34 best WooCommerce plugins for your store, 26 best WooCommerce plugins to boost sales, 32 essential WooCommerce plugins to pull more profit… and so many more blog posts telling you which plugins you should install on your store – no matter what you sell or what your specifics are.
Here’s the thing: the more plugins you install, the slower your store will load, making your conversions harder and therefore decreasing your profit.
All of those “profit-pulling plugins” will often just pull down your page speed.
There are no must-have plugins for all stores
Every WooCommerce store is different. You might be selling bookings, subscriptions, or digital products to the US, Europe, Asia, or Africa, and your requirements will significantly differ from someone else.
The only plugins you should, or must, install are entirely dependant on what your store is selling, how, and where.
Do not install a plugin just because someone on the internet says it will make your store better. It is up to you, and you should critically think about every single plugin you install on your store because it can have a performance and maintenance impact.
Page speed is the priority for your online store
I probably don’t need to tell you about a million different studies that say that page load is directly correlated to higher conversions. But people seem to forget that the easiest way to fast page load, especially on WordPress, is through simplicity.
The majority of our new users migrate to WooCart to improve their store performance. In a lot of cases, the really slow stores have more than 50 plugins.
There is a direct correlation between having a lot of plugins and having poor store performance. Have we seen fast stores with 50 plugins? Yes, one for every fifty others that were incredibly slow and required massive server resources just to load. And they usually had a full-time developer working on the store and regularly troubleshooting issues. That’s why the first tip we wrote in Speed up WooCommerce is to install only the necessary plugins.
If you’re starting, limit yourself to 20 plugins. If your store is already running, but you don’t have a developer to help you fix performance and maintenance issues, try to lower the number of plugins. What’s a reasonable limit? We see successful mid-size stores that don’t require massive server resources usually have 30-35 plugins. A lower amount of plugins will result in better performance and fewer conflict issues.
If you want to be diligent about installing plugins, speed test your store before and after plugin installation. Use GT Metrix, run tests on the homepage, shop page, and product page twice. Then, install and activate the plugin, clear all cache, and repeat the process. If there is no significant difference, keep it, but if it slows the store down for more than 10-15%, find an alternative and think if the feature is really critical to your store.
If there is one thing to take away from this post, it’s that every plugin you install on your WooCommerce store has an impact on maintenance and performance. The more plugins you have, the higher this impact is. There are exceptions, yes, but they are few and far between and usually have a developer on board to tame all of the issues. If that’s not you, then you should be very strict on what are your must-have plugins.