If you want to become good with WordPress, you will need to understand what WordPress plugins are and what they do.
The concept of WordPress plugins might sound difficult, but it’s really easy to grasp once you know what they are.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
WordPress offers quite a lot of features, but it still lacks a lot of functionality.
This functionality can be added with the help of WordPress Plugins.
WordPress plugins are simply small pieces of software that extend the functionality of your WordPress website.
There is a WordPress plugin available for almost everything imaginable.
How Many WordPress Plugins are there?
At the time of writing this article, there are 47,560 free plugins available in the WordPress Plugins Directory.
There are thousands of plugins that are not available in WordPress Plugins Directory. Some of these unavailable plugins are premium, and others are not yet uploaded to the Directory.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of plugins to choose from. Some are available in the WordPress Plugins Directory, and others are just a Google search away.
Free vs. Paid WordPress Plugins
There are two types of WordPress plugins you will find, free and paid.
Free plugins can be found in the WordPress plugins directory.
Some free plugins are just a lite (trial) version of the real plugin, and others are completely free.
While you can find a free plugin for almost everything, there are a lot of reasons why you will want to buy a premium plugin:
- Authors of premium plugins offer free support for the plugin. If you find a problem or have a question, you can directly contact the plugin author and get a quick response. In the case of most free plugins, authors don’t offer almost any support.
- Premium Plugins are compatible with 99% of themes and plugins. If you find that your theme is not compatible with a premium plugin, you can directly contact the author for help.
- Authors of premium plugins update them almost every month. These updates include new features, bug fixes, and security enhancements. While on the other hand, most free plugins aren’t updated that frequently.
- Premium plugins offer a complete solution to your problems.
In some cases, when all you need is a simple solution, you can go with a free plugin.
Where can I get WordPress Plugins?
The easiest way to get WordPress plugins is through the WordPress Plugins Directory. It has more than 45,000 free plugins.
But if you are looking for premium WordPress plugins that come with great support and a lot of functionality, we recommend these websites:
- Elegant Themes. (Our favorite plugin: Monarch.)
- Thrive Themes. (Our favorite plugin: Thrive Architect.)
WordPress Plugins And Security
Before you install any WordPress plugins on your website, it’s important to know that some WordPress plugins might make your websites vulnerable to hackers.
You can trust the plugins in the WordPress Plugins Directory. They are all safe to install, but there are WordPress Plugins on the internet that are created by hackers.
These WordPress plugins once installed give hackers full access to your website.
If you want to keep your website safe from hackers, here are some tips:
- Always install WordPress Plugins from trusted Plugin Authors like ThriveThemes, ElegantThemes, etc.
- Never install outdated plugins. These plugins are no longer supported by the authors and become more and more vulnerable over time. Only install plugins that are actively updated by their authors.
- Remove plugins that you no longer use. For example, if you install a WordPress plugin, and then you stop using it later, you should remove it from your website.
How to Install, Remove, and Disable WordPress Plugins
Now, I will show you how you can install, remove and disable WordPress Plugins and what it all means.
How to Install WordPress Plugins
Installing a WordPress plugin is easier than you think. There are two ways to install WordPress plugins. You can either upload WordPress Plugins manually, or you can install Plugins from the WordPress Plugin directory.
The easiest way to install a WordPress plugin is through the Plugins Directory.
How to install plugins from the plugin directory
To install a plugin from the Plugins directory, login to your WordPress Admin Panel which is located at your-site.com/wp-admin
Once you are logged in, navigate to Plugins > Add New:
Now, on the Add New Plugin page, search for the plugin you want to install:
(You don’t need to search for the exact name of the plugin. Just enter the what you are searching for.)
Now, on the results page, select the plugin you want to install and click the Install Now button.
Once the plugin is installed, click the blue Activate button to activate the plugin.
This is how you can install plugins from the WordPress Plugins directory.
How to manually upload a plugin
If you want to install a custom plugin or a premium plugin downloaded from other sites, you will have to upload the plugin.
To install a plugin manually, login to your WordPress Dashboard and then navigate to Plugins > Add new:
Now, click the Upload Plugin button:
Now, select the Plugin’s ZIP file you downloaded and click Install Now:
Now, you will see the plugin installation progress. Once the plugin is installed, click the Activate Plugin link to activate the plugin:
How to Deactivate and Delete WordPress Plugins
When you stop using a WordPress plugin, it’s recommended that you either Deactivate the plugin or completely delete it.
Here’s the difference between Deactivating and deleting a plugin:
- Deactivating A Plugin will deactivate all its features and functionality. Deactivating a plugin will not remove it from your website. All the data that the plugin has created will not be removed when you deactivate the plugin.
- Deleting a Plugin will not only deactivate all its features but will also remove all the data created by the plugin. The plugin will be completely deleted from your server.
How to Deactivate a WordPress Plugin
Deactivating a WordPress plugin is pretty easy.
Navigate to the Plugins > Installed Plugins page in your WordPress Dashboard:
Now, find the plugin that you want to deactivate and click the Deactivate link below the name of the plugin:
Once you click the deactivate button, it will take WordPress a few seconds to deactivate the plugin. Most of the time, it is deactivated the second you click the link.
How to Delete a WordPress Plugin
Deleting a WordPress plugin is just as easy as deactivating it.
Just find the plugin you want to delete and click the delete link under its name:
Note: Only plugins that are not active can be deleted. So, if you want to delete an active plugin, you will first have to deactivate it.
What are WordPress Plugin Updates?
When you install a WordPress Plugin, you will receive a notification in your WordPress Dashboard asking you to install the latest plugin update available.
You will receive this notification every time the plugin author releases a new version of the plugin. Most plugin authors release updates every month.
Plugin authors release new updates when they either fix a bug (problems in the software) or add new features.
It is really important and recommended to keep your WordPress plugins updated if you want to keep your website safe from hackers.
Recommended WordPress Plugins
There are literally hundreds of thousands of WordPress plugins available on the internet.
Finding the right WordPress plugin for the right job is difficult.
So, here are some of the WordPress plugins that we use ourselves and recommend:
- check5 Best WordPress Backup Plugins
- check7 Best Social Sharing WordPress Plugins
- check5 Best WordPress Plugins To Create Stunning Landing Pages
- checkW3 Total Cache
Why should you disable plugins that you don’t use?
When someone visits your website, WordPress runs the code of all the active plugins one-by-one. This increases the time taken to generate your website.
The number of active plugins you have on a WordPress site will directly affect its load time.
The less active plugins you have, the faster your website will load up.
So, if you don’t require a WordPress plugin that is installed on your website, either disable it or remove it from your website.
This brings us to the end of this article.
As a blogger, Everything you need to know about WordPress plugins is covered in this article.
I hope this article helped you understand what WordPress Plugins are and how they work.