Using WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins are bits of software that can be uploaded to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site.

Since WordPress is open source software, these are all third party tools that add-on to what WordPress can do. They’re easy to download and install. Some are premium (there is a fee to purchase them) and others are free. Plugins can do things like improve your search engine optimization, display related posts in your sidebar, do complete backups of your WordPress site (BackupBuddy) or create stunning web forms quickly and easily (Gravity Forms).

You can add just about any functionality to WordPress with plugins. The WordPress Plugin Directory is a repository of free plugins that have been (somewhat) vetted. There are currently more than 40,000 plugins in the WordPress directory, so there are a lot of options.

Free vs. Premium WordPress Plugins

As we just mentioned, there are tons of WordPress plugins available for free download from the Plugin Directory. There are also premium or paid WordPress plugins.

Why would you want to pay for a plugin? Well, there are several reasons:

• While there are thousands of plugins available for free from the plugin directory, paid plugins usually offer a full time support staff and developers that work on maintaining the security and compatibility of plugins with the latest version of WordPress, as well as with other themes and plugins.

• Most of the time, plugins play nicely with the core of WordPress and with other plugins, but sometimes a plugin’s code will get in the way of another plugin, causing compatibility issues. With a paid plugin, it’s just nice to know you have support staff that can help you out if anything goes wrong.


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