What is a plugin?
If there’s one rule in WordPress development, it’s this: don’t mess with the core.
This implies that you are not suppose to add functionality to your site by editing the core WordPress files. Why? Because each update to WordPress overwrites it’s core files.
WordPress Plugins are the backbone of WordPress-driven websites, a set of code that adds a specific functionality to your WordPress site. Without them, you can’t get any of the features that are specific to WordPress practices.
Plugins aren’t required, but..
They do give a lot of valuable features for custom websites by allowing you to extend the functionality of WordPress to match your own business demands. For example, you can find plugins that allow users to subscribe to your blog, write reviews, and automatically post their content on social media.
WordPress plugins can be as simple or as complicated as you need them to be, depending on your requirements. The simplest plugin is a single PHP file. The Hello Dolly plugin is a fantastic illustration of this. All that is necessary in the plugin PHP code is a Plugin Header, a few of PHP functions, and some hooks to bind your functions to.
If you have the time and patience to learn how to make one from scratch rather than using someone else’s plugin, you should do so. Overall, WordPress Plugins save time that would be spent figuring out how things operate otherwise.
It’s also important for website administrators and developers to update their plugins when there’s an update available since this will help with security, bugs, and performance issues with your site.
Free and premium plugins
Which one you choose to use is totally up to your preference and budget, but it’s always better to have more options available when it comes to website management.
How to choose a good plugin?
Before installing a plugin, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the feature added by this plugin essential to you?
- Is this a function that your website already has? If you’re unsure, look here.
- Has this plugin been tested with the most latest WordPress version?
- How active is the plugin’s support forum (or other support method)?
- When an issue or defect is reported, how responsive is the plugin developer?
- When was the last time you updated this plugin?
- What do other people think about this plugin? Examine the ratings, reviews, and number of instals.
- Is this plugin a “freemium” one? Is it worth the extra money?
- What is the number of active installations of the plugin? This indicates how popular and well-supported the plugin is.