Disable Over a Dozen WordPress Features With the No Nonsense Plugin – WP Tavern

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Justin Tadlock
One of the best things about WordPress is the hundreds of ways of turning things off. There are likely dozens of plugins for disabling various items, each with its own unique set of options. No Nonsense is no different. It is a plugin that allows users to control whether they want to use over a dozen features.
The plugin was developed by Room 34, a Minneapolis-based web development and creative consulting studio. No Nonsense is the team’s 11th free plugin available through the WordPress.org plugin directory.
The team’s plugin caught my eye because it has options for features that I routinely disable on WordPress site builds, such as emoji JavaScript, individual dashboard widgets, and the toolbar. Today’s update (version 1.2) even added an option to permanently remove the Hello Dolly plugin.
Before anyone asks — someone always asks —, the plugin does not disable the block editor. However, it does have an option for turning off the block-based widgets editor.
Room 34 released the plugin on Tuesday, so it has fewer than 10 active installs at the moment. It also does not have any reviews. I suppose this post will suffice as the first. Based on my experience and a peek at its code, the plugin looks solid.
I tested each feature and did not find any issues, so it gets a 5/5 for doing what it says on the tin. I would love to see a few more options. One example that immediately comes to mind is the the “Posts” screen. Since users can remove the “Comments” section in the admin, it makes sense to have a similar setting for posts. Both are related to blogging, and not all WordPress websites need them.
No Nonsense includes one of my favorite admin-access limitations. It can redirect logged-in users to the homepage when accessing anything other than their user profile in the WordPress admin.
Its toolbar options are all things I have lying around in my code toolbox. The plugin has settings for hiding it for users without editing access, removing the WordPress logo, and ditching the “Howdy” text.
The plugin includes options for many commonly-disabled features, but a new one that I had not thought about was the core update email. When managing sites for several family and friends, those “your site has updated to WordPress x.x.x” emails can become irritating. The plugin allows you to disable those except in cases of an error.
If someone has not already done so, I would love to see a deactivation plugin to end all deactivation plugins. It would feature a complete list of things that a site owner can turn off, disable, deactivate, remove, or whatever you want from a WordPress website.
No Nonsense looks like a good starting place, but there are always other things that I might remove from an install. I almost always give the ax to the theme and plugin editors. As well as the plugin works, there’s always just a little something more I need to get rid of, depending on the site in question. So, I am still looking for that behemoth plugin that gives me that one-click access to disable anything. For now, I can see myself deploying this on a few sites.
I use Daniele De Rosa’s WP Disable Automatic Updates plugin and turn all automatic updates off. Thus I don’t get the “your site has updated to WordPress x.x.x” e-mails.
Yes, I do keep my sites updated. I do manage A LOT of sites for friends, family and clients. I keep an excel sheet with what plugins are installed in each site so let’s say Akismet is on site 1, 3, 4, 200, 310 and 501……….I only go to those sites when I see an update on for Akismet.
You should check out MainWP.
Way better than maintaining an excel sheet.
You’ll get what you need in the free version. I’m maintaining about 30 sites with this plugin from one single entry point
I heard of MainWP and used it for a bit but at some point I decided to remove all 3rd-party connections. Privacy reasons and if clients don’t want that connection, I don’t have it.
@Marxhz – Thanks for mentioning MainWP, and I’m happy to have you with us.
@Miroslav Glavić – I work for MainWP. I think there is confusion w.r.t to privacy. MainWP is open-source & self-hosted and anyone can go through the source code to verify that we don’t keep track of anything like others.
Have a look at Dennis’ thoughts on “Protecting Your Data”
https://mainwp.com/protect-your-data/
Let me know if you have any questions.
Have you considered using a tool like Manage WP? That could help you keep an overview and update all your sites with one click.
I heard of managewp and used it for a bit but at some point I decided to remove all 3rd-party connections. Privacy reasons and if clients don’t want that connection, I don’t have it.
You really need Manage WP
Perfect! I was thinking about this type of thing again recently and wondering if there is a master list of everything that can be (relatively easily turned off) — and if there is a significant performance gain in doing so. I’d love to learn more about this.
It’s been on my list for a while to figure out just how much can be shut down to provide the most minimalistic WordPress experience possible.
Nice idea but honestly why depends on a plugin, with all the related downsides, when you can just copy and paste just few lines of code on your function.php and be much more granular?
any time you put code on a file, it can be erase with the next upgrade.
Because you might have to track down and add new lines of code with every update of WordPress. The plugin will (maybe) release an update for these cases and fix it automagically.
What is the difference between disabling block editor and turning off the block-based widgets editor?
One turns off the editor for Posts and Pages. The other removes the new block edit screen for the Widgets area, which was added about 8 months ago. If you are using a plug-in to disable Gutenberg, you may not have noticed this change.
Shameless plug: I created and maintain Unbloater for the same reason of reducing some of the bloat and unnecessary stuff. It has different options and I‘d say a different approach of what options get included, so might come in handy for some:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/unbloater/
Besides this plugin, what other options you find that is good to be turned off, can be taken off for more speed. Let’s make a list
Great Post!
This is so relevant stuff.
I never really understood why WP, especially in recent times where performance has such an impact on the web, never put something like this on core. Or, even better, why the WP installation doesn’t come completely clean and light.
And now, where the creation of websites/apps with it’s becoming less code/developer intensive, it could be even more a core strategy.
I will definitely install this in all my sites – congrats to the authors.
And a big thanks to you for discovering these gems and for testing them to the core bones – something I don’t really know how to do and always makes me anxious before installing a new plugin.
