WordPress Plugin Clean Up



WordPress PluginsOne of the things that makes WordPress so attractive is all the free plugins available for it. I can’t complain when it comes to a price tag of $0.

Recently I decided I should go through my list of plugins to see if I need all of them. I wanted to see if I was really getting enough use out of them to justify keeping them around.

I know when a lot of people first get started with WordPress they tend to go on a plugin hunt and installing spree. I told myself I didn’t want to be one of those people. I try to limit the number I install to 30 or less, and once I hit that number I don’t add anymore unless I can get rid of one first.

Now the thing about plugins is you might install one that uses a lot of cpu, memory, or database resources without realizing it. If that happens to be the case one plugin could be the equivalent to five or ten less resource intense plugins. So it really varies from one to the next.

If you have ever deactivated and deleted one you can check the results by simply clicking a link. Generally what you will see is a list of files and possibly folders that were removed. Pretty simple and strait forward for the most part.

The problem with a lot of WordPress plugins are they don’t do a very good job at cleaning and removing database entries they originally created when they were installed. What I mean by this is when you delete one the database entries remain. For most people this isn’t a big deal, but it does create database waste.

I decided to remove two plugins that I didn’t think were that useful.

The first one was subscribe to comments. That’s the little checkbox that you see on some blogs near the post comment form area. It basically allows someone to receive email notifications when there is a new reply to the particular blog post that they happened to comment on.

Most people would say well that’s a nice idea, and it could potentially encourage more return visits. It’s definitely possible, and I am not saying that you should get rid of it.

The thing I found while using it is some email address either don’t exist, or they were fake email addresses. When that happens the email would bounce and it was never delivered. Why anyone would subscribe if they were using a fake email address is beyond me. To me this was a waste to send out notifications that were just going to bounce anyway.

The second one I removed is called Thank Me Later. Thank Me Later sends “thank you” emails to your commenter’s at a time of your choosing. I originally thought this was another nice idea that might encourage people that had commented to return. The more I thought about it the more I decided that it could be annoying and actually discourage people from coming back.

Since this one does involve sending a notification by email, fake and non-existent email address will also cause messages to bounce and never be delivered just like the subscribe to comments plugin.

I deactivated this one a while ago, but only recently deleted it completely. One thing I noticed with this plugin in particular is it doesn’t remove entries from the database when you delete it.

I have over seven thousand entries stored in my database for this plugin alone. Each and every message that it sent was never removed afterwards. Database entries just keep piling up, which in my opinion is a huge waste.

Thank Me Later Database Waste

I was hoping that when I deleted it all those database entries would be removed, but that didn’t happen.

So now I have the fun Not So Fun job of going through my database and manually removing all the waste it created.

I am not complaining about either of these plugins. They do what they are supposed to do, and they work well. I just got tired of the bouncing email, and the annoying factor that could be associated with them.

I wish the Thank Me Later plugin would have done a better job at cleaning up after itself when I chose to delete it.

I obviously can’t test out every WordPress plugin out there, but I suspect there are quite a few of them that don’t clean up after themselves either.

About: Jeremy LeSarge - AKA: Ray (189 Posts)

I am the site owner and administrator of DialMe.com. I provide help and tips for Boonex Dolphin on the main part of this website where you will also find an assortment of other resources. Here, on the blog I write about a variety of topics surrounding WordPress, technology, social media/networking, SEO, and webmaster resources.