Lesson 35Installing 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 36, “More Plugin Suggestions,” provides a quick guide to help you sort through the more than 37,000 plugins available—during the week I was working on this lesson, more than 350 plugins were added to the directory!

What Is a Plugin?

Plugins are a file or set of files that provide additional functionality to WordPress, from simple tasks such as removing the version number of WordPress to creating a full-fledged shopping cart system.

The name refers to the simplicity of adding these scripts to WordPress—you just “plug” them in with the click of a mouse. You may have to do some configuration, depending on the complexity of the function, but even then the vast majority of plugins are meant to be used by novice and expert WordPress users alike.

One of the best things about plugins is that you can unplug them. That's important because it helps protect your website by keeping the plugins separate from the core WordPress files. If something goes wrong, either because of a conflict with other plugins or when you update WordPress, or you change your mind ...

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