About WordPress Plugins
A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. In the WordPress community, there is a saying that goes around: “there’s a plugin for that”. Plugins make it easy for users to add features to their website without knowing a single line of code. There are thousands available for free to download at the official WordPress plugin directory. Aside from free plugins, there are tons of amazing commercial ones available from third-party companies and developers.
As a site administrator, you can install/uninstall plugins from the admin area. You can also download and manually install them using an FTP client.
Because the vast majority of plugins are free, it is important to note that they usually do not come with tech support. For this reason it is important to be careful when choosing which ones you want to install on your site. Although there are plugins that can do virtually anything, some are much higher quality than others. In order to choose the right ones, you should ask yourself a couple questions. How long has it been since it was updated? Is it compatible with the latest version of WordPress? Are people getting answers to their support questions? What type of rating does it have?
There is a myth that WordPress plugins slow your site down. It is not true. Only the number of bad ones will slow down your site.
WordPress plugins are small software apps that integrate and run on top of the WordPress software. This allows you to create almost any kind of website with WordPress (not just blogs).
For example, you can:
- Start an online store with WordPress using the WooCommerce plugin
- Create a job board with WordPress using the Job Manager plugin
- Build a business directory with the best directory plugins for WordPress
- Start a coupon website like RetainMeNot
- Build your photography website using the Envira Gallery Plugin
- Create a Wiki website using the Knowledge base plugin
- Start your own podcast website using WordPress
- … and tons more.
No matter what you are trying to do on your WordPress site, it’s possible. If the feature is not available in default WordPress, then there is certainly a plugin available for that.
There are WordPress plugins to improve SEO, boost performance, add contact forms, social media buttons, create galleries, and so much more.
Plugins can be small and offer just one tiny little feature (like adding an image to sidebar).
Or they can also be quite large and act as their own platform as well (Example: WordPress eCommerce plugins or WordPress membership plugins).
More feature rich plugins can have their own addon plugins to extend them just like you would extend WordPress.
For much more information about WordPress plugins, one of the best places to learn is wpbeginner.com