A Primer On WordPress Plugins

Digging through all of the plugins in WordPress is like finding a needle in a can of sand, so here’s a primer on WordPress plugins. We hope you find this useful.

WPWordPress Plugins are composed of PHP scripts that extend the functionality of WordPress. They offer new additions to your blog that either enhance features that were already available or add otherwise unavailable new features to your site.

Finding WordPress Plugins

Plugins are available in the WordPress Plugins Director or you can go to Administration Screens > Plugins > Add Newscreen. These are designed by volunteers and are usually free to the public. WordPress Plugins hosted in the WordPress Plugins Directory are considered thoroughly tested and “safe”. Remember, WordPress Plugins are the responsibility of the author and the user and they are typically works-in-progress as WordPress grows and expands.

The majority of WordPress users don’t require Plugins or only require a few, such as Plugins dealing with comment spam or customized post listings. Other users enjoy the varied options Plugins provide such as frequently updated weather reports, post word counts, rating systems and more. WordPress Plugins are optional, based upon the needs of the user, and thus they are not incorporated into the core of WordPress.

Plugin Compatibility and Updates

The Plugins List and the WordPress Plugins Directory allows you to determine compatibility of a plug in and to check if updates are available.

Installing WordPress Plugins

To install a plugin you generally just need to put the plugin file into your ‘wp-content/plugins’ directory. Once a plugin is installed, you may activate it or deactivate it from the Plugins menu in your WP administration.

The Plugin installation is a direct process. It is enough to upload the plugin under the ‘wp-content/plugins’ directory for the WordPress installation and activate it from the administrator backend.

You can install plugins directly from the admin area.

Just follow these steps:

  1. Download the plugin to your computer
  2. Log in to your WP admin area and go to Plugins.
  3. Add New then browse to the plugin archive and select it.
  4. Click Install Now and the plugin will be installed shortly.

Removing the plug in is also straightforward. Just simply remove the directory for the plugin you would like to uninstall and it will be automatically deactivated.

Keep in mind that not all plugins are easy to install. Some WordPress Plugins require more steps to customize them. So always refer to their documentation and installation instructions first.