Plugins are some pieces of software which contain a group of functions that you can add to your WordPress website in order to have those functions. Plugins can develop some functionalities or add some new features to your WordPress website. Plugins in WordPress are written using the PHP programming language and they are integrated with WordPress. The WordPress community claims that there’s a plugin for anything, it means that for every functionality you can find a plugin. WordPress offers easy ways to website developers to add different features and functionalities to their website even if they do not know anything of coding. There are so many WordPress plugins offered for free in the official WordPress plugin directory, thousands of them are available to download. We have introduced the best practical wordpress plugins in our website, it is worthy to read.
Although there are so many free WordPress plugins offered by WordPress, there are lots of amazing commercial plugins available from some other companies and developers. You can search and download them depends on the functionality you need.
As you are administrator of your website, you can install/uninstall plugins from your website; you can do this from the admin area.
It is very important to note usually these plugins do not come with tech support, because the lots of WordPress plugins are free so it is expected not to be supported. So be careful when choosing which WordPress plugins you are going to install on your website. Although there are several diffrent plugins seem to be able to do anything, some of them are much higher quality than others; you would better to use them. In order to choose the right virtually, there are some questions you should ask yourself. Some questions like these;
- How long has that WordPress plugin been since it was updated?
- Is that WordPress plugin compatible with the last version of WordPress?
- Have others using that WordPress plugin gotten answers to their support questions?
- What is the rating of that WordPress plugin?
There is a saying about WordPress plugins that they may slow down your website. But it is only a myth and it is not true. Just there are some bad ones that will slow down your site.
Indeed, WordPress plugins are applications allowing you to add your intended new features and functionalities to your website. Just like the role of different applications on your smartphone.
Right now more than 48,000 free plugins are available on the WordPress.org plugin directory. A lot more are available on other third-party websites and you can search and download them, some websites such Github website.
In addition, thousands of premium WordPress plugins are available that you can buy them from other individual developers and companies that sell premium WordPress plugins.
What is the role of a WordPress plugin in your website?
WordPress plugins are some small software applications which are integrated and run on the WordPress software. This is the key point allowing people to create almost all kinds of websites with WordPress and it is not only limited to blogs.
Doesn’t matter what you want to do on your WordPress website, whatever task you want is possible. If your intended feature is not available in default WordPress, certainly you can find a plugin available for the feature you want.
For example there are some WordPress plugins to boost performance, improve SEO, create galleries, add contact forms, social media buttons, and so on.
Also some WordPress plugins can be small and offer only one little feature like adding an image to sidebar.
Some WordPress plugins are quite large and act as well their own platform like WordPress ecommerce plugins , and WordPress membership plugins.
Some points about Paid WordPress Plugins
- although there are thousands of free WordPress plugins available on the plugin directory of WordPress, but paid plugins usually offer a full time support staff and developers who work on maintaining and updating the compatibility and security of WordPress plugins with the last WordPress version and also with other themes and plugins.
- Most of the time, WordPress plugins function adaptably and gently with the WordPress core and also with other plugins, but sometimes a plugin’s code may get in the way of another plugin, and this will cause compatibility issues. But with a paid plugin, you would have support staff that will help you out if anything goes wrong with the plugin.
Users of WordPress.com cannot install plugins because they can’t see the WordPress plugins menu in their website dashboard, so they usually complain. This occurred because they are using WordPress.com and this type has some limitations. You can see these limitations in the topic WordPress.com limitations.
If you want to use plugins, you should use a self-hosted WordPress.org. We explained the way you can switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org on a topic named how to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
It is One of the primary advantages of the self-hosted version of WordPress on WordPress.org that you will be able to upload and use different plugins on your WordPress website.
Step by step process of installing a plugin
Here is the step by step instruction of installing a WordPress plugin, follow the steps and do it.
There are three methods you can use to install a WordPress plugin:
- Installing a WordPress plugin using search;
- Uploading a WordPress plugin;
- And installing a WordPress plugin using FTP manually.
1- Install a Plugin via WordPress Plugin Search:
It is the easiest way to install a WordPress plugin on your website, in this way you use the plugin search in your dashboard. The only bad point of this way is that your intended plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory, but this directory is only limited to free WordPress plugins. So for paid ones you cannot use this method.
Firstly it is needed for you to go to your WordPress admin area on your website, then choose “Plugins”, after that choose the option “Add New” to add a new WordPress plugin.
Then you can use the search box which will appear on the screen, just like the screen like the screenshot above, now type the name of your intended plugin in the search box and find it. After that, a bunch of listings of plugins will appear like the screenshot below:
So easily choose your intended WordPress plugin. Then WordPress will start downloading and installing the plugin for you. After that, a success message would appear in which there is a link for activating the plugin or returning to the plugin installer. The message is shown below.
Beware till you do not activate the installed WordPress plugin, it will not work. So continue and choose activating by clicking on the activate plugin link, activate the installed plugin on your WordPress website. Now enjoy the feature. You are finished, now you have successfully installed activated your first WordPress plugin.
2- Installing a Plugin via the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload
In the WordPress plugin directory there is no name of Paid WordPress plugins. So you cannot use first method to install these ones. So that WordPress offers the Upload method for installing paid plugins. Following the text you will learn how to install different WordPress plugins using the uploading method which is an option in the admin area.
At first, you should download the plugin from its source, doing this you will have a zip file. Then, go to WordPress admin area and locate “Plugins”, then add a new page. After that, choose the Upload Plugin button which is on top of the page. Now you are brought to the plugin upload page. Now click on the “choose file” button and select you intended plugin file that you downloaded earlier to your computer. Now click on the install button.WordPress will upload your intended plugin file from your computer and install it on your website for you. Finally, you will see a success message after installation is finished. Then, you need to activate the plugin by clicking on the “Activate Plugin” link to start using the plugin.
3- Installing a WordPress plugin using FTP manually
Sometimes your WordPress hosting provider might have some file restrictions that would limit your ability of installing WordPress plugins from the admin area. In these cases, you are better to install WordPress plugins manually via FTP. But the FTP manager method is somehow difficult and is the least friendly method for beginners.
At first you should download the plugin’s source file that would be a zip file, then, you should extract the zip file on your computer. By extracting the plugin zip file you will create a new folder with the same name on your computer. This would be the folder which you need to manually upload to your website using a FTP client. For this you should have access your host through the FTP manager. But if you do not have your FTP username and password, you need to contact your WordPress hosting provider and want them to help you.
Now after opening the FTP client on your computer, connect to your website using the login credentials that are provided by your web host. When you are connected, you should have access the path “/wp-content/plugins/ “. Then, upload the folder you extracted before from the zip file to the folder named “/wp-content/plugins/ ” on your web server.
When you are finished with uploading the files, visit the WordPress admin area and choose the Plugins link. Then you will see that your plugin has been successfully installed on the plugins page.
So, click on the Activate link and activate the plugin.