A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. In the WordPress community, there is a saying that goes around: “there’s a plugin for that”. They makes it easy for users to add features to their website without knowing a single line of code. There are thousands available for free to download at the official WordPress plugin directory. At WPBeginner, we write about all the best WordPress plugins. We have even shared a list of all the plugins we use. Aside from free plugins, there are tons of amazing commercial ones available from third-party companies and developers.
As a site administrator, you can install/uninstall plugins from the admin area. You can also download and manually install them using an FTP client.
Because the vast majority of plugins are free, it is important to note that they usually do not come with tech support. For this reason it is important to be careful when choosing which ones you want to install on your site. Although there are plugins that can do virtually anything, some are much higher quality than others. In order to choose the right ones, you should ask yourself a couple questions. How long has it been since it was updated? Is it compatible with the latest version of WordPress? Are people getting answers to their support questions? What type of rating does it have?
There is a myth that WordPress plugins slow your site down. It is not true. Only the number of bad ones will slow down your site. We have written a detailed article on how many plugins should you install.
You can see which plugins we use on WPBeginner by taking a look at our blueprint.