About automatic updates, they are essential, they should always be on. But they can cause damage. Why isn’t there a way, in core, to rollback to a previous stable version?
Maybe there could be a log file (last to be read on the site, to see if everything is working?) which keeps track of all installations (core + plugins) and sends a message to the admin if something is wrong and with a “click here to restore” option – it could even have different restore points according to latest installations?
Probably this isn’t possible or it’s a nightmare to develop but it sounds good.
WP-Rollback from the smart folks at Impress.org provides the rollback functionality you’re referring to, as long as the theme or plugin is from the WordPress Repository.
It doesn’t have the overall automation that you’re looking for, but as a quick way to manually roll back when unexpected update issues arise, it’s helpful and straightforward, compared to having to find and reupload previous versions.
Thanks for the suggestion!
Not sure if it’s what I was thinking but I’ll give it a try!
I suppose you have to login to WP to access it? My idea was when your site crashes with an auto-update and you can’t access the dashboard. I’m not sure if this still happens but you get the idea.
In this case, you would receive an email with a quick link warning you to restore it.
And it just came to my mind we could chose the preferable hour for auto-updates just for less impact on site downtime.
Disable anything is a good one, finished with social media and done with the net, let us start something new …
Thanks for information about this plugin, immediatley installed it on my two websites and was able to uninstall several other plugins instead as my needed functions are now all-in-one.
Disabling that core update email is kinda foolish. As is letting WP update automatically. These updates sometimes break the layout and/or functionality of websites. Best practice is to test the update on a hidden test version of the websites before rolling out the update on the live website.
All of the settings in the plugin are optional, and it only disables the emails if the update runs without an error. I have a ton of clients who are set up as admins on their sites and they are at best confused and at worst annoyed when these emails come through.
There is Freesoul Deactivate Plugin (FDP) of Jose Mortellaro.
Is a good Plugin!
It’s s great idea, I have quite a few different lines of code in functions PHP and plugins to reduce bloat from WordPress to try and squeeze extra performance from the site . Having an all in one solution is better! Will have to give it a try.
That’s an interesting one. I don’t like messing with wordpress code so I find myself needing many different plugin to disable some of these features that the plugin can help with. One plugin that does it all sounds like an interesting one. Will give it a go.
Another shameless plug: Disable remote block patterns. It’s as simple as a plugin gets. No options. Either activate or deactivate.
https://wordpress.org/plugins/disable-remote-patterns/
(No Nonsense dev here)
Thanks for the great review! I’m pretty excited about this plugin. I had never bothered to create something like this AS a plugin, because I had a custom starter theme I used for all of my clients in which I had already stuck most of this functionality. But I’ve been moving away from using that starter theme — long story — and I realized that I needed to encapsulate all of these handy features in a plugin for myself.
I’m pleased to see the positive response it’s getting, and yes I dream of this being the “deactivation plugin to end all deactivation plugins”… so please offer suggestions for new features you’d like to see! (The WordPress support forums are the best place for that. I’ll see them for sure.)
Version 1.4.0 is out now, with a bunch of new features including the ability to selectively remove a bunch of the link tags WP sticks in the head of every page.
Hi Justin,
I like how you use the plugin yourself first and give helpful reviews. This plugin will prove to be a nice pick for me.
Looking forward to more such insightful posts.
Happy Holidays.
This is one of the most useful types of software, not just for WordPress, but smarthpones and desktops as well when you don’t want bloatware. Thanks for the review.
So it’s not just me to gets annoyed with the “Howdy”! As a German speaking WP user who grew up learning British English, Howdy always makes me feel like I’m a Western movie where I should have a horse tied up outside ready to ride into the sunset …
Obviously I am in favor of removing “Howdy” altogether, but it is probably worth noting that you can change the system language (under Settings > General > Language) from the default “English (United States)”. If you switch to “English (UK)”, for instance, it says “Hi” instead of “Howdy.” And if you switch to “English (Australia)” it says “G’Day.”
I’m planning to modify No Nonsense in a future update to be i18n aware and remove the greeting term, no matter what the system language is set to, but for now, I know “Howdy” is the thing that really irritates people.
FYI, in a german WordPress also with the current No Nonsense plugin release, the term is already translated “Willkommen” in No Nonsense plugin settings but not removed from admin bar.
Simple fix, replace this line:
With this line:
Problem solved no matter what the system language is set to. And you might want to get/print the correct term from __('Howdy, %s') for plugin settings description as well.
Thanks for the suggestion… I actually just rolled out version 1.5.0 which accomplishes the same goal in a slightly different way, by stripping all text before the span tag that contains the user’s display name. (Of course, this doesn’t address languages where the greeting might come after the name, so your suggestion might be better.)
I have a feeling though that there’s a world of difference between wanting to remove the greeting in general, vs. specifically wanting to remove the word “Howdy” from the U.S. English version. 😀
Installed it and checked it out, but decided against leaving it. None of the options really jumped out as important fixes. So it just becomes another thing taking up space in my admin panel.
Hey, Justin, it would be great if you would publish your list of code snippets for disabling unwanted features in WordPress. Like a lot of others I’d rather do it this way instead of adding another plugin.
You can just copy them directly from the plugin’s functions file to your own custom plugin. The code isn’t going to be much different. The No Nonsense plugin just adds a UI.
The plugin is open source, you can see and take any functions you like from there and use them for your needs.
Publishing copy&paste snippets is not advisable as then people without any clue about what is going on will copy them to some code snippets plugin or any other place where they might not work as expected or break their site. Been there, seen that, code copied to wp-includes/functions.php and similar…
The (very low) “hurdle” of knowing how to look into plugin source code is actually a protection for clueless (not in a negative way) people.
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