How to Find Out Which Plugins are Slowing Down Your WordPress Site

It’s easy to tell if your site has performance issues. A sluggish website is oftentimes a sign of plugins that are misconfigured or demanding a lot of resources. However, for the average WordPress user it can be difficult to diagnose the root cause of a poorly performing website.

A new free tool called P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) aims to help WordPress users to scan their own sites to find out which plugins are causing a slow performance. It measures the impact your plugins are having on your site’s load time.

How does it work?

After you install the plugin, you’ll need to go to its settings page and start the scan. The scan takes a few minutes, but it’s very thorough. During the process the scanner generates some traffic on your site and monitors your site’s performance on the server. Once the scan is finished, click “View Results” and from there you can figure out your next move, based on what you find.

Click on each of the tabs to view different charts, measuring the runtime, timelines and query numbers for your site. You can get a detailed breakdown which will help you visualize which plugins are slowing your site down the most.

The Detailed Timeline
The detailed timeline features a breakdown of how your pages are loaded, including:

  • Timing information for every plugin
  • Timing information for your theme
  • Timing information for the WordPress core

Some plugins only run on certain pages. If you want to profile a specific link on your site, you can select “Manual Scan” and then visit that link. If you want to profile the admin dashboard, click the “X” in the top right of the scan window in order to be returned to your admin area.

What to do with the results…

One cool features of this plugin is that you can email the results to yourself, your developer or hosting support team. This can be very helpful for steering your support professional in the right direction for understanding the source of your site’s performance issues. I believe that Godaddy built this in order to help their customers and support staff work together to pinpoint issues with WordPress sites more accurately.

If your site has slowed to a crawl, it’s probably a good idea to run the P3 scanner to determine if it’s one of your plugins. You can shut the offending plugin(s) down if necessary and get in touch with the developer to find a better way to configure it or perhaps select a different plugin option for your site.

P3 has an extensive help section which details possible things that could interfere with the accuracy of the scan, other possible causes of slowness besides plugins, and many other FAQs. The plugin’s glossary of terms at the end of the help section will help you to interpret the results from your scan if you don’t know what the numbers are telling you.

P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) is available for free from the WordPress plugin repository. It’s one of those tools you’ll want to bookmark for future reference. Try it out on your site today and find out how easy it is to track down the plugins that are slowing your site down.