Exactly what are plug-ins and how can you manage to install them on your content management system? Discover the definition of the name, what they are used for and which ones to choose so that your website is always at the top.
What are plug-ins and why are they needed?
Plug-ins are non-autonomous programs which, in interaction with other programs or software, extend the functionality of the latter. This is why they are also called add-ons. In fact, not all software is born “full-optional”. To increase its functionality, it is therefore necessary to install specific plug-ins. There are, of course, for all tastes and all uses, in every field of computer science. If you are reading this article, you are probably looking for plug-ins to implement the functionality of your website or e-commerce. For example, do you want to equip your B & B website with an online booking system? You can download the ad hoc plug-in. Or do you want to turn your site into a real online store? Then you need to download the plug-ins specifically designed to manage an e-commerce site like Commercial License. And so on. There are graphical plug-ins, plug-ins that implement the security of your site and many others.
Install plug-ins on the site, procedure in simple steps
Now that you know what plug-ins are, you will ask yourself: how do you go about installing plug-ins? If you use WordPress as a CMS, or as a platform for managing site content, you just have to access the backend and on the left bar click on plug-in. You will see a series of plug-ins on the screen that you just need to download by clicking on “Install now “. You can also search, if you know the name of the plug-in you want to install or, at least, its category. You can install free or paid WordPress plugins. Many free plug-ins also have a premium version. The WordPress CMS, however, recommends a series of components to be installed to ensure maximum security and functionality of your site. Then there are popular and reported. Or you can search for those of your interest among free and paid offers.
If instead you don’t use WordPress as CMS, but for example, Joomla! The procedure is quite similar. After logging in to the backend, click on Extensions (or Extension Manager, if you use the English version). So also for the other CMS. For convenience, however, we focus on WordPress which among the content management systems is certainly one of the most popular and most used.
Is installing WordPress plug-in really that simple?
After learning what plug-ins are and how you can install them on your CMS, here’s what you need to do if the plug-in you are looking for isn’t already in the list. In other words, you have to look for it externally and upload it to your backend through the “Add plug-in ” button. The answer, in most cases, is therefore: yes, it is quite simple to install plug-ins for your site.
But where to find the plug-ins to install? If you use WordPress as a CMS, there is a directory on the WordPress.org site with over 55,000 plug-ins to search for those that are right for you. Then click on download button to start the download in zip file directly on your computer. Later, by accessing the backend of your site, you can load the plug-in on the system, activate it and use it. Of course, before doing this procedure, search directly on the backend: maybe the plug-in you are looking for is already present and just install it without going through the PC memory!
If you use other CMS the procedure, as we said, is not dissimilar. With Joomla! for example, it is possible to access the large pool of extensions available directly from the control panel thanks to the Joomla Extension Finder (JEF). This is possible from the Joomla 3 version onwards. Find out where / how to install add-ons based on the CMS you use.
What are plug-ins: advantages and disadvantages?
The great advantage of the plug-ins is that it allows developers to use codes already written and tested by other developers for certain features, saving a lot of programming time.
- Do you have to create a site full of photo galleries? There are plug-ins that allow the management of these galleries.
- Do you need to create a customer database or collect data through your landing page? There are plug-ins dedicated precisely to the operation and management of contact forms.
- Do you need to optimize SEO – search engine optimization of your site? You can download and install a plug-in on your CMS that guides you in this direction.
- And so on. The disadvantage, however, of installing plug-ins lies in the fact that:
- They must be kept constantly updated
- They can often conflict with each other
- They can weigh down the loading speed of your site with negative effects also on your positioning.
The advantages, however, outweigh the inconveniences caused by some disadvantages that can in any case be contained with a few small tricks. How to limit the use of installed plug-ins to the minimum necessary for the website to function. Or with the installation of a plug-in that optimizes the loading speed of the site.
Remember, the loading speed of your site is essential to have a good positioning on the web and be found by your potential customers!