Every plugin you use requires some amount of processing power, so using too many of them could cause your site to load slowly. That’s a problem, because site speed is crucial to maintaining a successful website. Almost half of users will abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load.
Fortunately, there’s a way to reduce your page loading times without sacrificing the number of plugins you use. You can disable plugins from running on certain pages, so that they’ll only load when necessary. This way, you can reap the benefits of using powerful WordPress plugins to increase your site’s functionality, while also optimizing your pages’ speed.
This post will show you how to use Plugin Organizer to disable plugins for specific pages. Let’s get started!
WordPress Plugin Organizer
As we mentioned, you can disable plugins from loading on certain pages by using Plugin Organizer:
This is a free, open-source plugin that comes with a wide range of features. It enables you to:
- Activate or deactivate plugins for certain URLs
- Activate or deactivate plugins for specific user roles
- Enable plugins on particular post types only
- Change the load hierarchy for plugins
- Only load plugins when they are needed
It’s a best practice to remove any plugins that you’re not using from your site entirely. However, if there are some plugins that you need only for specific tasks, you can use Plugin Organizer to ensure that they only load when needed. For example, if you use an affiliate plugin, you can choose to enable it only for logged-in members with an affiliate user role.
How to Use WordPress Plugin Organizer to Manage Active Plugins
The best thing about Plugin Organizer is that it’s easy to set up and start using. Let’s walk through how the process works, from start to finish.
Step 1: Back Up Your Site
Plugin Organizer is a powerful tool, which can change how plugins interact with your website. This has the potential to break parts of your site if you’re not careful. Therefore, we recommend performing a full backup of your site before using this plugin.
Step 2: Download the Plugin Organizer
Once your backup is in place, you’re ready to install Plugin Organizer. You can do this through WordPress by visiting Plugins > Add New in your admin dashboard, searching for the plugin, and selecting Install Now:
When that’s finished, hit Activate. Then, the plugin will be ready to go.
Step 3: Configure the Plugin Organizer Settings
After setting up the plugin, navigate to Plugin Organizer > Settings. This opens up the settings menu, where you’ll be able to configure some key options for your site:
You’ll want to go through the choices under General Settings, and configure them to match your specific needs. Let’s go through what each of these options does:
- Fuzzy URL Matching. When this setting is on, plugins will load on child pages in your site.
- Ignore URL Protocol. It’s recommended to keep this function turned off. It tells the plugin to ignore the HTTP/HTTPS redirect if you have one.
- Ignore URL Arguments. This instructs the plugin to ignore URLs with parameters, which refers to everything in a URL that comes after a question mark. You should keep this off unless you have a specific reason to turn it on.
- Only allow network admins to change plugin load order? If you are using a multisite WordPress network, this setting would require a network admin account to change the plugin load order. It’s recommended that you keep this setting on if you use multisite, but if not you can leave it off.
- Custom Post Type Support. If you have any custom post types, add them here to enable the Plugin Organizer on those pages.
- Auto Trailing Slash. This option removes the trailing slash on plugins, and formats them according to your site’s WordPress permalink settings.
- Selective Plugin Loading. This setting enables you to load some plugins only on certain pages, even while they’re deactivated in your plugin settings. We’ll explain how to do this in a later step.
- Selective Mobile Plugin Loading. Similarly, this option will enable you to disable certain plugins on mobile devices.
- Selective Admin Plugin Loading. This option lets you enable some plugins to load only in your site’s admin dashboard.
- Disable Plugins By Role. This lets you disable plugins for certain user roles. You can select the affected user roles in the Role Support box.
When you’re done tweaking these settings, don’t forget to save your changes to the page. Then, you can move on to the next task.
Step 4: Create a Must-Use (MU) Plugin
Next, you’ll want to check and see if the Plugin Organizer’s Must-Use (MU) plugin was installed correctly. The plugin should have created this file by default upon installation, but it fails to do so on occasion.
You can visit Plugins > Installed Plugins to see whether the installation process successfully added an MU plugin:
If it did, you should have a new tab of plugins labeled Must-Use, which includes an item called Plugin Organizer MU. If not, you will need to add one yourself. You’ll need to access your site using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client, download the PluginOrganizerMU.class.php file from /wp-content/plugins/plugin_organizer/lib, and then upload it to /wp-content/mu-plugins/.
Step 5: Configure the Global Plugin Settings
Next, you can visit Plugin Organizer > Global Plugins to choose your ‘global plugins’. These are plugins that are activated on your site, but disabled from loading on the user’s end:
For example, if you use a backup plugin like UpdraftPlus, you may not need it to load for your visitors. Drag any plugins that you want to disable by default into the Disabled Standard – All Users column, and save your changes.
Step 6: Disable Plugins for Custom Post Types
To choose which plugins will be disabled only for specific custom post types, you can go to Plugin Organizer > Post Type Plugins:
You can select the post type you’d like to edit from the drop-down menu here. Then, drag any plugins you’d like to disable for that post type into the column on the right. You can choose to disable a certain plugin for logged-in users, logged-out users, or both.
Step 7: Change Your Plugins’ Load Order
Finally, you can customize your plugins’ load order by visiting Plugin Organizer > Group and Order Plugins:
This page gives you control over what order your plugins load in. WordPress normally loads plugins in alphabetical order, but that isn’t necessarily the optimal method.
Ideally, plugins should load based on their hierarchy. For example, if you have a WooCommerce extension, it should load after the main WooCommerce plugin, as it will need to reference WooCommerce files in order to function.
You can also group plugins together, so that they load at the same time. To do that, first choose Create New Group from the drop-down menu at the top of the page, and enter a name for your group.
For instance, you may want to group together a plugin and its extensions. Select any plugins you want to add to the group, and hit Submit. Then, you can continue to customize your plugin load order as needed.
Improve Your Site’s Speed With WP Engine
Every extra plugin you use can slow down your WordPress site. However, managing your WordPress plugins carefully can help your site run faster, without sacrificing functionality. You can do that by ensuring that plugins only load when they are needed, using the free Plugin Organizer.
Here at WP Engine, we offer the best resources for developers and can help you create an incredible digital experience for your customers. Plus, WP Engine hosting is optimized for WordPress, to enable faster loading times. You can also use our Speed Test tool for insights and suggestions about how to make your site even faster!