As of 2022 about 455 million websites are powered by WordPress and considering the fact that there are about 1.3 billion websites running live, the statistics of WordPress are impressive.
All the websites running on WordPress regardless are they business website or personal blog no matter how much traffic each website uses, they all have one thing in common: All of them are using plugins.
WordPress counts more than 60 000 plugins on it’s free plugin repository and thousands more paid plugins which can be used to improve the website functionality. In this article I try to explain, what is WordPress Plugin and how to use it.
What is WordPress Plugin
A WordPress plugin is a script written in PHP that can add new features to a WordPress site or modify existing ones. Plugins are one of the most powerful resources on WordPress.
The functionality you can add to your site depends on what each specific plugin is designed for. There is a wide range of plugins to choose from, beginning from simple plugins that add simple changes to your site, ending with extensive plugins that provide significant changes, such as eCommerce integrations or third-party connections.
Plugins work independently, using hooks, filters, shortcodes, widgets and custom code to perform their functions.
Installing a plugin is super easy from WordPress admin panel and via FTP, you can read how to install WordPress plugin in the article: How to install and activate WordPress Plugin for Beginners.
What is plugin used for
Functionalities that plugin adds to WordPress are countless, you can create almost any type of site using appropriate plugins for WordPress, below you can find a list of some of the functionalities and sites you can create with help of plugins:
- Ecommerce Website
- Digital Marketing Website
- Social Media Website
- Affiliate Marketing Website
- Business Website
- Dropshipping Website
- Online Courses Website
- Site Optimization
How plugins work
WordPress is design in such way that it can be extended with plugins. Plugins for WordPress are as the APPS for PC or Smartphones which can be installed on WordPress, from admin panel, and they provide new features for your website, features that WordPress doesn’t have by default.
Each WordPress plugin must be installed separately and activate from WordPress panel, after plugin activation it is registered on WordPress Database and ready for use. Plugins can also be deactivated and deleted from WordPress admin panel. There are two types of plugins for WordPress: Free and Paid versions.
Free versions of plugins are available in the official WordPress Plugin Repository, and they can be installed directly from WordPress admin panel.
Paid versions can be purchased from websites like Paya for WooCommerce, download the
zip archive and install it from FTP or from WordPress Admin Panel (Installing Paid Version of Plugin from admin panel slightly differs from the installing of Free Version of Plugin)
While it’s technically possible to run a WordPress blog without a single active plugin on the site, without plugins, you will have to manually code every feature you want and of course you need to know in addition how to code, and it will take a bunch of time to add every functionality you want by your self.
That being said, if you need something for your personal blog or eCommerce site, to extend its functionality the plugins are what you are looking for to achieve your goals, you can download and install them from official WordPress plugin repository or purchase them, and with the help of plugins you can make your website unique.
And last but not least, you must check before installing the plugins if they are safe and up to date.