What is a Plugin?  


What is a Plugin?  

You probably must have figured out from the name Plugins that it is a piece of software that users can integrate with other major software. Going by the definition, Plugins are extensions integrated with software or websites to increase the efficacy of an existing programme, website, or software.  

A blog is a fantastic example of the importance and utility of plugins. Blogs typically contain text and images; however, some bloggers who write about cuisine or art also include videos. While some provide links to other video platforms for followers to access their video content, some have videos that users may view directly on the page.

If you look closely at the video, you’ll notice that it’s being played by a third-party application, such as YouTube. 

Owing to the use of plugins, users can play YouTube videos on a website without being redirected to the original platform. Other popular plugins include browser plugins such as Apple QuickTime or Macromedia Flash, which allow users to play specific multimedia files within their browser.

How to Install a Plugin?  

Installing plugins is a no-brainer; all you have to do is go to the appropriate website, click install, and begin utilising the plugins. Some of the popular websites to download plugins are:

  • Mozilla Firefox  
  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Apple Safari
  • Opera
  • Brave
  • Vivaldi

The browsers listed above offer their own collection of plugins, extensions, or addons that make it easier for users to download and use.

Also, the plugins listed there are usually safe, and if there are any security issues, the user will be warned immediately.

Another widespread use of plugins is that of WordPress. These plugins are usually used to enhance the overall content of WordPress websites.

If you have any doubts about installing plugins, here are detailed steps for installing WordPress plugins.

How to Install WordPress Plugins?  

There are three ways to install plugins to your WordPress website:

Adding Plugin to WordPress Website

Select Plugins> Add new from your WordPress dashboard.

  1. Use the search bar in the top right corner to hunt for a plugin. There will be a slew of results to choose from.
  2. If you’re having trouble locating the appropriate plugins, you can use Google to look for recommendations. After you’ve found the one you’re looking for, click install.
  3. Then, in your WordPress dashboard, upload the plugin.

Before you want to use your plugin, you will have to activate it, so remember to click Activate after installation.

Adding a Third-Party Plugin to Your WordPress Website

Some users may opt to use third-party plugins on their WordPress websites. No need to worry; this phase is lengthy yet straightforward, similar to installing WordPress plugins.

  1. From a third-party site, download your preferred plugin in the form of a .zip file.
  2. After downloading, go to your WordPress dashboard and select Plugins> Add New from the drop-down menu. 
  3. Select Upload Plugin.
  4. Then, under Choose File, choose the.zip file and add it.
  5. To install the plugin, click install.

After installing the plugins, click activate and voila! The plugin is ready to enhance your website.

Activating a Plugin

Mostly, an app or application is ready to work after installation. So you probably may have thought the same with WordPress plugins.

However, in the case of WordPress plugins, the plugins are not immediately usable. This means that when you install the plugin, you are merely installing the plugin’s code and not the function.

So, as you may have predicted, the plugins will not work until you ‘Activate’ them. 

Remember to activate your plugin right away after installing it. 

If your site is experiencing any issue because of plugins, you have the option to ‘deactivate’ them too. This is not as same as deleting the plugin because you are merely disabling the plugin for a temporary period.

Click Plugins> Installed Plugins to activate and deactivate plugins.

Updating a Plugin 

Plugin authors will surely update their plugins periodically to improve their functionality. As a website owner, if you want to reap the benefits, you must check for plugin upgrades regularly.

On your dashboard next to the update tab, you’ll be notified if a new version of your plugin is published. View the update and ‘Update’ the plugin by clicking on the tab.

If you find manually upgrading plugins tiresome, you can automatically configure WordPress to update plugins when new features are released. Easy right? 

How to Uninstall a WordPress Plugin? 

To uninstall a WordPress plugin, go to Plugins> Installed Plugins. Under the plugin, click Deactivate if the plugin is currently activated, then click Delete. 

How to Use a Plugin?

Plugins were intended to handle functions that a website wouldn’t be able to provide on its own.

For example, how will you encourage visitors to donate to you if you have written a blog to raise funds for a specific cause?

Will you prefer that they PayPal you or donate through fundraising software that handles all of the formalities for you? 

The majority of you will probably choose the latter choice, which is precisely what a plugin is for.

For WordPress, there is a myriad of plugins to choose from, and the good ones are usually free. So, you can leave the complicated tasks to plugins.

YoastSEO is another prominent plugin that nearly every blogger employs. The rank and suggestions to improve a site are provided to bloggers using this plugin, allowing them to stay ahead of the competition.

Similarly, there are many plugins available that you can use to enhance the website’s functionality and overall look.

Is the Use of Plugins Still Prevalent?  

There was a time when websites used plugins a lot, but today, the use of plugins has somehow been deprecated. Instead of plugins, browsers now rely on extensions, which are more versatile and flexible than plugins.

Plugins play a pivotal role in WordPress and are still relied on by many people, even though they are not used as frequently as they once were.

Things to Consider About When Using Plugins 

Although plugins possess many qualities and functionalities, some beginners get over-excited and install too many. As necessary they are, there are some things you should be aware of when it comes to plugins:

Less Is Better

You may be tempted to use them to the utmost extent possible because they provide more functionality to your website, but hold your horses, mate. 

