What Are WordPress Plugins? And How Do They Work?

  • January 14, 2023
  • elkenz
  • 7 min read

Learners typically ask us what WordPress plugins are and the way they work.

Plugins are an vital a part of the WordPress ecosystem, and they’re important for constructing nice web sites utilizing WordPress.

On this inexperienced persons information, we’ll clarify what are WordPress plugins and the way they work.

What Are WordPress Plugins? And How Do They Work?

What Are WordPress Plugins?

WordPress plugins are apps that can help you add new options and performance to your WordPress web site.

In different phrases, they work the identical means as apps to your smartphone.

There are round 60,000 free plugins accessible proper now on the WordPress.org plugin listing. Hundreds extra can be found from third-party web sites like Github.

New Plugins Directory Page on WordPress.org

On high of that, there are additionally hundreds of premium WordPress plugins which are bought by particular person builders and corporations like ourselves.

In 2003, WordPress began as a easy software that will help you begin a weblog. Over time, it has advanced into a robust content material administration system and software framework, thanks primarily to plugins.

What Can WordPress Plugins Do?

WordPress plugins are small software program apps that combine and run on high of the WordPress software program. This lets you create nearly any type of web site with WordPress, not simply blogs.

For instance, you possibly can:

There’s a well-liked saying within the WordPress neighborhood, “There’s a plugin for that”.

It doesn’t matter what you are attempting to do in your WordPress web site, it’s doable. If the characteristic isn’t accessible in default WordPress, then there’s actually a plugin accessible for that.

There are WordPress plugins to enhance search engine optimization, enhance efficiency, add contact types and social media buttons, create customized themes, and a lot extra.

Plugins may be small and provide only one tiny characteristic, like including a picture to the sidebar.

Or they will also be fairly giant and act as their very own platform as nicely, reminiscent of WordPress eCommerce plugins and WordPress membership plugins.

Many characteristic wealthy plugins have their very own addon plugins to increase them, similar to you’d lengthen WordPress.

How Do WordPress Plugins Work?

WordPress is written in a means in order that different builders can add their very own code to it. The WordPress plugin API gives a strong set of hooks and filters which permit builders to switch current WordPress performance or add new performance.

WordPress additionally permits builders to retailer information within the WordPress database. Plugins can make the most of WordPress content material varieties, taxonomies, and customized fields which permit customers to retailer several types of content material, not simply posts and pages.

Every WordPress plugin put in in your web site is registered in your WordPress database. You possibly can activate and deactivate them at any time you need.

Installed WordPress Plugins

Upon every go to, WordPress connects to the database, hundreds the core software program, after which hundreds your lively plugins. All this code is processed in your server after which despatched to the consumer’s browser.

How Do I Discover and Set up WordPress Plugins?

Yow will discover free WordPress plugins by visiting the WordPress.org plugin listing or you can even discover them straight out of your WordPress admin space.

Merely head over to Plugins » Add New and search by typing the plugin title or performance you need to add.

Searching for Plugins From WordPress Admin Area

WordPress will search the plugin listing and show the accessible plugins in an inventory.

It is advisable evaluate the outcomes and click on on the ‘Set up Now’ button subsequent to the plugin you need to set up.

Reviewing and Installing Plugin From Search Results

You possibly can study extra in our step-by-step newbie’s information on tips on how to set up a WordPress plugin.

Nonetheless, search outcomes contained in the WordPress admin space usually are not at all times useful as a result of they’re restricted to free plugins solely. Additionally, the variety of plugins may be overwhelming. Many inexperienced persons discover it troublesome to resolve which plugin is greatest for the job.

One other strategy is to search for plugin suggestions and tutorials on websites like WPBeginner.com. We have now a WordPress plugins part the place you’ll find the very best WordPress plugins that we have now totally examined and reviewed.

You may as well discover out which plugins we use on our personal web site within the WPBeginner’s Blueprint, and take a look at these should have plugins for enterprise web sites:

Extra FAQs About WordPress Plugins

Why can’t I see or set up plugins on my WordPress weblog?

Likely you might be utilizing WordPress.com. You possibly can solely set up WordPress plugins on self-hosted WordPress.org web sites.

See our information on the distinction between self-hosted WordPress.org vs free WordPress.com.

Is it doable to have too many plugins?

A typical false impression amongst customers is that too many plugins can decelerate their web site.

Nonetheless, it’s by no means the variety of plugins you will have put in that’s slowing down your web site. It’s at all times poorly coded plugins that degrade efficiency.

For particulars see our information on what number of WordPress plugins you must set up.

Ought to I set up plugins that haven’t been examined with my WordPress model?

The brief reply is, it is dependent upon the plugin.

Simply because a plugin creator didn’t replace their readme file doesn’t imply the plugin hasn’t been examined and gained’t work with the most recent model of WordPress.

Generally authors of free plugins don’t replace their plugin recordsdata for every new WordPress launch. They merely really feel that if the plugin nonetheless works, then they don’t must replace it.

We provide tips on whether or not to put in these plugins in our information on putting in plugins not examined together with your WordPress model.

What’s one of the simplest ways to decide on between free and paid plugins?

There are millions of free plugins and there’s a good likelihood that you’ll find a free plugin providing the identical performance as a paid plugin. If it really works nicely for you, then use it.

You possibly can study extra about selecting a free plugin in our information on how to decide on the very best WordPress plugin.

Please needless to say free plugins are provided as they’re, with no warranties, and no promise of help. Plugin authors can cease engaged on a plugin at anytime they need.

In the event you really feel you can be needing a number of help, and also you need common updates, then a paid plugin might be a better option.

For extra particulars, see our information on when it’s value shopping for premium WordPress plugins. We use a mixture of each free and paid plugins on all our web sites.

How do I get help free of charge WordPress plugins?

Free WordPress plugins are provided with out the promise of help. Nonetheless, most good plugins provide restricted free help by means of the official WordPress help boards.

Merely go to the plugin web page and click on on the help tab to put up your query.

Getting Support for Free WordPress Plugins

For extra on this matter, we suggest you check out our information on tips on how to correctly ask for WordPress help and get it.

We hope this text helped you perceive what are WordPress plugins and the way they work. You might also need to discover ways to enhance your weblog visitors, and see our record of the commonest WordPress errors and tips on how to repair them.

In the event you appreciated this text, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You may as well discover us on Twitter and Fb.