What is a Plug-in?
Plug-ins are elements within WordPress that extend the features and functionality of a WP powered site or blog. There are currently over 30,000 plug-ins to date.
You can find a plug-in that will help you to do or display just about anything on your site. If you want to monitor your site traffic using Google Analytics without signing into your actual account, you can install a plug-in that will show you the information in your WP dashboard.
One of the primary advantages of using the self-hosted version of WordPress is the ability to upload and use plug-ins of your choice. The free version (WordPress.com) has a few already installed and ready for you. If you want access to more, you will have to upgrade to one of their paid plans.
Free vs. Premium Plug-ins
Just like with themes, there are both free and premium (paid) plug-ins available for you to use. The major difference between the two options is support. There is no guarantee that the maker of a free plug-in will be there to answer any questions you may have or assist with any problems that may arise.
However, you can check the forum sections on the WP site where is there is community of people help. Some plug-in makers will release both a free and paid version of their plug-in. With the paid version, you are paying for extra features, free upgrades, and support.
For the most part, free plug-ins are just as good. However, before you buy make sure it’s the right investment for you and your needs.
How many plug-ins should you install on your site?
There is no max number of plugins I can recommend. Your site’s speed can be affect by a variety of things but the amount of plugin install may not be one of them. It may be the quality of the plug-in. Here is some key advice to keep in mind.
- If you go six months without using a particular plug-in, then go ahead and delete it. If you think you may need it, write down the name somewhere or bookmarked the link to it’s page in the directory.
- If you see that your plug-in hasn’t been updated in 7 or more months, then you should start looking for a replacement. If the plug-in hasn’t been update in 12 months of more, delete it.
- Be sure the plug-in you’re using or want to use is compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
- Lastly, try not to have more than one similar plug-in active. For example, two contact form plug-ins. They may bump heads.