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What You Need to Know About WordPress Plugins

What You Need to Know About WordPress Plugins

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS) and a website building tool. You can download it for free and make virtually any kind of website imaginable! It includes a plethora of both free and premium themes that can fulfill a myriad of purposes. To make your website up and running, does WordPress alone suffice? The truth is, WordPress can work fine on its own, but sometimes it may not have exactly what you require. However, its functionality can be significantly increased. To achieve that, all you need to do is to install some plugins. But what are WordPress plugins and where can you get them? Let’s find answers to these and other plugin-related questions:

What are WordPress plugins

If you’re new to WordPress, you may not be familiar with all the terms used on the platform. It may take you some time to tackle everything, but take your time. Baby steps and you’ll become an expert in no time. For starters, let’s see what even is a WordPress plugin.

Simply put, plugins are pieces of software written in PHP that can be added to any WordPress site. They are to WordPress what apps are to your smartphone. Once you install them, they alter the way your website works. What plugins do is they either extend existing functionality or add new functionality to your website. With tens of thousands of plugins to choose from, you can turn any WordPress site to a truly powerful platform!

Picture this. You’re working on a website, it doesn’t matter what type. What’s almost certain is that you’ll want to add a contact form to at least one of the pages. If you’re not sure how to do it and there’s no option in WordPress for it, what should you do? This is a moment when Contact Form plugins get to shine. You’ll be able to quickly resolve your issue as there are numerous plugins intended precisely for this purpose.

It’s almost safe to say that there’s nothing plugins can’t do. Whether you want to share your content on social media, protect your website, make your content multilingual, and so much more, WordPress plugins got you covered!

Free vs. Premium Plugins

Currently, there are over tens of thousands of free plugins available for download and this is an ever-growing list. People will most likely choose to download plugins for free, but in that case you should be mindful of several things.

Free plugins

Free plugins usually don’t offer support, so when in need, you won’t be able to ask anyone for help. Some are better than others, but it’s important to pay attention to when they were last updated. Make sure to check if they’re compatible with the latest WordPress version as well. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on ratings and go through reviews. Read other people’s opinion about the plugin you’d like to download and get all the information you may need! One more thing – with free plugins, there’s a chance authors stop working on them anytime. This means you won’t be getting any updates, and in case the plugin stops working, there’d be no one to turn to.

Premium plugins

Premium plugins are called premium because they’re paid for, and the prices can wary, from $15 – $100. People will usually decide to make a purchase only if they fail to find a free plugin that will do the job for them. The authors constantly work on improving them because it’s in their best interest to make as many sales as possible. They also have an incentive to keep plugins updated and compatible with the latest WordPress version. Another great thing is a solid customer support. Whenever you have any inquiries or issues, there’s someone to contact! Generally speaking, the code quality of premium plugins is usually better than that of free plugins.

Freemium

Some developers even offer both free and premium versions of their plugins. They let you test them and obtain them for free, to see if a product works well for you. However, in order to get the upgraded and more advanced version of the plugin, you’d need to get the premium version. The widely popular Instagram Feed plugin is just like that. You can get it for free, but also obtain the premium version.

Bottom Line

The truth is, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a free or a premium plugin. Some of the most popular WordPress plugins out there can be downloaded for free: Akismet, Contact Form 7, Yoast, to name a few. What’s great is that you can build a fully functional WordPress website just by using free plugins. However, if you’d like to get additional features for it and have a full-time support as well, you should consider buying a premium version.

Where to get WordPress plugins

The biggest WordPress plugin directory has over 50,000 plugins to choose from, and you can get them at wordpress.org. You can download both free versions and also paid extensions as zip files, and afterwards install them on your website. As aforementioned, you should always read reviews, and you can see them clearly displayed on this website. Also, well-detailed explanations and instructions are shown next to each plugin.

WordPress Org

It’s good to know that these plugins can also be directly imported through WordPress. This is something that will save you the hassle of having to bother with downloading zip files first.

WP Plugins

Another great source of premium plugins is Code Canyon. There are over 28,000 plugins to choose from for as little as $2. You can also set filters and choose different categories so as to find the plugin that can do exactly what you require.

Code Canyon

Lastly, you can obtain plugins from third-party resources, as there are many developers out there who have their own websites. Simply use Google and it will lead you to a website where you can find just the plugin you need.

Important things to consider before installing a plugin

Plugins can make your website more effective. Before you install them, make sure you find the one that fits the functionality you require like a glove. You can find online all the information you need, as well as a lot of useful tutorials and advices, so making the right choice shouldn’t be that hard!

When you install a plugin, you’re basically adding a third-party code to your website. That could be a cause for concern because sometimes plugins can contain a malicious code. In such cases the entire website can slow down, malfunction and its security could be jeopardized.

You can, of course, prevent such things from happening. For starters, download plugins from trustworthy directories, such as wordpress.ord and Code Canyon. Pay attention to what other users are saying, don’t overlook the reviews! We’ve already mentioned this earlier, but this is something that can potentially save you a lot of trouble. You should also make sure that you update your plugin when possible, which will ensure its optimal performance.

Before Installing a Plugin

Conclusion

WordPress plugins are incredibly useful as they can significantly enhance your website’s performance as well as the overall functionality. Just be careful not to overdo it and not to install plugins that you won’t even use. If you stop using a plugin, don’t forget to delete it and also clean your database from time to time. That way you’ll keep it optimized and also prevent unnecessary cruft from piling up. When choosing a plugin, check if it’s compatible with your theme and when it was last updated.

WordPress plugins can surely be instrumental to your website, so be sure to follow our guidelines that will help you choose suitable plugins for your website.

We hope this article was helpful. If you liked it, feel free to check out some of these articles as well!

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