When using WordPress, especially when learning the basics, it is highly likely that you will use some of the available plugins – along with incorporating their functionality in a seamless manner, WordPress also features a vast library of available plugins.
In the following paragraphs, you will read what a plugin is, what it does, how it works, and the different types of plugins there are.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
The WordPress plugins are packs of codes that incorporate or “plug-in” to WordPress and give some new custom options that you can use and benefit from. All these tools are made by developers within the WordPress community and are available at all times for all users. Plugins are used to add anything between small and vast changes to your website and it is highly likely that you might well find whatever you search for in the form of a WordPress plugin.
In fact, plugins are so prevalent that WordPress comes with some pre-installed ones when you first enter your WordPress Admin Dashboard.
Also, just like WordPress itself, plugins come in a user-friendly package that makes it easy to install, use and delete a plugin.
What Can the WordPress Plugins Do?
The big idea behind plugins is that they are created to provide you with tools that make your work with WordPress more convenient and intuitive.
Plugins can be used for numerous different tasks: some of these make it easier for you to manage your media files, others aid you with the system engine optimization, and yet others enhance the security of your website. Some plugins analyze the behavior of your website’s visitors, improve loading speed, add a payment gateway, translate, make your WordPress site private, and many, many more.
Plugins can upgrade and expand the functionality of your default WordPress instruments, or add completely new sets of tools at your disposal. For example, you can add new widgets with the aid of a plugin, or a platform for easier track of your SEO practices.
Also, similarly to the WordPress themes, finding, installing, and using plugins doesn’t require coding skills or some comprehensive programming knowledge – remember that WordPress makes it easier for all users to create and manage websites.
How Do WordPress Plugins Work?
WordPress is open-source software that allows different people to contribute to its future development. One of the ways that this is possible is by creating and sharing plugins by developers. As mentioned, the plugins are small pieces of software that connect or “plug-in” to WordPress. By doing so, they add to the source code of the platform and thus add or upgrade its features and capabilities, or add completely new tools to your disposal.
The idea is that they are optional to use and there’s a vast library of available ones – you download and use the ones that are most helpful in your particular case and don’t bother dealing with the rest. This means that your preferred set of plugins can be completely different from other users’ set of tools – WordPress is designed to be as versatile as possible and ensure that any user can get exactly what he wishes for in terms of instruments.
What Types of Plugins Are There?
Currently, there are about 55,000 available plugins that you can install and use. There are countless ways that plugins can be categorized, so in this section, you will read about the most popular and useful types of plugins:
- Security Plugins – it is always a good idea to secure your website with all means possible. Insecure sites are prone to all different kinds of issues – data theft, malware, funds loss, and more. When you search for plugins, you should definitely start with browsing and installing some security ones. With such tools, you can use password protection for your pages, and add enhanced security on many levels.
- Site Optimization Plugins – such tools are created to improve the performance and loading speed of your site, so your visitors don’t get annoyed by long loading times and poor site performance.
- Contact Form Plugins – a contact form is one of the most convenient ways to communicate with your visitors. A properly created contact form can greatly improve the user experience, so if your chosen theme doesn’t include some default contact forms, search for a suitable one in the form of a plugin. With similar plugins, you can also add reviews to your WordPress website.
- SEO Plugins – System Engine Optimization is vital for the popularity of your site and the traffic toward your pages. So, you should always know whether your site construction and maintenance are SEO-friendly. Such plugins can monitor all of your SEO practices and give you an insight into what works and what needs some improvement.
- Caching Plugins – such instruments reduce the site’s loading speeds even further, so you should definitely use such a plugin. If cache is something new for you, then check out our dedicated article – What is WordPress Cache?
The WordPress plugins contribute to the platform’s great versatility and flexibility and knowing more about them will surely help you build a reliable and functional website. This is why you should what a plugin is, how it works and how to get the most out of it.