In a previous article we told you more about how to build your own website with WordPress in a few easy steps. Actually, your website can become even better and more functional with special plugins.
A plugin is a software component which is installed on a particular platform (in this case WordPress) and adds specific features to it. The plugins enable you to customize the website’s content or appearance and add useful features to the site’s back-end or front-end. They can be very easily installed under the Plugins menu in the WordPress administration. There you can view, enable or disable the already installed plugins and add new ones.
Whatever you want to achieve with your site, someone has probably already developed a suitable plugin that will help you. The most commonly used plugins are for SEO оptimization, importing data from another WordPress website, adding animation effects, sliders, building online galleries, adding a multi-language support, data caching, etc.
On the web you can find free (available on WordPress.org) or premium plugins. The premium versions provide you with the advantage of having full support. The developers make sure that the plugins are compatible with the latest WоrdPress releases. They would gladly assist you in case of any incompatibility between the plugins, installed on a WordPress website. The free alternatives also offer support, but it is not as quick and timely as with their premium versions.
How to choose the most suitable plugin for your website?
It doesn’t matter whether you choose a premium or a free plugin. It is important that it meets your requirements. Make a list of all the features you need and look for one or more plugins to fully suit your needs.
On WordPress.org you can find lots of useful information on how to choose the right plugin.
- Each plugin is presented by a description from which you can learn more about the way it works. There is also a FAQ section. You might find the answers you need there.
- What is more, in the Screenshots tab you can get an idea how your plugin will look like on the back-end and decide if this is the right solution for your website.
- Under Changelog you can track the changes made in the latest versions as well as the fixed bugs.
- In the Stats section you will find out how many times a certain plugin has been downloaded and if it is widely used.
- The Support section provides you with information on different issues and how quickly they were solved.
- There are reviews published for each plugin as it’s also evaluated by users. The best rated plugins (5-stars) are most likely a good choice for your website.
Did you know that…
There are tens of thousands of plugins installed on our servers. 27% of those are actually among the top 20 of the most popular ones. You can see them here:
More interesting and common plugins are available under the Popular section on the official WordPress.org website.
Tips from the support:
- We recommend that you always check the plugin’s compatibility with your WordPress version before installing it. Read the reviews and look for information about its vulnerabilities on the web. You can also find many useful pieces of advice among forums, on Facebook groups or websites of the WordPress community.
- Many themes come with plugins. After changing your theme, always check whether there are new plugins installed to your website and look for more information on the issues described above.
- We highly recommend that you make a full website backup before installing and enabling a new plugin.
- It is always a good idea to make a backup before you update, disable or uninstall a plugin.
- We advise you to use a separate development environment (test site) when installing, configuring or uninstalling a plugin so that you prevent any possible damage to your official website. This might mean cloning the website – copying the entire website along with the database as you put it in a separate site in your hosting account. In this way you will be able to test the settings of a given plugin without the visitors seeing it. Then later you can implement all the changes to the official website.