What is a Widget and Plugins in WordPress?


What is a Widget and Plugins in WordPress?
What is a Widget and Plugins in WordPress?

Over the last few years, the topic of plugins and widgets has been discussed more and more. Without the use of plugins or widgets, it's hard to imagine how a WordPress site should really work.

In this article, you will learn what plugins are, why and how to use them, where to get them, and how to make updates. In addition, we will discuss some of the most basic and popular plugins. Finally, you'll learn how to use widgets to make the sidebar more useful and easy to navigate.

What are the plug-ins

Simply put, plugins are a collection of various scripts containing some executable PHP code that allow you to add new functionality to your WordPress site.

One of the biggest advantages of WordPress is that it is a highly optimized platform that does not contain too much redundant code in order to make the site run faster. However, this also results in its functionality being very basic and to get more extended functionality, you need to resort to plugins for that. If you want the website to be able to handle specific tasks, then you need a plugin that corresponds to it. If you compare a website to a computer or a cell phone, then plugins are the applications that are installed on it.

Why use plug-ins

The great thing about plugins is that you don't need any programming knowledge to use them. That is, you can enjoy the power they provide without having to know what's going on inside. Having said that, not all plugins are reliable when it comes to data security or code quality, a topic we will discuss later.

The right combination of plugins can make your site more optimized, more attractive, easier to navigate, and better for social media. In addition to site acceleration, data backup, spam comment protection, and more, plugins are definitely one of the best features of WordPress.

Before the popularity of content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, we couldn't find an easy way to introduce new features on our websites and always needed to hire professional programmers and manage the whole development process. But it's not what it used to be, and anyone can have a sophisticated website without having to deal with complex programming and technical issues.

Where to get the plugin from

Behind WordPress plugins is a large community of developers around the world who create plugins for distribution over the Internet. In the vast majority of cases, the plugins they offer are free, and the best place to view plugins is the official WordPress website at

At the time of this writing, the WordPress catalog has over 54,000 different plugins, and that number is expanding every day. This is truly impressive considering that many of these plugins are advanced web software and not just simple add-ons.

In addition to free plugins, there are a large number of premium paid plugins available, but you won't be able to find them in the official catalog, and most of these plugins are sold through their own websites. If you are interested, you can find some popular premium plugins here.

Find a new plugin

Generally speaking, if a plugin has proven to be a quality solution and has gained a lot of popularity, it will most likely be showcased in the Featured Plugins section of the official directory. In addition, another way to find plugins is to frequently browse popular blogs about WordPress, which, while not officially created, do offer some useful tips and advice, not only on plugins, but on other aspects related to WordPress. This list includes the following.

  1. https://bobwp.com/
  2. https://yoast.com/
  3. https://wptavern.com/
  4. https://themefuse.com/blog/
  5. https://www.wpbeginner.com/
  6. https://www.codeinwp.com/blog/
  7. https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/

Installing plug-ins

The steps to install the plugin are very simple.

  1. Find the required plug-in
  2. Download manually or automatically to your own WordPress site
  3. Install and activate
  4. Getting Started
  5. There are two ways to install plugins to a WordPress site.
  6. Manual installation

As an example, we will install a popular plugin called Jetpack, which can make your WordPress site more functional and easier to use at the same time. First we will search for Jetpack in the official directory at

Click on the first result to enter the details page, then click on the Download button on the right.

The browser will start downloading a .zip file, we wait for the file to finish downloading, then go to the Plugins → Install Plugins menu in wp-admin and click on the Upload Plugin button in the upper left corner to.

Once the upload is complete, click the Enable Plugin button at.

Now that you have completed the Jetpack installation, let's discuss a simpler installation method before configuring the plugin.

  1. Automatic installation

If the plugin you want to install is located in the official directory, then you can search and install it directly in wp-admin. Go to Plugins → Install Plugins menu and since Jetpack is one of the most popular plugins at the moment, we can see on the first page.

Simply click the Install Now button and WordPress will automatically download and install, wait a little while, then click the Enable button at.

Now you have installed and activated the plugin. One more thing, some plugins work fine immediately after activation, but others may require some additional tweaking, here are four possible scenarios.

  1. you don't need to do anything, some plugins just change certain ways of handling WordPress, just activate them.
  2. (a) You may need to configure the plugin before it can begin to function properly.
  3. You can obtain a set of short codes or other elements to be used in articles or pages.
  4. there may be no configuration page, but you need to add some code to the theme's template files.
  5. If you don't know what to do after activating the plugin, be sure to read the documentation that comes with the plugin, or check out the online FAQ.

Gadgets

The widget is one of the main features of WordPress, the main purpose is to provide us with an easy way to customize the sidebar, header and footer. In addition, theme developers can place widgets anywhere on the site, commonly used widgets include.

  1. Monthly archiving of blog posts
  2. List of clickable pages
  3. Clickable list of recent articles
  4. Metadata box with login, logout, RSS links, etc.
  5. Recent Comments
  6. List of clickable categories
  7. Tag Cloud
  8. Text Box
  9. Custom HTML
  10. Search box
  11. Currently, most themes provide good support for widgets, to manage widgets on the site, navigate to the Appearance → Widgets menu at
  12. The way to use the widgets is very simple, the only thing you need to do is to drag and drop any visible window widget into the footer area on the right. As you can see above, the footer already contains six widgets by default: Search, Recent Posts, Recent Comments, Post Archive, Category and Features. As a demonstration, let's remove the article archive, category directory and features and add a navigation menu widget.
  13. Now, we can add a title to the navigation menu and select a menu via the drop-down box. When finished, click the Save button and here's what the site will look like after the menu is placed in the footer.
  14. The process of enabling other widgets is similar, all you need to do is to drag and drop your favorite widgets to the area you want to display and adjust their settings and content. As the site grows gradually, you will definitely need to install more advanced themes and plugins eventually, which will come with more widgets and offer more options for settings. The following image shows the widget pages of the Top Ten Review.
  15. In the bottom left corner of the screen, there is also an area marked as unused gadgets. Many gadgets have their own settings and parameters, so if you don't want to display them on your website or lose the settings you already have, then you can put them here in case you want to use them again in the future.

Summary

The purpose of this article is to help you extend the functionality available on your website in order to make it more attractive, and basically, that's what WordPress plugins exist for.

In fact, most developers don't need to use plugins because they can write their own code. However, for other non-professionals, feature-rich plugins make WordPress more powerful and easier to use.

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