What are Deactivated or Inactive Plugins in WordPress?
The best thing about WordPress is that you can extend it by using WordPress plugins. When you install a WordPress plugin, WordPress downloads the plugin file to your web hosting server.
In order to start using a plugin, you will need to activate it.
You can install plugins and activate them later. You can also deactivate a plugin that you tried but didn’t find useful. You can see all your installed plugins (both active and inactive) on the plugins page in WordPress admin area.
Active plugins are highlighted in blue and inactive plugins show a delete link below them.
Do Inactive Plugins Slowdown WordPress?
No, inactive or deactivated plugins do not slow down WordPress. To understand that, let’s see how WordPress works behind the scenes.
Each time a user requests a page from your WordPress site, WordPress starts a loading process. During this process, it only loads active plugins installed on your website. All inactive plugins are totally ignored and are not loaded or even looked at.
Even if you have dozens of inactive plugins installed on your website, it would not affect the performance of your site or make it slow.
The only place where WordPress looks for the inactive plugins on your site is the ‘Plugins’ page itself. Even then, it only looks for plugin’s header file and does not load the plugins themselves.
If your WordPress site is slow, then inactive plugins are definitely not the reason.
Should I Delete Inactive Plugins in WordPress?
The reason why WordPress allows you to deactivate plugins instead of directly deleting them is because sometimes you may just want to switch off a plugin temporarily.
If you plan to use that plugin soon, and you fear that deleting the plugin will delete its settings, then you should keep it.
Otherwise, there is really no point in keeping the inactive plugins installed on your website. In fact, they can be quite problematic at times.
For example, whether or not you are using that plugin, WordPress will still show you updates for those plugins. This can be a bit annoying particularly if you have many regularly updated plugins installed on your site.
Inactive plugins can be harmless, but they are still executable files. In case of an hacking attempt, these files can get infected or can be used to install malware on your site. As a WordPress security precaution, you should delete any inactive plugins that you do not intend to use.