WordPress is one of the most popular website builders and platforms today, and is especially popular among web developers and bloggers.
There are two types of WordPress sites:
- The first type are hosted by WordPress.com, have limited functionality, and are usually used for small personal sites and blogs.
- The second is the type we are focusing on in this article: these are the sites built upon the open-source WordPress CMS (Content Management System), and hosted using a third-party hosting service. This gives you much better control over how the website looks and makes all of the editing features available to you.
Most of the top hosting sites offer WordPress Hosting at affordable rates – It’s one of the best ways to start a website that can grow in functionality along with your needs and experience.
To date, WordPress has been downloaded over 60 million times. It is very SEO friendly, allows you easily manage spam comments, and includes many useful reporting, management, and editing features.
One of the things that makes WordPress especially popular is the plugins, which number over 30,000 today. Whatever functionality you need for your website, you can probably search the plugin database to find it. So where and how do you start looking?
What are WordPress Plugins?
Before we start using plugins, it’s important to understand what they are first.
A plugin is a piece of software that you can install on your WordPress website, allowing you to carry out a certain function or set of functions.
It can allow you to add features to your website, or provide additional editing capabilities like popups, forms, tables, etc. You also have a Google Analytics plugin that lets you easily add Analytics tracking to your entire site without having to edit the actual code or template.
There are thousands of plugins, some free and some require a certain fee. Most of the paid ones provide a limited version to test out, or a time-limited trial, so you don’t have to buy something without knowing how it works.
Searching for Plugins
How to find new plugins for your site: On the left sidebar, hover over “Plugins” and click “Add New”.
This is where you can search for plugins to install directly from your WordPress dashboard. If you have something specific in mind, you can use the search option to find plugins that have the features you’re looking for, or just browse the Popular, Featured, and Recommended sections to discover the best WordPress plugins.
Once you find one that you want, just click the Install button and then “Activate” when it finishes installing.
Another way to search and install plugins is to go to https://WordPress.org/plugins/ and search there. When you find one that you like, click the download button. Once you download it, you need to install it manually using an FTP client. The previous option is easier and faster, especially if you don’t have a technical background.
A lot of the plugins you’ll find are free and don’t always come with technical support. Before choosing a plugin, it is important to read the reviews and see what other people are saying so you can choose the best ones. Look at the rating, how long since it’s last been updated, if it is compatible with your (the latest) version of WordPress, and whether or not support questions are being answered.
You can also search the WordPress.org forums to see if other people who are using a certain plugin have problems and whether those problems can be solved.
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