What is a Plugin?

Last modified: February 23, 2020


WordPress is a very powerful content management system. But it’s core code is rather basic. It is essentially just a blogging platform with a few additional features. However, this core code is extremely lightweight and, therefore, can load quickly.

If you’re wanting more, you have to add functions onto your website. This is where plugins are very useful. A plugin is some code that adds functionality to your WordPress website. There are thousands, upon thousands, of plugins available to be downloaded. While some of them do similar functions, like provide SEO solutions, email subscriptions, etc., there are lots of different functionalities you can find online.

In fact, there are so many plugins that can do a variety of tasks that a common saying in the WordPress community is “there’s a plugin for that”.

WordPress plugins make it easy for you to add functionality to your website. This can mean that you customize your website and make it far more unique than you can with other solutions. Most WordPress plugins utilize PHP programming language and can integrate easily with your WordPress website.

However, there are some issues. Sometimes, plugins can conflict. This is often when two plugins do the same task and they are both competing to operate. Another problem is when a plugin hasn’t been updated for a long time (more than six months). At this point, the plugin can sometimes conflict with any major changes that have happened on the core WordPress programming.

Another problem is that there are issues with security. If your plugin isn’t updated regularly, they can allow access to criminals.

Adding plugins is easy. There is an option to add, manage and remove plugins on the left-hand menu within the WordPress admin screen. You can add plugins from the directory inside your WordPress website or install them manually using a zip file and uploading them.

You don’t have to activate all plugins that are installed on your WordPress website. You can deactivate them. This means that you don’t get their functionality, but it allows you to keep the plugin in the background of the site.

Always research what plugin you’re installing on your site. And you can run tests on local servers to ensure that your new plugin is compatible with your current WordPress website.

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