WordPress Plugins: What are they and how do they work?

by | May 7, 2020 | Featured, Website Elements

If you’re new to WordPress, you may be slightly overwhelmed by the amount of customization available to you. It’s easy to get confused with all the moving parts that go into making a WordPress website. WordPress is a great platform that comes with all the basics for building a functional site. You can extend those basic functionalities with a feature called “plugins.” In this blog post, we break down everything you need to know about installing and using plugins to enhance your new site.

What is a plugin?

WordPress Plugins are PHP scripts that extend the functionality of WordPress. They enhance the features of WordPress or add entirely new features to your site. Plugins are often developed by volunteers and are usually free to the public. Plugins are available via the WordPress Plugin Directory.

What is a plugin?

What Plugins are available?

Some of the more popular plugins in the WordPress Plugin Directory fall into these categories:

  • Spam control
  • SEO
  • Data import and export
  • E-commerce
  • Security
  • Caching

There are thousands of plugins available in the directory, so there’s a good chance you’ll find some that enhance your site and fit your needs.

How to Install a Plugin

To Install a WordPress plugin, you need to be logged in to the backend of your site and navigate to “Plugins” on the left-hand toolbar.

  1. When you are on the plugins screen, you will click “Add new.”

WordPress Plugins: What are they and how do they work?

  1. You should now see a directory of all of the available WordPress Plugins. You can search for the plugin you are looking for by entering the name of the plugin in the search bar.

Search Plugins

  1. Next,  you will click “Install” on the plugin you wish to add. Once installed, the button will flip to “Activate.” Click to activate the plugin

Install & Activate Plugins

  1. You will then redirect back to your plugin library, where you can then manage the plugin you just installed.

Updating plugins

WordPress plugins are created by multiple authors and are consistently updated to newer versions to comply with the latest version of WordPress or to address security issues and bugs. It is not guaranteed that the mandated updates to WordPress will not break the website, nor that plugins will continue to function if not updated. For this reason, having a trained web specialist on hand to monitor the website is necessary to update plugins, rollback plugins, replace plugins or even adjust the theme to continue optimal performance.

Can I hire someone to make these updates for me?

At Kevin Brown Design we offer full-service managed website care plans which include managing and updating your plugins on a regular basis.

  • Plugin Updates
  • Upgrades, security, and migrations
  • A dedicated VPS
  • Human customer service for all of your technical questions

Learn more about our keeping your up-to-date with our website care plans.

Other things to keep in mind about your WordPress plugins

  • You can find plugins on many different sites and not just the WordPress plugin directory. You will be given a zip file upon download which you can then upload to the plugin directory.
  • It’s important to check the user reviews and ratings of plugins just like you would before purchasing a product.
  • Keep deactivated plugins or get rid of them. A deactivated plugin is still “live” on your site in the sense that it could be exploited as a security weakness.

Here at Kevin Brown Design, we take design and functionality seriously when creating your new website. Our strategic marketing approach to web design ensures that every part of your site serves a specific purpose that is relevant to your end goal. Contact us today to learn more about our web design process.