What are plugins?
Hey there! People often ask me: What is a WordPress plugin? WordPress plugins are actually a big deal in the website building industry. You can think of them as the bits of functionality that is installed on top of the WordPress functionality.
According to the WordPress foundation itself, plugins are something that is aimed at extending and expending the default WordPress functionality . Sounds good, doesn’t it ? So WordPress itself, out of the box, is pretty much helpless without the plugins.
In terms of the value you can think of WordPress plugins as the applications on your iPhone. I mean, what would the iPhone be without the applications, right? You will still be able to make calls, but you will not be able to post photos on the Instagram, you will not be able to play games, read news, etc.
Same goes with WordPress because without plugins you will only be able to post blog content there and that is pretty much it. You will not be able to add banners or galleries, sliders or some other elements that make WordPress websites so awesome.
There are 2 types of WordPress plugins based on how they can be installed. There are actually 2 segments of the plugins market:
plugins that are available for the installation from the official WordPress directory;
plugins that are supposed to be installed manually.
Official directory plugins are free and easy to install, they are pretty much like the apps on the cellphones. There is an integrated update system, you may update plugins automatically or manually but still that is all done from within the WordPress admin panel.
Most of the plugins that are being installed manually are not in the official WordPress directory, because they are not free. They are commercial plugins, people build them for money, they sell them. Since you need to install such plugins manually, you will need the access to your server via FTP or hosting control panel. All of the updates are also supposed to be installed manually.
There is a couple more interesting facts about WordPress plugins
In the official directory you can find as many as 40 000 WordPress plugins. Thats a lot! Pretty much anything you can think of in terms of what your website can do is already covered by at least 1 r several WordPress plugins;
there are thousands of plugins that are available outside of official WordPress plugins directory;
WordPress plugins have been installed over 1 000 000 000 times.
As you can see, WordPress plugins are a big deal in WordPress industry, they are very valuable for community and they are something that makes WordPress what it is and makes it so awesome.
Check out our collection of WordPress Themes! Each template has a great set of plugins.