If you are new to WordPress, you are probably asking yourself, “ What are plugins in WordPress? “. This is a fairly common question because, in addition to introducing one of many new terms into your vocabulary, plugins are also an important building block of every single WordPress site.
In this article, we’ll answer your question, and then we’ll give you some tips on where and how you can find WordPress plugins and how to manage them on your site.
What are WordPress plugins?
WordPress plugins are essentially a piece of code that ” connects ” to your WordPress site . In human terms, this means that a WordPress plugin is something that adds new functionality to your WordPress site or enhances existing functionality on your site.
One of the benefits of WordPress is that enterprising developers have written tens of thousands of WordPress plugins that you can add to your site for free, although of course there are premium WordPress plugins that add incredible features to your site, but not about this.
Plugins can do everything from small changes to large-scale changes to your site. For example, some plugins can even turn your WordPress site into a fully functional online store , social network, or forum.
They can also add small features like a simple ” Instagram ” gallery output block .
How do plugins work?
You will learn all this in more detail below. But generally, to start using plugins on your WordPress site, you need to:
- Find the plugin you are interested in in the WordPress repository.
- Install this plugin on your WordPress site and activate it.
- Configure the plugin using your WordPress admin panel.
Can you use WordPress plugins on WordPress.com?
For most users, the answer is no . You cannot use WordPress plugins on WordPress.com. Plugins are something that only users who are using WordPress self-hosted through WordPress.org can take advantage of.
Read our post for a more in-depth comparison between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Finding new and managing active WordPress plugins
Now that you can already answer the question of what plugins are in WordPress, let’s move on to where you can find plugins for your WordPress site and how to add them.
How to install WordPress plugins
There are several different ways to install WordPress plugins. For complete instructions, we recommend reading our dedicated post on how to install plugins on WordPress .
In most cases, you can install WordPress plugins directly from your WordPress dashboard.
Where to find WordPress plugins
There are different ways to find plugins for WordPress depending on whether you want free or premium plugins.
With free plugins, you can install and use the plugin without paying a dime, although sometimes some functions are blocked if you don’t pay the developers for the so-called ” Pro version “.
On the other hand, premium plugins obviously cost money, but often offer better features as a result.
Here are some of the places to look for plugins:
- WordPress.org is the official WordPress plugin directory and one of the best places to find free WordPress plugins.
- Geek codelab is a large directory of exclusively premium WordPress plugins.
- Third-party developers – many developers sell plugins only through their sites, so use Google or I The index – a good way to search for plug-ins.
You can also search for plugins in the official plugin directory (repository) on WordPress.org directly from your site by going to Plugins → Add New .
Things to consider before installing plugins on your WordPress site
Since installing a WordPress plugin entails adding third-party code to your site, you should be extremely careful about which plugins you install.
Here’s what a ” wrong ” plugin can do:
- Cause errors on your site.
- Inadvertently opening a vulnerability that will compromise the security of your WordPress site .
- Slow down your site.
- Intentionally injecting malicious code.
In order to avoid these problems:
- Try to use plugins from reputable developers and trusted places like WordPress.org or Geekcodelab.
- Read the reviews and check how popular the plugin is before installing it.
- Check when the plugin was last updated to make sure it is still supported.
While this approach is not 100% reliable, it ensures that you only install quality WordPress plugins.
How to update plugins in WordPress
Updating all of your plugins is important to keep your site up and running.
As with installing WordPress plugins, you can update them directly from the admin panel of your WordPress site.
It is also possible to update your plugins automatically, although it is often better to update the plugins manually in order to have more control over the update process.
How to deactivate plugins
The process is simple and can be done entirely from your admin panel. To deactivate plugins, go from your admin panel to the ” Plugins ” section . You will see a list of all your installed plugins and each of them will have a ” Deactivate ” button . By clicking on it, the plugin will stop working, but it will still be stored on your site, later you can completely delete it or reactivate it.
Can you keep multiple WordPress plugins active at the same time?
As you get to know WordPress, you’ll probably see people telling you not to install too many WordPress plugins to avoid ” slowing down your site .”
The idea is that the more plugins the slower the site is – technically not correct , but it’s still a useful concept for beginners.
You see, what’s more important than just the number of WordPress plugins is what each plugin does and how well designed it is.
But as a beginner, you probably don’t have the programming knowledge to appreciate the impact of each individual plugin .
For this reason, it is still recommended that you only install the plugins that you really need. That is, it’s not easy to install the plugin on a whim because you think it looks cool.
We hope that after reading this article, you understand what plugins are in WordPress and how they work!