Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video Finding, vetting, and selecting plugins, part of WordPress 4 Essential Training.
- Like with themes, you can browse and install all the plugins hosted in the official WordPress Plugin Directory directly from the admin panel. Before we do that, let's take a look at the Plugin Directory itself. Once people start using WordPress, one of the first questions they ask is, "What plugins should I install?" This usually leads them to the Plugin Directory where they start searching for the most popular plugins. If you recognize yourself in this description, let me walk you back from the edge, Finding plugins is not a matter of following a list of recommendations.
It's about figuring out what your site needs, and finding the best solution. Let me give you an example. Let's say you want to add a contact form to your site. If you search "contact" in the Plugin Directory, you'll see there are hundreds of options. As a new user, how would you know which one to choose? Well, there are some tools, built into the Plugin Directory, both on the web, and in WordPress Admin that can help you out. All plugins are listed with their name, logo, author, and metadata.
In the metadata, you will find how many active installations exist of this plugin, what the average rating is, and how many people have rated it. And even a link to the plugin reviews. Using this information, you can vet many of these plugins to make sure they are as good as they all claim to be. A plugin with thousands of active downloads, and only two good reviews, is probably not as good as one with hundreds of active downloads, but 20 good reviews. Likewise, a plugin with five stars, but only 400 users is probably not as good as an equivalent plugin with four stars, 40,000 active users.
Here you have to use your judgment, and do some critical-thinking to find the best solution. Once you find a plugin you think you want to use, go on the web, and look for some reviews. People often write reviews or tutorials about plugins. We even have some right here in the lynda.com library. And by reading these, you can often get a better idea of whether this particular plugin is worth downloading. If after all this, you still think you've found the right option, take it for a test-drive in your site.
I'll often test four or five or even ten plugins before landing on a final decision. And when I do, I often end up swapping my choice out for another one a few months or a few years down the road. There's nothing wrong with that. Finally, only keep the plugins you actually use installed on your site. If you test a plugin, and it doesn't work, delete it. If you deactivate a plugin, because you no longer need it, delete it. You can always download a new version later. Leaving inactive plugins in your install takes up space, and can lead to security issues.
Better to keep your WordPress site nice and tidy.
Note: This course covers an older version of WordPress, which features the Classic Editor. Watch this course only if you are using the Classic Editor plugin or using WordPress 4.9 or earlier. Otherwise, watch WordPress 5 Essential Training, which covers the new Block Editor experience.
- Creating posts and pages
- Formatting text
- Publishing and scheduling posts
- Adding images, audio, and video
- Bulk editing posts and pages
- Customizing themes and menus
- Using widgets
- Extending WordPress with plugins
- Editing users profiles
- Configuring settings
- Getting new readers
- Keeping WordPress up to date and secure
Skill Level Beginner
1. Getting to Know WordPress
What is WordPress?3m 30s
2. Getting Started
3. Creating Posts
4. Adding Images and Media
5. Creating Pages
6. Managing Content
7. Changing the Appearance of Your Site
8. Extending WordPress with Plugins
9. Users and User Profiles
10. Configuring Settings
11. Getting, and Interacting with, Readers
12. WordPress: Behind the Curtain
13. Maintenance and Security
Keeping up to date6m 59s
14. Diving Further into the World of WordPress
Going further with WordPress2m 29s
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