There are 60,000+ plugins for WordPress. How do you choose the best one for your website or blog? With a Chrome extension that highlights performance and problems before you install them.
WP Hive is a website with an online WordPress plugin comparison tool and a WP Hive Chrome extension that provides more information when browsing the WordPress plugins site. You can use the WP Hive site on its own or with the plugin.
Whatever you want a plugin for, there are almost always multiple plugins that can do it. For example, there are many forms plugins, many SEO plugins, many cache plugins, many image optimizer plugins and so on. It can be confusing trying to decide which one is the best for your site. Should you simply go with the plugin that is most popular? It is usually a safe choice, but it is definitely not always the best one.
WP Hive aims to show you which plugins are OK and which should be avoided. If you cannot choose between two plugins, it will allow you to compare them side by side so that you can see which is the better plugin. Let’s take a look at the Chrome extension first. It also works in Microsoft Edge too.
Use the WP Hive Chrome extension
Get the WP Hive Chrome extension, install it and then quit the browser and restart it. You shouldn’t need to, but I found it sometimes is needed to get extensions working. Now go to the WordPress.org plugins directory and open a plugin page. I doubt it has information on all 60k+ plugins, but so choose something popular rather than obscure with hardly any users.
Here is a plugin at the WordPress.org website and WP Hive has added at section on the right of the web page that shows whether there are any problems with it. You can see that there are memory and speed issues with the plugin shown, but everything else is OK.
Ideally, you would want a plugin that has green ticks for all the items on the right. However, I would not immediately dismiss a plugin that has problems and they may only be minor and may not affect your site.
The plugin above is All in One SEO, which is one of the most popular plugins. with three million users. How about Yoast, which has 5 million users and is by far the most popular WordPress plugin. Here is what WP Hive Chrome extension shows:
According to WP Hive, Yoast has memory problems too. Is there an SEO plugin that does not have problems? Here is Rank Math which has only 1 million users.
This plugin has green ticks from top to bottom, so is it the best plugin of the three? WP Hive only looks for compatibility and resource problems. It does not compare features. A simple plugin that does very little could get all green ticks, but it would not be much use if it did not have the features you need. You might have to put up with a plugin that is a little slower or uses a bit more than the minimum memory if it has essential features you need.
Compare WordPress plugins with WP Hive
In the bottom right corner of the WP Hive plugin information panel is a Compare Plugin button. This enables you to compare the plugin you are currently viewing with another one. You can click it and save a step or simply go to the WP Hive plugin comparison tool in your browser.
The Chrome extension is not necessary in order to use this plugin comparison tool. It just means the first box is filled in automatically for you. For the plugin to compare it with, just start typing the name and then click it in the suggestions list that appears below.
Click the Compare button and a report is displayed that shows important information about the two plugins. The whole report is too long to show, so here are just a few important highlights.
Among the results is this memory usage section. It is not clear what the big Average Change values at the top represent. Look below at the yellow bars and you can see that Rank Math uses less memory for each of the sample pages. There are front end and back end URLs, so you can compare the two plugins memory usage. Yoast clearly uses more memory.
Despite Yoast using more memory, the speed of the site is hardly affected at all and just 0.01 seconds is added to the front page and just 0.15 seconds on average. There is more in the report and you can read it yourself at the WP Hive website. Just compare these two plugins or maybe compare two different ones.
Here is All in One SEO compared to Rank Math. You can see that Rank Math is consistently faster. The front page of the site is 0.16 seconds slower with AIO SEO plugin. In the memory section of the report, Rank Math also uses much less memory. Compare these two plugins at the WP Hive site to see the rest of the report.
Final thoughts on WP Hive
As mentioned earlier, low RAM usage, high speed and green ticks in the WP Hive information panel mean nothing if the plugin does not have the features you need or is hard to configure and use. However, if two plugins have similar features and you cannot choose between them, comparing them with WP Hive can help you make a decision by showing which is faster or uses less memory and so on.
The comparison tool on the website does not need the Chrome extension, but the extension does make the WordPress.org site more useful by adding a plugin information panel. Don’t dismiss a plugin with red ticks because it depends on the problem. There may be very little difference between a plugin that gets a green tick and one that gets a red tick for page speed for example. Compatibility with the latest PHP version may not affect you if your web server runs an older version of PHP for example.
Use WP Hive with a bit of common sense and you will find it very useful.