One of the biggest issues a WordPress site owner can face is getting it to load fast. A default install loads at a moderate rate however it can be speed up considerably by using various performance modules (caching, code optimisation etc). There is lies the balance, you need modules for performance and functionality, however too many modules and the risk of slowing the site down and adding potential security risks increases. By keeping the WordPress Module count down you can ensure that your site will be lean and more secure. There in lies the challenge.
Too many modules and your site can slow down
It has become increasingly apparent that Google takes your sites performance into account. As I said above you can add a cache module to speed it up. The downside of WordPress’s pluggable core is that if you have too many modules your site can slow down. Like your personal computer, if you have too much installed the sites performance can suffer as a result.
Each WordPress module has the potential to add security risks
The other side effect from having too many modules is that it increases the possibility of security flaws. While the WordPress core is reasonably secure for what it is, each WordPress module has the potential to add security risks. WordPress modules by design add additional functionality, this however can lead to potential security exploits.
Use actively maintained modules
By using actively maintained modules you are more likely to avoid possible security holes. This does however depend on keeping a sites modules up-to-date. Another metric that can be used in assessing modules is by seeing how popular they are. Modules that are popular are more likely to have had performance and security issues discovered. If there are outstanding issues that have been found but not resolved then it is best to stay away for that module.
Remove Unused Modules
Sometimes you may find another module that works better than an existing module. I’ve certainly found this with Email Form modules. I’ve also found some caching and minimising modules may work with on one theme but not another.
It is very easy to get into the case where you keep installing additional modules but forget to remove old ones. This is one habit than can cause slow and insecure sites. So it is important to ensure that you clean up after yourself. All you need to do is remove modules that aren’t being used.
Keeping the total number of modules down will be good for performance. Choosing well maintained modules will be good for your sites security and performance.