Chapter 35. Installing and Activating Plugins

There are a lot of things that WordPress doesn't do, and that's a good thing. The simpler the base, the more secure, the more bug-free, and the more efficient it can be. It's also easier to update a simple structure. But you'll probably want WordPress to do more, and that's where plugins fit in, so to speak.

In this lesson you learn about finding, installing, and activating plugins. Lesson 37 provides a quick guide to help you sort through the more than 6,500 plugins available — in the few days I was working on this chapter, more than 150 plugins were added to the directory!

What Is a Plugin?

Plugins are scripts that provide additional functionality to WordPress by using a combination of built-in WordPress code and new code. Plugins vary in complexity from a half page of script to folders with dozens of scripts and database tables.

Most plugins are open-source and available at no charge from thousands of individuals who often develop a feature for their own site and then share it with the WordPress community. Most plugin authors accept donations or have wish lists, and I strongly encourage everyone to send even a few dollars their way to help compensate for the incredible amount of time and talent they devote.

One of the best things about plugins is that you can unplug them. That's important because it helps protect the base of your website, by keeping the plugins separate from the core WordPress files. If something goes wrong with a plugin, ...

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