. I highly recommend consulting with Steve to improve your website speed and save money at the same time." drhedberg.com North Carolina, USA

by - Dr. Nikolas Hedberg