Too many plugins mean too many problems.

Considering plugins eat up space, the more plugins you have loaded, the slower your website will be.

So, if you’ve ever wondered if you have too many plugins, you probably have, and the most straightforward approach is to remove them.

Regularly Update Your Plugins

As you may have seen, Plugins add the necessary functionality to your websites. However, because the internet is rapidly evolving and new features are being added virtually every day, plugin developers will also upgrade their plugins to be more enhanced than the previous version.

If you want to have a consistent browser experience, you should check the plugins you use regularly and upgrade them to the newest version.

Use Plugins That Are Necessary

As previously said, some users become overly enthusiastic and employ an excessive number of plugins on their websites. The issue is that sites may not need many of them at all, or their use is entirely ineffective.

Using them is not only a waste of time, but it also gradually decreases your website’s loading performance.

So do your research before downloading any plugin.

Eliminate Any Plugins That Are No Longer in Use

You might have installed a certain plugin because it served a certain use before but may not be needed now. 

So what will you do?

Easy, you will delete them.

Too many plugins may constitute a security risk to your WordPress account, so delete those no longer in use.

If you ever want them in future, you can reinstall them again.

Avoid Installing Similar Plugins

When it comes to plugins, make sure they aren’t all the same. Installing 2-3 SEO plugins, for example, is probably not wise for a smooth-running website.

The site will take too much time to load, and there are also chances of security risks with unnecessary plugins.

Use Trusted Plugins 

Although there are many plugins available, it is best not to trust them all. Not every plugin comes from a credible source. Avoid installing plugins from untrusted sites to avoid any potential risks.

Suppose your website, which has been upgraded with many plugins, isn’t operating as well as it should or is having difficulties loading content. In that case, there could be an internal conflict between plugins. This is why bloggers must research the compatibility of the plugins as well.

Pros and Cons of Using Plugins

Considering plugins are rarely used these days, you may be unsure whether you should rely on them.

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Here are some upsides and downsides of plugins to help you decide whether or not to use them.


There Is a Plugin For EVERYTHING

Yes, you saw it right. You can find a plugin for anything and everything. For example, if you want to raise funds, there is a plugin for that. Want to play videos? There is a plugin for that. 

This is because WordPress or any other browsers are open sources. So any individual or a group can release plugins on the platforms.

Plugins Are Usually Free

Not everyone likes to pay for a service, including plugins. But not to worry, since not every plugin is premium.

Most of the plugins you find in WordPress or the addons store are free. And the rest of the ones which are bought in a specific account do not cost much either.

So to happily put it, you get to enjoy benefits at little to no cost at all.

Plugins Are Always With the Latest Features

Even though there are many plugins accessible, if you download one from a verified, reliable source, you won’t have to worry about performance issues because the plugins are updated regularly.

More Alternatives Are Available

Plugins allow you to add functions and capabilities that the website or browser does not provide by default.


More Plugins Spells More Problems

Plugins are excellent resources for improving a website’s overall performance. However, having too many plugins will cause them to conflict, resulting in a website that functions poorly.

Poorly Built Plugins

Not every plugin you discover and install is of excellent calibre or created by a reliable team. Consequently, there is a possibility that you will encounter unanticipated problems resulting from poorly written plugins.

Security Risks

Since anyone can create and publish plugins, plugins can be considered a double-edged sword. Some will provide solutions for any possible issue you might have, while others will feed viruses or cause any other malicious activity and will end up ruining your website quality.

Simply put, there is a possibility that your website will be vulnerable to attacks.

Slows Down Page Speed

Plugins can interrupt your page speed since they require additional CSS and JavaScript files. This means when your site loads, it will also have to load the plugin assets too.


Installing plugins is an effortless and efficient way to enhance the overall performance and appearance of a website. There are many plugins available, ranging from typefaces, images, and videos to analytics and SEO. So pick one, install it and enjoy seamless blogging. Also, make sure to look for recommendations before proceeding with installing plugins.

Free Challenge – Code

If you want to learn some of the basics of software development for free, try this free 5 Day Coding Challenge. On it, you will learn the basics of HTMLCSS and JavaScript. It takes just one hour a day over five days. Register now through the form below. Alternatively, if you want to learn full stack software development, you can read more about our programme here.

The Basics of GraphQL: Understanding the Importance of GraphQL 

In the ever-evolving landscape of web development, GraphQL has emerged as a game-changer. This query language, developed by Facebook and later open-sourced, has revolutionised the way data is requested and delivered over APIs. In this article, we will delve into the fundamental concepts of GraphQL and explore why it has become a pivotal tool in […]

Exploring the MERN Stack 

The right technology stack selection has become a necessity in this ever-changing landscape of web development, as efficient apps are constructed by the use of such technologies. One such popular stack that has been gaining momentum in recent years is the MERN stack. This article will offer a detailed analysis of the MERN stack that […]

What Are Containers and Containerization in DevOps? 

With the constant changes in software development and deployment, containers and containerization have emerged as the most sought-after topics in DevOps.  Containers bring to the table a lightweight, portable, and performant way of packaging, deploying, and managing applications.  Using these said ways, DevOps teams can benefit in many aspects.  This article revolves around the container […]