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A plug-in (or plugin) is a set of software components that adds specific abilities to a larger software application. If supported, plug-ins enable customizing the functionality of an application. For example, plug-ins are commonly used in web browsers to play video, scan for viruses, and display new file types. Well-known plug-ins examples include Adobe Flash Player, QuickTime, and Java Applets.
Plugins can extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine. Plugins are tools to extend the functionality of WordPress. This article contains a list of plugins by category, and links to other plugin repositories. The core of WordPress is designed to be lean, to maximize flexibility and minimize code bloat. Plugins offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor their site to their specific needs.
It includes the following topics -
WordPress Plugins are composed of php scripts that extend the functionality of WordPress. They offer new additions to your blog that either enhance features that were already available or add otherwise unavailable new features to your site.
The majority of WordPress users don't require Plugins, or only require a few, such as Plugins dealing with comment spam or customized post listings. Other users enjoy the varied options Plugins provide such as frequently updated weather reports, post word counts, rating systems, and more. WordPress Plugins are optional, based upon the needs of the user, thus incorporated into the core of WordPress.
Plugins available via the WordPress Plugins Directory site are designed by volunteers and are usually free to the public. WordPress Plugins hosted in the WordPress Plugins Directory are considered thoroughly tested and "safe." Remember, WordPress Plugins are the responsibility of the author and the user, and they are typically works-in-progress as WordPress grows and expands.
If you want to develop your own Plugins, there is a comprehensive list of resources at Plugin Resources.
You can find WordPress Plugins in the Administration Panels > Plugins > Add New panel, or directly via the Official WordPress Plugins Directory.
Check the WordPress Plugin listing on the Plugins List on your WordPress site, or on the WordPress Plugins Directory to determine compatibility and if updates are available.
If a WordPress Plugin update is available, it will be shown on the Dashboard Panel, an alert on the Plugin's menu title, and on the Plugin List. Follow the instructions to update the Plugin.
If a WordPress Plugin is not compatible or updated for the next release of WordPress, contact the Plugin author directly for information on the next update and compatibility issues.
To add a WordPress Plugin using the built-in plugin installer:
Some WordPress Plugins require more steps to customize them. The Details ReadMe file should contain step-by-step instructions. After installation, this information is available on the Plugins Panel for each Plugin. If you are having problems with a WordPress Plugin.
For information on how to install a WordPress Plugin manually.
There are a few cases when manually installing a WordPress Plugin is appropriate.
Installation of a WordPress Plugin manually requires FTP familiarity and the awareness that you may put your site at risk if you install a WordPress Plugin incompatible with the current version or from an unreliable source.
Backup your site completely before proceeding.
To install a WordPress Plugin manually:
Check the Details readme file for customization and further instructions.
Occasionally, a WordPress Plugin may not work as expected, or at all, or conflict with another WordPress Plugin.
If you are experiencing problems with a Plugin you installed or one that stopped working after upgrades, the following are the steps you need to take to troubleshoot the Plugin:
To uninstall a WordPress Plugin:
The Plugin will initate the deactivation.
Most WordPress Plugins have an option to completely uninstall themselves, though not all. If you wish to remove a WordPress Plugin permanently:
The following are WordPress Plugin tips and techniques for advanced users and developers.
Plugins are managed from the Plugins screen in the Administration Screens of your WordPress site. All Plugins listed on this screen are found in your wp-content/plugins directory. Each Plugin has a description in its header section of what it does, an author and website to refer to, and a version number. If you do not see the Plugin in the list of installed Plugins, most likely it is missing the "File Header":
The header section defines:
The header section defines:
Most WordPress Themes no longer require direct modification to a WordPress Theme. If you are using a WordPress Theme that does no, you need to know:
If you are using the Multisite version of WordPress, Must Use Plugins are special WordPress Plugins installed in a special directory next to the normal /plugins/ dir (/mu-plugins/). They are 'must-use' because once their file is placed in the /mu-plugins/ directory. They are instantly activated and cannot be de-activated using the admin Plugins panel as don't even show up on the list.
Must-use Plugins are useful for installing WordPress Plugins on all sites in a Mutisite installation to make WordPress Plugins functionality across the entire blog network. They are loaded before normal Plugins by PHP, which means that code and hooked-functions registered in an mu-plugin can be assumed available to all other Plugins.
When activated, some WordPress Plugins add tags to the template files. Upon such a Plugin's deactivation, these tags may remain in place and can affect the look and/or functionality of the Theme, resulting in errors or even failures to load. It is therefore imperative to prevent the Plugin from being detected and used, if it is deactivated.
To determine if such a condition exists, you can add some php code to the template file where the Plugin was used, and perform a simple function_exists() check. To do so, add the code in the example below and configure it for the function you'd like to check. Then upload the modified template to your WordPress Content folder.
The if (function_exists()) checks for the Plugin, and if it exists (activated or not), it will use it. If it returns FALSE or "not found", it will ignore the Plugin tag and continue loading the page.
This example Plugin uses a function called alex_get_shoutbox() to print out its contents.