A WordPress plugin is a small software or a script which you can install into your WordPress website to extend or expand the website’s functionality. By using Plugins, you will be able to do more with your website within the shortest period of time.
In general a WordPress plugin is developed with the use of server side scripts like PHP. If a plugin requires the use of database access, then it will also use mysql programming. At the beginning of the WordPress plugin concept, plugins were developed as simple PHP scripts which one can easily install on a website to extend the site’s functionality. But today, plugins come with their own WordPress backend user interface, which helps the user to gain full control over the plugins functionality. According to critics, wordpress plugins have helped the people who are not into web coding more and more interested into using a website to promote their business or personal cause.
The two most common forms of plugins are 1. Free plugins and 2. Premium plugins. While most of the free WordPress plugins are available in the WordPress plugin repository (a simplified public storage), you have to buy the premium ones from the developer’s website and from reputed plugin market like codecanyon.com. Price range of premium plugins lays between $5 to $250. Some of the leading premium security and SEO (search engine optimization) plugins charges on a monthly basis as well. If you are looking to use a WordPress plugin to gain long term benefit, then it is always recommended to go for the premium plugins as they come with extended support from the developer team.
There is also another type of WordPress plugins, known as the default plugins which come as preinstalled with each pack of WordPress. Two of most popular default WordPress plugins are: Akismet and Hello dolly. Akismet plugin will help you to manage spam comments on your website, the Hello Dolly is just a symbol of WordPress plugin and nothing more.
Although plugins are very useful and makes life of webmasters (an individual who owns a website) easier, it is always recommended to only use plugins that are verified and have proper authentication built into it. As most of the plugins have easy access to your website database and hosting as a whole, hackers can easily use so called free plugins to create a backdoor and manipulate your website for their own personal gain.