See how your WordPress plugins slow down your website using P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)

Making your website load as fast as possible is essential if you want to have more visitors, better conversion rates and rank higher in Google searches. But how you can optimize the speed of a slow WordPress website? We are here to help in our series of speed optimization articles.

Yes, I know, it is a great thing that there is a plugin for almost everything you could wish in the WordPress Plugin Directory.  However, you should keep in mind that plugins that are improperly configured, misused or poorly developed can hurt your site and, in some cases, slow it down to a snail’s pace.

The general truth is – the more plugins that you have installed, the slower your website will be. For every plugin you have in your site, there’s more code, more database queries and more work for your server to do.

P3 Plugin Performance Profiler is one of my favorite diagnostic plugins because it shows you the impact of your WordPress plugins on page-loading time. This will help you make informed decisions whether you should optimize, replace or completely remove some of the WordPress plugins that you are using.

P3 is developed by  GoDaddy and it comes with an excellent support. By the time of this review, 18 of 18 support threads in the last two months have been resolved.

How it works

After you install the plugin and run a scan, you will see a report similar to this one:

P3 - Plugin Performance Profiler


It contains information about the amount of plugins that you have currently active, the amount of time dedicated to plugin code for each page visit, what percent of the total load time is dedicated to plugins and how many MySQL Queries are made per visit.

Does it work correctly?

Well… yes and no. It could give you an idea if you should worry about some of your plugins. But in order to be sure that these plugins are really slowing your website down, you should make several scans during at least several days.

I’ve made a table with the results from 4 different scans:

Table P3 plugin results
You can see that the results can vary a lot! However, if you make several scans and calculate the average durations, it gives you a good sense of what is happening.  I can clearly see that there is a serious problem with two of my plugins and I have to further investigate what are my options.

If you wonder why the results are so inconsistent, there are multiple external influences that can affect the consistency of P3′s reporting:

  • Other activity on your server (in the case of shared servers)
  • Server side processes
  • Traffic fluctuations
  • Plugin activity (i.e. what a plugin is doing at the time a scan takes place)

Furthermore, P3 actually “changes its environment” in order to measure it, so getting precisely accurate results is impossible. If you want to further verify whether the results are accurate, you could choose another strategy.  Just deactivate a plugin and measure the loading speed of the website with and without the plugin and you can calculate the difference. Tools like, and Pingdom Tools could help you measure the website loading speed.

I would highly recommend you to try yourself this plugin and see what results you will get. Just don’t forget to deactivate the plugin when you are not using it. This will save you some unnecessary SQL queries and it will keep your website running as fast as possible.

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