Support » Plugin: Sociable » Sociable plugin can really slow down your blog. Beware!

  • I have thoroughly tested this. This plugin can cause wild swings in page load times and page load successes (i.e. errors). As interactions seem to take place on the fly with different social networks, you are held at their mercy. Sometimes, twitter is busy and that icon slows down your page, sometimes it is stumbleupon. Other times, icons not even selected in admin to load (the “more” icon specifically) end up getting requested in the page and can cause the page to not finish loading and time out. I have simultaneously, tested this on four blogs over a week’s period, and failures and weak links appear and disappear at the whim of the plugin (or the connections it makes). On average a page that loads in under 4 seconds without this plugin, will load (if it doesn’t fail and time out) in between 9 and 56 seconds with it and the following icons selected:
    Twitter, Twitter (tweet), Facebook, Facebook (like), Delicious, Google Bookmarks, Google Reader, Google email, Posterous, and StumbleUpon. In my tests only the three Google icons and Posterous never, ever caused a single page failure. The rest, over time did. Other Icons not mentioned were ruled out from my tests as I didn’t need them. THough that doesn’t mean that Google and Posterous preformed perfectly.

    I tested with other plugins (heavy), custom templates (with and without plugins) and standard wordpress with no changes.

    It was a shame as I so wanted this to work, or to find a way to make it work.

    I wish someone made a plugin that could generate all the code needed for a post when the post was saved in admin (upon creation), without any communications at runtime (when someone visits your site) with other networks, and minimal scripting and database queries at runtime as well. Lean and mean. But that is contrary to socializing I suppose. It takes time to have a 9 conversations with various parties while someone is just trying to view and read your blog page,

    A bad idea using this plugin, on my opinion. But, as I have yet to find another solution, maybe they all are poor. Beware, and keep a keen eye out (over time) if you do try it.

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Plugin Contributor sociable


    Hi kendallq,

    We have performed load tests and had good results, it is not our intention to harm our users. We have become very good comments about sociable and other comments with several recommendations. So we are evaluating how to load change the buttons because we depend on the sites hosting the buttons and other load issues.

    If you have any doubt please email us or post here. Thanks!

    [ Signature moderated. ]

    I too have issues with load times. Would be great if we could simple do something like:

    Load Images, but wait % seconds to verify external links. Or in my case it is specifically the external links that cause the slowness.

    I hope the plugin authors would listen to you on that. They obviously don’t know what a toll their plugin takes in the real world. Sure sometimes things work great but other times it damages the blogger user relationship.

    The problem is that all of the social icons are little data miners (that tacitly make money for the social media companies) and yet they don’t have the respect to keep their data centers and network operating at a sufficient grade of service to always make pages load well. There poor (greedy) performance is amplified by the number of icons you show. If several are experiencing problems your site can come to a screeching crawl!

    I recommend to all of my clients to get rid of plugins like this and opt to put locally served icons and hard links the social sites. It is a shame that the plugins don’t allow you to control this or do what you said and have a fail safe.

    Bloggers work hard and create original and valuable content and they should revolt against the social media companies that totally use them and have little regard for great gift we give them.

    They should pay you for putting those social beacons on your site. You get money when you put ads on your site so why not some compensation? Even when those beacon icons load fast they still cost you. Unless you have a sweet deal, you pay for hosting right? Bandwidth costs, server CPU time costs. Just because there is a giant remote element, doesn’t mean your server is not impacted. When you consider all the beacons on all of the pages the world over, those little beacons amount football fields full of servers paid for by bloggers all doing work to mint metric data cash for someone else.

    Well we could just vote the plugin into the Ground!

    Scroll to the bottom and click BROKEN!

    Maybe they could add the option to locally store the required JS libraries. That would get around the issues with slow response times of the external servers. The code libraries could be fetched and updated i certain intervals, such as daily, weekly etc.

    Sociable team, do you think this is an option? Thanks for the work on this plugin!

    GREAT Idea!

    Or post to public free CDN servers.

    Another alternative would be to use the social share privacy jquery plugin. It supports an initiative that has been started by a German newspaper due to privacy concerns with the share buttons which allow companies like Facebook to gather very detailed user profiles and browsing behaviour. In that implementation, only greyed out images load when the page loads (almost no negative impact on load times). If a user wants to share something, they can activate sharing with a click. Then jquery loads the required library. 2 advantages:
    – no negative load time impact if dozens of js libraries are loaded remotely during initial page load
    – protection of user privacy because the buttons can only share the user behaviour AFTER the first click of the user (which could be interpreted as positive consent by the user to allow this sharing)

    From a performance perspective I think it would make sense to add these features:
    – Configuration option to decide if JS libraries should be stored locally and how often they should get refreshed
    – If many services are used an option to ask the user if sprited images should be used to minimize the number of http requests that need to be made to display various icons
    – Configuration option if share privacy should be enabled which requires active click by the user to load the actual sharing feature


    Although Sociable has the images stored locally, so these are not HTTP requests. But the same thought process would be HUGE advance in performance.

    Ha, we definitely have good ideas, now we just need someone to implement it 😉

    Has anyone found a good social plugin that does not slow down page load speed?

    I was reading another forum and these two came recommended:
    rtsocial –

    I’m looking for a good plug in for G+1 and facebook like button however all of them seem to slow down page speed

    rtSocial looks AWESOME! Downloading it now.

    BYE, BYE Sociable! No Tears here

    I was told that flare is a good plug-in.

    Any others out there?

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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