A plugin is a part of software consisting of a set of functions that can be included on a WordPress website. Plugins can deliver new features or enhance functionality to WordPress websites. The plugins for WordPress are written in PHP programming language, which integrates smoothly with WordPress. To add features using plugins, users do not even have to know how to code. Thousands of plugins are available to download for free at the official WordPress plugin directory.
For site administrators, you are able to install/uninstall plugins from the admin area. Downloading and installing them manually using an FTP client is also possible.
Since most of the plugins are free, we want to emphasize that they typically do not include tech support. Therefore, it is important to be cautious when choosing which plugins you are going to install for your site. Granted, there are plugins for just about anything you need, but the quality of some is much higher when compared to others. To help you choose the right ones, ask yourself these questions:
- How long since it was last updated?
- Is its compatibility with the latest version of WordPress?
- Are people’s support questions getting answered?
- What is the rating for the plugin?
A myth exists that your site will slow down if you install a WordPress plugin. This is not true. Your site will only slow down if you add a number of bad ones.