One of the many things that make WordPress the most popular CMS in the world is the huge array of WordPress plugins that can be used to add just about any kind of functionality you can think of.
That’s great, but if you’re new to all this, the above statement probably raises more questions than it answers.
What is a WordPress plugin? How much do WordPress plugins cost? How do you use them? And which ones should you install?
It’s these questions and more that we’ll answer in this comprehensive WordPress plugins guide.
What are WordPress Plugins?
A WordPress plugin is just what it sounds like. It’s a tool that ‘plugs in’ to your WordPress website to improve how it functions and performs.
Once installed and activated on your website, the plug-in acts like a small computer program constantly running in the background of your site.
Search any good plugin directory, and you’ll find tools under a huge variety of categories, from plugins to transform WordPress into an online store to those designed to stop hackers from infiltrating your site.
Why Do I Need to Use Plugins for My WordPress Website?
There are three main reasons why plugins are such an important part of the WordPress experience.
On its own, WordPress is a tremendous tool for building a website.
It’s free, easy to use, and lightweight, but it’s also pretty basic.
Article Continues Below
Even with the addition of the in-built Gutenberg editor, which lets you add elements such as buttons, tables, and HTML anchors, there’s little you can do with the core WordPress installation beyond creating posts and pages.
If you want to sell products, create a membership site, or encourage users to subscribe to your newsletter, you’re going to need plugins for all of that.
2. Performance and Security
WordPress’ immense global popularity makes it a haven for hackers and cyber attacks of all types.
Whether it’s stealing valuable user data stored on your server or infecting your site with malware, these attacks could cripple your online presence, not to mention your business. This is why it’s so important to install WordPress security plugins like the ones we’ll look at later, ensuring that your site is as healthy and hack-proof as possible.
Elsewhere, you’ll find that every new image you upload, every blog post you publish, and every contact form submission you receive puts a drain on your server’s resources. This could slow your site down to the point that it provides a frustrating experience for your users.
For this reason, it’s equally as important to use at least one performance optimization plugin so that you can be sure your site loads quickly and performs at its best at all times.
This article was written by Team WPLift and originally published on Learn WordPress with WPLift.