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Many WordPress website owners tend to be wary of installing any plugin that might affect the performance of their website. After all, a slow website can negatively affect visitor experience and SEO, among other things.
Looking at the WordPress Activity Log plugin and whether it impacts performance, the short answer is that the plugin does not affect website performance. As one of the chief WP Engine engineers said after analyzing the plugin:
“The latest version performs quite admirably in the stress tests I put it through.”
To alleviate concerns and address any misconceptions, we will be taking a deep dive into the subject, including the considerations that should be at the top of your list to ensure your website not only runs smoothly but includes all of the functionality you need.
WP Activity Log only tracks logged users
Before we take a look at performance, it is essential to note that the WP Activity Log plugin only keeps a log of changes carried out by logged-in users. Therefore, when website visitors are browsing your website, none of the plugin code is executed. As such, the plugin will not have an effect or impact on the experience of your websites’ visitors.
Plugin code only executes when logged users make changes
Plugin code only runs when a user logs in and starts making changes. The more users you have logged in simultaneously, the more changes the plugin has to log. At the same time, this will result in more entries in the WordPress activity log.
Pro Tip: Like every other kind of data, logs need to be managed. An activity log data retention policy can help you avoid running out of space while ensuring that you retain the data you need. This is especially important if you need to comply with certain requirements such as GDPR.
What is the resource footprint of the activity log plugin?
Any component running on your website, be it a plugin, theme, custom code, or WordPress itself, requires resources (including memory and CPU) to run. As such, if you add an SEO plugin, it will consume some of the available resources on your server. The same applies when you install a security hardening plugin, a firewall plugin, or a theme.
Like everything else running on your website, the WP Activity Log needs resources (memory and CPU) to run.
How many resources does the WP Activity Log plugin need?
Security and performance are at the very core of the WP Activity Log plugin. The plugin is designed from the ground up to handle hefty workloads and can even supervise massive WordPress multisite networks. We also optimize the code frequently, making sure the plugin runs on the least amount of resources possible.
As a rule of thumb, the amount of resources required to run the plugin will depend on your WordPress website’s number of active users. Suppose you have ten users in total, with a maximum of two logged users at any given time. In this case, the plugin will consume minimal resources. Conversely, if you have a multisite network with hundreds or thousands of users logged in at any given time, the plugin (and all other components on the website) will require more resources to run.
How many resources does it use when compared to other plugins?
Different plugins do different operations, so every plugin requires a different amount of resources to operate. For example, a simple plugin such as Hello Dolly needs fewer resources to run than a WordPress firewall, which has to analyze every request hitting your WordPress website.
The most important criterion to consider is how efficient the plugin is. Some plugins run more efficiently than others, so they need fewer resources to complete a given task. While plugin efficiency is not something we can assess before downloading, do make sure the WordPress plugin satisfies basic requirements, including having a minimum rating of 4 stars and frequent updates.
A plugin that has been around for some time also tends to have undergone more optimizations. If a plugin has tens of thousands of installations and has been around for a few years, it has undoubtedly been optimized from time to time to run efficiently. Otherwise, WordPress owners and administrators wouldn’t have installed it on thousands of WordPress websites.
Understanding WordPress functionality and performance
The plugin vs. performance debate is endless – how many plugins should a website have? How many plugins can I install before my website starts slowing down?
There is no ideal number of plugins, and most plugins will not slow down your website. A small hobbyist website requires fewer plugins than a full-blown e-commerce solution. Rather than asking how many plugins you should install, you should instead be asking what functionality you need.
If you need your website to do A, B, and C, make sure that you have enough resources on the server so when you do A, B, and C, the website’s performance does not suffer. If it is affected, you likely do not have enough resources to run the website you need. In this case, you might want to consider upgrading the server or hosting plan rather than sacrificing functionality and security.
How to keep your website running smoothly
If you need several plugins on your website, make sure you have the adequate web server/web hosting package to run them. Do not try to run a full-blown business e-commerce WordPress website on a low spec server. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Apart from a good web hosting package, there are also other things you can do to optimize your website’s performance, including enabling caching and configuring a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Website speed optimization is a science in its own right and offers different solutions to different problems without compromising basics such as security and functionality.