Plugins add functionality to your website. It can be something simple, like adding your Facebook link or a form for people to fill out. Or it can be something really sophisticated—like a video slideshow. Or even how to change the fonts on your site.
How do I get the plugins?
I've got my Sidebar Menu. I'm going to hover over Plugins, and I can go to Add New
This process is very similar to when we were looking at themes earlier. You'll notice there's a bar across the top. I've got featured, which are the ones WordPress thinks are most likely something I'd like to use. There's also Popular—these are the ones that everybody's using. There's Recommended—choices you probably want to keep for functionality. If there's something I'm looking for in particular, I can do a search.
For example, one of the plugins that people use frequently is something called Elementor, which allows you to create drag and drop layouts inside of your posts or pages. Wordfence Security—that's something that allows you to keep your WordPress site secure from people who are trying to hack in. And Updraft Plus—for backing up your site.
So you can see there's a lot of different functionality here.
But what if there's something specific that you're looking for? You can search for it here. For example, I can search for Google Fonts. I want the ability to be able to customize that. And this is one. Notice Easy Google Fonts is from a theme company. But look at my ratings here, as well as how many people are currently using it. When it was last updated and if it works with the version that we're using. This is especially important; if it's been a year since, and it's untested, you may not want to add this plugin. It doesn't mean it won't work—it might not have needed an update. It might be something so simple that it doesn't need an update. But, if it's untested—you could be asking for trouble.
Let's take a look at Facebook, for example. Notice there are a lot of different Facebook feeds—and this one was last updated two months ago, it's compatible with this version, and there are more than 200,000 people using it. So this is going to give you a little bit of an idea.
Now, if you did want to install something, you could click the Install Now button—but it's always good to go to More Details when it's something that you're not familiar with. This is going to show you a bit of information about it. Most of these are going to show you screenshots. Some will show you what it looks like, either while you're working on it or on the website itself (or a combination of the two). Often they have FAQs or forums so you can read about them and find out if there are going to be any issues before you even install it.
I also could purchase plugins from a 3rd party—or I could have a coder or be coding myself and create my own plugin. In that case, I would click the Upload Plugin button from here. Once I do that, I have to browse to where that ZIP file is and install it from there.
But let's look at one of the popular ones here—Yoast SEO. That's a plugin that people use for search engine optimization. I know it was last updated very recently. I know more than a million people are using it—it's what everybody is using. So all I need to do is click the Install Now button. And again—this just copies it to my folder. It's not actually running until I activate it.
Now it's active and running. You'll notice this is a freemium, meaning there's a limited version for free. For all of the bells and whistles, you're going to have to pay them.
That's how we install plugins. Once we've added that plugin, you're going to see one of two things: either it will go into Settings for how to set it up, or like Yoast SEO, it'll create a new menu in the Sidebar specifically for it.
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