General best practices for activating plugins?

So, I’ve been happily cranking along, adding sites to my two multi-site installations, installing plugins, and making everything work. First, I should clarify that I’m the only user for the sites (for the foreseeable future, anyway), so I’m not concerned about issues related to premium usage, etc.

Anyway, I’ve been downloading plugins and installing them on the Network interface, and in some cases, I’ve activated the plugins network wide and in others, I’ve gone to the site itself and activated plugins there.

Having gone back and looked at my sites, I now have a random mix of plugins for some sites that aren’t used, and some that are.

So, is there a good best practice for this? Should plugins on a multisite install always be activated network-wide? Should they be activated on a per-site basis instead? What’s the right rule of thumb for clean environments and good maintainability?


  • Mark Wallace
    • Learn-ing-er

    Some plugin don’t show up in sub-sites plugin page; are they can be seen ith eleft side of the dashboard. Every time i activate a plug-in on a multisite it only gives me the option to “Network Activate”. Like my chat is not in the sub-site’s plugin page, but it is in my sub-sites dashboard. Same with “Visual Form Maker” Hope this helps.

  • Mark
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    That’s a great question and I look forward to people’s replies. It probably depends in part on how many sites are on your network, your bandwidth and how much control you or your admins need.

    I don’t see why you would always network activate your plug ins – unless they are really light, they will probably sap resources. I recommend that people use something like P3 Profiler to get a better understanding of how much each plugin will slow a site down by simply being activated.

  • 3SixtyEvolve
    • New Recruit

    Hi David

    I agree that sometimes on a Multisite you want a certain theme or plugin to be only available on one of your sub-sites and the rest network activated, so it’s more of a personal requirement thing.

    Mark’s suggestion for P3 Profiler is super cool and gives great stats on how your plugins are doing. And another plugin that is quite useful is the Multisite Administration Tools. This will show you exactly where each theme or plugin is activated, whether on a specific site or network wide.

    Look forward to see what other members have to say about this.

    Have a great day!


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