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Do Inactive Plugins Slow Down WordPress? (No!)

do inactive plugins slow down wordpress

Are you wondering whether inactive plugins slow down WordPress?

WordPress plugins are a fantastic way to add new features and functionality to your website.

They can help you with everything from managing your SEO to creating custom contact forms, and they are a big part of what makes WordPress such a powerful and versatile platform.

However, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding the topic of inactive WordPress plugins, particularly regarding their impact on your website’s performance.

This post covers:

In this article, we will EXPLORE the most common misconceptions about inactive WordPress plugins.

We will also discuss what deactivated or inactive plugins are, whether they slow down your website, and how to deactivate or remove them safely.

We will then delve into the impact of inactive plugins on website performance and security.

In the end, I will share some best practices for plugin management and maintaining optimal website performance.

So, let’s get started!

Will Inactive Plugins Slow Down Your WordPress?

There is a persistent myth that inactive plugins will slow down your WordPress site, but this is FALSE.

Inactive plugins are not loaded or executed when your site loads, so they do not directly impact your website’s performance.

However, they can still take up SPACE on your server, and if you have many deactivated plugins, this could potentially contribute to a slower website in the long run.

Friendly tip: Don’t hoard inactive plugins.

Should You Delete Inactive Plugins In WordPress?

While inactive plugins do not directly affect your site’s performance, it is generally a GOOD idea to delete them if you are not using them. That’s what I do.

This will help keep your WordPress installation clean and organized, making it easier to manage your active plugins.

Additionally, deleting inactive plugins can help reduce potential SECURITY RISKS, which I discuss later in this article.

Remember, plugins are the most vulnerable part of your WP site.

How To Deactivate Or Remove Plugins?

Deactivating and removing plugins in WordPress is a simple process.

To deactivate a plugin, navigate to your WordPress dashboard‘s Plugins section. Now find the plugin you want to deactivate, and click the Deactivate link.

To remove a plugin, first deactivate it and then click the Delete button that appears.

This will delete the plugin files from your server and remove them from your list of installed plugins.

how to deactivate or remove wp plugins

You can also read my more extensive guide on how to disable WordPress plugins.

Will You Delete WordPress Data By Deactivating/Removing Plugins?

When you deactivate a WordPress plugin, you generally DO NOT LOSE any data associated with that plugin.

However, when you delete a plugin, you may lose some data and settings related to it.

This will depend on the specific plugin and how it is coded.

Some plugins will store their data in a way that allows it to be retained even after the plugin is deleted (in the WordPress database), while others may not.

It is always a good idea to back up your site before deleting plugins, just in case. (You can use any of these best WordPress backup plugins.)

Best Practices For Plugin Management In WordPress

To keep your WordPress site running smoothly and securely, following some best practices for plugin management is important. Some of these best practices include:

  • Only install plugins from trusted sources, such as the WordPress plugin repository or well-known developers and marketplaces.
  • Regularly update your plugins to ensure you have the latest security patches and bug fixes.
  • Delete inactive plugins you no longer need to reduce potential security risks and keep your site organized.
  • Regularly review and assess the impact of your plugins on your site’s performance, and consider alternatives if necessary.

When To Deactivate Or Delete A WordPress Plugin

You should consider deactivating or deleting a WordPress plugin if:

  • You are no longer using the plugin or its functionality on your site.
  • The plugin is causing conflicts with other plugins or your WordPress theme.
  • The plugin has not been updated in a long time and has known security vulnerabilities.
  • The plugin is negatively impacting your site’s performance.

Alternatives To Using Multiple Plugins

In some cases, you may be able to find alternatives to using multiple plugins that can help improve your site’s performance and reduce potential security risks.

Some alternatives include:

  • Using a single plugin that offers multiple features rather than multiple individual plugins.
  • Using a theme that includes built-in functionality that you need, rather than relying on plugins. (You may also be interested in reading how to choose a WordPress theme.)
  • Considering custom code or a custom-developed plugin if you have specific functionality requirements that existing plugins cannot meet.


In conclusion, the myth that inactive WordPress plugins directly impact your website’s performance is not true.

However, having too many inactive plugins can make it more challenging to manage your site and can increase the potential for security risks.

To maintain optimal website performance and security, it is essential to follow BEST practices for plugin management, including regularly updating your plugins, deleting inactive plugins that you no longer need, and assessing the impact of your plugins on your site’s performance.

Finally: Keep it simple and organized.

FAQs About Inactive WordPress Plugins

Is It Safe To Delete Inactive WordPress Plugins?

In general, it is safe to delete inactive WordPress plugins. However, it is vital to ensure that you have a site backup before deleting any plugins, just in case you need to restore any lost data or settings. Additionally, it is a good idea to test your site after deleting a plugin to ensure there are no issues or conflicts with other plugins or themes.

Is It Safe To Leave Inactive WordPress Plugins?

While inactive plugins are not executed, they can pose a security risk if not regularly updated. Vulnerabilities in inactive plugins can be exploited by attackers. It’s generally recommended to delete any plugins you do not intend to use.

Are Inactive WordPress Plugins A Security Risk?

Yes, inactive WordPress plugins can be a security risk – particularly if they have not been updated or have known security vulnerabilities. To minimize the risk, it is a good idea to delete any inactive plugins you do not plan to use in the future. There is no benefit to keeping plugins you don’t intend to use.

Is It Bad To Have Too Many Inactive Plugins In WordPress?

While having a few inactive plugins is generally not a problem, having too many can make it more difficult to manage your site and can increase the potential of getting attacked by hackers. It is a good idea to regularly review your plugins and delete any that are no longer needed.

How Can I Check If An Inactive Plugin Is Safe To Delete?

Before deleting an inactive plugin, check if it stores any critical data you might need or affects the site’s functionality in a way you’re unaware of. You can test this by creating a backup of your site, deleting the plugin, and then checking if your site operates as expected.

About Author

Ales has been in love with computers ever since he got Amiga 500 almost 30 years ago. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer science from Ljubljana University, Slovenia. In 2010 he co-founded PremiumCoding, a website that makes awesome WordPress themes that are also for sale on ThemeForest. In the past few years, he focused mainly on combining web design, code and photography into a seamless experience.