In the world of WordPress, plugins play a significant role. On a fundamental level, plugins help to add functions and features to your WordPress site.
WordPress has been designed to keep its core framework lean and simple. That means it comes with the basic functionalities and offers flexibility for users to customize according to specific requirements. Now, if you have good coding knowledge, WordPress offers a lot of scope for customization with hooks and filters to modify features and functionalities. For the rest of us out there, plugins are the saviors.
A plugin is a set of functional PHP code, built to perform specific functions relevant to your WordPress site. By simply installing a plugin, you can extend the functionalities as well as add new features relevant to the scope of your WordPress site. Plugins can be as simple as the default, Hello Dolly plugin, or as complex as the hugely popular eCommerce platform, WooCommerce. When you set up a self hosting site on WordPress.org, you are also opening yourself to the immense possibilities of these plugins.
Why use plugins?
Let us go a little deeper and see what exactly is the use of these plugins. With its simple structure, WordPress allows you to keep your site lean and mean. And plugins help you customize your site with just the required functionalities and nothing more. In fact, plugins allow you to completely transform the dynamics of your site. It is possible to achieve whatever you envision on your site without any particular knowledge of coding. For example, plugins let you create an eCommerce store, a membership site, a photograph archive, a job board, and so on… And more importantly, it is quite simple to find and install a plugin.
Where to find plugins?
So when you decide to download a plugin for your site, the best place to do that would be through the WordPress Plugin Repository. You can find a huge number of free plugins here (over 54,000 while writing this tutorial). Just like how you did in the theme directory, you can browse through the available plugins and find the one that you are looking for.