Complete Beginner’s Guide To WordPress Plugins

Are you a new WordPress user? Then you must read this guide to WordPress plugins. Most people who are new to the open-source platform are confused about these tools. Plugins, along with themes are the main components of all interfaces built with the CMS. They help users in easily adding a feature to their websites. The immense popularity of the platform and constant demand for new plugins has led to programmers making a career as WordPress theme developers. These professionals have made valuable contributions to the CMS by building numerous free and paid tools. In this article, new users of the platform will get to learn everything about these conveniences. Read on to know about plugins, where to find them and how to use them efficiently.

What Are WordPress Plugins?

WordPress plugins are lines of code that include a group of functions. These can be added to a website to extend its functionality or introduce a new feature. They are composed in the PHP programming language and blend seamlessly with the core files of the open source platform. The large community of dedicated WordPress developers has built numerous plugins. This helps even people with limited or no technical knowledge to easily introduce a function to their interfaces. In fact, there are extremely low chances that a plugin cannot be found for a conceivable functionality. It can be said that these tools are just like the apps people download on their smartphones. These functionality extenders are powerful solutions which enable people to append robust features like online stores to their websites.

How Do Plugins Work?

WordPress is designed to accommodate custom code created by other developers. The CMS’ plugin API provides hooks and filters which help coders alter the existing functionality or introduce a new one. This helps programmers build custom solutions for a range of purposes. The platform also lets users save information in its database. Each plugin installed on an interface is registered in this database. Now, when a website is requested, the CMS accesses this database and loads the core files. This is followed by it loading all the activated plugins of that interface. The website owner’s server conducts all the code processing to deliver it to visitors’ browsers.

How Can Users Install WordPress Plugins?

Before learning to find an appropriate plugin, it is essential to know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is the hosted service where people are not required to download anything. They have to simply create an account and get an interface in just about 5 minutes. The service takes care of web hosting and all other requirements. The WordPress.org service, however, requires users to sign up for their own hosting service. It provides subscribers with a copy of the free web-building software. The major difference between the two platforms is that subscribers of the “.org” service enjoy total control over their websites. They can add plugins while “.com” users (except business plans subscribers ) cannot do so.

We will now discuss in our guide to WordPress plugins how you can find an appropriate tool by visiting the plugin directory of your WordPress.org installation. Log in to your admin dashboard and go to “Plugins” in the menu. Click on the “Add New” option and you will be taken to the directory screen.

In the search field, enter the name of the tool or the functionality. Locate a suitable solution from the options presented by the directory. You will see that an “Install Now” button is displayed alongside all the options. Press the tab and the plugin files will be downloaded to your interface’s installation.

Go to the “Installed Plugins” section and you will see the new plugin listed there. Click the “Activate” link below the tool and it will start working on your website. Once the solution becomes active, the link will change to “Deactivate”.

What Problems Can Be Caused By Bad Plugins?

People must be careful while selecting these functionality extenders. A wrong choice can cause damage to their website. The following issues can arise because of a bad quality tool:

1. Increased Page Loading Speed

Many users overload their interfaces with plugins in order to introduce multiple features. This affects the page loading speed of the website and makes it slow. The same problem can be caused by a low-grade tool. Such solutions are not efficiently programmed and bloat the code of the interfaces.

2. Malicious Code

Some plugins are designed by unethical elements to hack into unsuspecting users’ interfaces. These tools intentionally inject a website with malicious code as soon as they are made functional.

3. Plugin Conflicts

The open source environment supports numerous plugins and themes and conflicts between two elements are bound to happen some times. A conflict can occur between two plugins, a plugin and a theme, or a plugin and the WordPress core.

How To Find Good Plugins?

In order to avoid the above-mentioned issues, it is essential that users take the following precautions:

1. Use Plugins Created By Reputed Entities

Choose plugins which have been built by reputable developers or offered by well-known directories. Automattic, the team running WordPress also offers numerous solutions which can be used.

2. Read The Ratings And Reviews

When you visit the plugin page, make it a point to read the reviews and check the star ratings. It will also be pertinent to know what kind of support the developer offers.

3. Check For The Last Update

On the same page, check when the last update was released for the solution. A recently-upgraded tool will always be a better choice than other options.

Conclusion

This guide to WordPress plugins will help beginners in understanding these beneficial tools. They will be able to find effective solutions which will enhance their websites without any problem.

Author Bio

Jacob Graves is a Sr. WordPress Developer at HireWPGeeks Ltd, a company that converts your website to WordPress in a convenient manner. He is a passionate writer and loves to share WordPress and SEO related tutorials.

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