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Are Inactive Plugins Harmful for WordPress? Should You Remove Them?


Recently, we have come across complains regarding inactive plugins slowing down WordPress sites and whether they should be removed. Most of the users just install plugins for testing purpose. In this post, we will discuss whether it is safe to remove deactivated plugins or do they slow down your WordPress site.

What are Inactive or Deactivated WordPress Plugins?

You can get the most of your WordPress site by using plugins. It is the beauty of WordPress. By installing the plugin, WordPress just downloads the file to the web host server. You will just have to activate the plugin to start using it. You can install plugins and activate them again. You can also deactivate it if you didn’t find it working. On the plugins page, you can see all the active and inactive plugins installed on your WordPress admin area. Inactive plugins feature a delete link under them and active plugins are featured in blue.

Also keep in mind these warning signs that your WordPress site is hacked.

Do They Slow the WordPress Down?

Deactivated or inactive plugins don’t slow the WordPress down. WordPress starts the process of loading every time a user requests page from your WordPress. It just loads active plugins that are installed on your site during the process. All the inactive plugins are ignored completely and not loaded.

Even with having lots of inactive plugins on your site, it won’t slow down the performance of your WordPress or affect it in any way.

Plugins page is the only area where WordPress searches for inactive plugins on the website. It just looks for the header file of the plugin and doesn’t load the plugin. If your site is slowing down, inactive plugins are surely not behind it.

Does It Make Sense to Remove Inactive WordPress Plugins?

You may often want to turn off the plugin for a short time. It is the reason you have an option to deactivate the plugin rather than just deleting them. If you want to use the same plugin again, and you suspect that removing the plugin will remove all of its settings, you may just deactivate the plugin. If you no longer want to use that plugin again in future, there is definitely no point in keeping it installed on your server. Otherwise, inactive plugins can cause problems at some point.

For example, WordPress will still display the updates for such plugins, no matter you keep using the plugin or not. It is little annoying, especially when you have a lot of updated plugins on your WordPress.

Inactive plugins don’t cause any harm to your site. However, they are still executable. These files can be infected or used to put malware to your website in case hackers attack your site. As a security measure, it is recommended to remove any inactive plugin that you no longer need to use again.

Along with it, you should also perform these maintenance tasks on timely basis.

Bottom Line

We hope you’ve understood whether to keep inactive plugin or not in your WordPress site. Now that you know what to do with inactive plugin, you can better secure your site than before.

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