What is a WordPress plugin?

Anyone who is involved in creating a WordPress website cannot avoid one or the other plug-in. But what exactly is that, a plug-in? What can you do with it? And which plug-in is suitable for which purpose?

Plugin meaning

The term is derived from the English verb “to plug in”, which means something like “plug in” or “connect”. So a plugin is something that is docked onto something else. Namely a small program or program package that can be integrated into WordPress as a higher-level system. For what reason? To expand your own website with functions that are not available in the basic version or in the selected theme.

More than 50,000 plug-ins leave nothing to be desired

There are hardly any limits to your imagination, more than 50,000 plugins are now available for download on WordPress.org alone.

List of plugins at WordPress.org

Whether it’s about connecting to social networks, effective data protection, reduced spam, up-to-date weather information or spectacular sliders – everything is possible. Expansion of site navigation? No problem. Integration of an online shop? Let’s go. Increase in loading speed? Departure. Yes, there is even a plug-in that makes it snow on your own website.

As few as possible, as many as necessary

Despite the wide range of plug-ins, the motto always applies: as few as possible, as many as necessary. Because installing too many plug-ins makes the website slow – and neither the visitors nor the search engines like that. There are also numerous free plug-ins circulating on the web that contain malicious code. So if you stumble across attractive function extensions for free outside of WordPress.org, you should exercise caution.

Premium plugins offer some advantages

However, there are also plug-ins that cost something – because the programmer has put a lot of time into the development, for example, and is trying to get something for it. Such plug-ins have a number of advantages: They are usually continuously developed and therefore cause fewer problems over time. In addition, the developers of premium plug-ins often offer support for their users.WordPress plugins at Codecanyon.org

WordPress plugins at Codecanyon.org*

Find and install plugins

If you don’t want to spend any money or want to get an overview first, you can do this via WordPress.org or the WordPress backend. There, in the sidebar, there is a menu item called “Plugins”, which initially shows which plug-ins have already been installed. If the sub-item “Install” is selected, you get to a user interface where you can search for plug-ins, which can be uploaded or filtered according to various leaderboards such as “Recommended”, “Popular” or “Newest”.

Install plugins within WordPressInstall plugins within WordPress

Always keep plug-ins up to date

In any case, it is important to always update the installed plug-ins. If you act carelessly here, you take security risks. Because there is usually a good reason for an update – such as fixing a bug, adding groundbreaking functionalities or adapting to a new version of WordPress. If a plug-in comes from the official WordPress directory, you will be informed about available updates in the administration area. If it doesn’t, it’s worth checking the provider’s website regularly.
Have fun pimping the website!

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