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What are WordPress Plugins?

Extra functionality for your website

What do WordPress plugins do?

Plugins are an integral feature of WordPress, and without doubt one of the most useful and important tools in a WordPress users arsenal. Let’s take a quick look at how plugins can benefit your WordPress website.

Almost anything you can imagine! WordPress has been in active development for a long time now, and it’s a safe assumption that there has been at least one other individual seeking your plugin requirements. This means that nine times out of ten, a plugin has already been created to accomplish your needs!

Plugins can do anything from add small visual changes to your website, or even give you the power to completely change the functionality of your website. Some plugins fill gaps where WordPress itself may be lacking, and they can also vastly increase your websites performance.

How much do WordPress plugins cost?

Most WordPress plugins you’ll see out in the wild are released by developers free of charge. This is a major selling point for WordPress, and a true testament to the power of its community.

Just a hint: If you install a plugin that has served you well, many developers appreciate donations to give them incentive to carry on developing the plugins.

Some plugins are classed as ‘premium’ and do carry a small fee, but with paid plugins you can be sure that the quality is guaranteed, and often one-on-one support with the plugin developer is provided. You may even find developers willing to create a bespoke plugin to your exact requirements, but costs for this can vary.

Where to find WordPress plugins

Any plugin worth your time will be listed among the 45,000+ plugins on the Official WordPress Plugin repository at: http://wordpress.org/plugins/

Many developers also allow you to download plugins straight from their website, and you may even find mentions of useful plugins among online publications such as blogs and newsletters that you may be subscribed to.

Many plugins are rated and given reviews by everyday users, so be sure to research a chosen plugin carefully to ensure it works, and won’t affect the integrity of your website. The safety of your WordPress site is paramount – only work with trusted third party developers.

How to install a WordPress plugin

WordPress has a very intuitive plugin installer built-in, and this will allow you to search and install any of the 45,000+ plugins listed at the official repository, linked above. 99% of the time, you will install a plugin via this method.

For all other times, for example when a plugin has been released that isn’t yet listed in the repository, you can manually upload and activate the plugin from within your WordPress website. The instructions for this are as follows:

  1. Download the plugin from your source. It should be a .ZIP file
  2. Log into your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New
  3. Press Upload and choose the plugin ZIP file you have downloaded
  4. Install, and once prompted, activate the plugin. Simple!

Are WordPress plugins safe?

The vast majority of WordPress plugins released today are completely safe, and anything installed from the official repository is almost guaranteed to be safe for use.

However, as with anything downloaded from the internet one must be cautious. As mentioned above, we recommend looking into reviews and ratings for any plugin before installing it on your website.

There have been a few notorious security issues regarding WordPress in the past, and these have primarily come from insecure themes and plugins. But if you’re smart and use a little common sense, you’ll be perfectly safe.

Remember, if you need any help at all in finding or installing plugins that suit your needs, please do get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help you out.

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