The penalty for having plugins enabled on your site

I would like to install a core set of plugins that I will use in the next 6-12 months in a multisite install. The question is if I have plugins network enabled and activated but don't use the features at that time what overhead performance and server resources penalty occurs for carrying the dead weight until I want to use it?

I am making an assumption that if I install and activate the plugin at the beginning and say use 1 feature of that plugin as a place holder then when I want to really use the full features of those plugins I won't run into the problem of inserting the features after 6-12 months of activity. As an example membership 2 pro. I might offer memberships latter but not to start and just make all content available to anyone. Then in the future start adding controlled content for real memberships. There are several plugins that I will want to use but not sure when I will use them.

So is there a hit on performance etc for activating unused plugins ?

Is my assumption correct that if I think I will use it in the future go ahead and activated and that will be easier then activating it after 6 months of activity on the site?

Are there some plugins not to do this and some that it would be ok ?

thank you.

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey wpmudevorg24, Michael here! :slight_smile:

    Going through what you've said, here's my take on it:

    - Will there be a performance impact for plugins loaded (whether or not I'm using them)?

    Yes. How much of an impact there is can vary (you can use a plugin like P3 Profiler to measure the load time of plugins)

    - Should I activate plugins now to know what will work in the future?

    Practically speaking, I'd advise an alternative approach, that being to have a separate site to test new stuff.

    Nothing wrong with having a plan for future functionality to offer, but the fact is that plugin & theme code can (and does change) overtime, and if you're wanting to be sure that something's not going to take down a live site, have a testing ground to try big configuration changes in.

    That way, if something does go wrong, you've got that safety net. :slight_smile:

    - Is this really an easier way to do it?

    To answer that, let's revisit this:

    I am making an assumption that if I install and activate the plugin at the beginning and say use 1 feature of that plugin as a place holder then when I want to really use the full features of those plugins I won't run into the problem of inserting the features after 6-12 months of activity.

    That's really going to depend on the features you want. Not every feature is necessarily going to play nice with some other aspect of your site (I'm saying it's not a given, I'm not saying that it's going to be bad by default, in case you were concerned).

    In this circumstance, you're really at best knowing that the 1 feature in question works. Start throwing other things into the mix, and as they say, your mileage may vary.

    ...and if this site's real important, you don't want to give your users a bumpy ride by testing out big changes on a live site.

    Which is where my suggestion of having a separate test site come in. It can mean some more work now, yes, but in the long run (which we're talking in, given that your stated viewpoint is 6-12 months), it can really help provide ease of mind. :slight_smile:

    Kind Regards,
    Michael

  • Lee

    So what i read is only the plugins required now and clone site for testing to add the next feature addition. Got it. Same as always on any CMS. I'm new here.

    Would it be reasonable to try creating a multisite wide user then make a mulisite site for the next feature? Do the plugin related things in the subsite?

    A side question: Do most of the multisite ready plugins have two modes operation? 1 activate in the root site then use globally over all sub sites or 2 activate in each sub site.

    • Jude

      Hey @wpmudevorg24

      Would it be reasonable to try creating a multisite wide user then make a mulisite site for the next feature? Do the plugin related things in the subsite?

      Yup this will work. It may be better however to create individual sites unless there is a compelling reason to do this.

      A side question: Do most of the multisite ready plugins have two modes operation? 1 activate in the root site then use globally over all sub sites or 2 activate in each sub site.

      This is right for most well coded plugins. A few however have only network only modes.

      This is regard to your OP .. you may find this to be an interesting read.

      https://halfelf.org/2011/dont-use-wordpress-multisite/

      Cheers
      Jude

  • Lee

    Thank you. I went to the 2011 link. Seems alot of complaint was about management of the old multisite. Don't the wpmudev tools make it much easier and multisite implementations seems to have gotten smoother from wordpress perspective?? Any mutlisite reviews in 2016 / 2015?

    My idea was to start / make ALL my projects on a base multisite even if I don't use the multisite in every domain / project. I have 577 domains to deal with and some will use multisite and some will not. I thought if more things are the same the easier it is to manage.

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey wpmudevorg24,

    Don't the wpmudev tools make it much easier...

    They can. For example, our Cloner plugin can help duplicate a site on a Multisite network.

    ...and multisite implementations seems to have gotten smoother from wordpress perspective?

    Depends on the situation, and that's where we need to poke at this:

    My idea was to start / make ALL my projects on a base multisite even if I don't use the multisite in every domain / project.

    Bearing in mind that article, if you're cool with having to manage the hosting of those sites (as it sounds like you're planning to host at least some of these sites for clients), you'll want to ensure your hosting's powerful enough, given this:

    I have 577 domains to deal with and some will use multisite and some will not.

    That's not small number of sites.

    This is an article of ours that should help, in terms of finding a hosting provider that will suit your needs:

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/top-cloud-hosting-companies-for-wordpress/

    Kind Regards,
    Michael

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