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Plugins: Why & How To Use Them?


No matter its functionality, no single software can deliver every function to different types of users. Besides, given the costs they attract, it’s not feasible for users to invest in various types of programs.

But how do you access different functions over one software without having to code or spend a lot of money?

The answer is simple, get the right plugins.

But, What Are Plugins?

Plugins are tools that bridge the gap between function and form. They allow applications to access specific features and streamline the approach of a given software without affecting its source code.

But what exactly are plugins? Why should you use them? More importantly, do they matter?

Continue reading this blog as we understand more about what plugins are and how you could use them to streamline your business. Let’s get started!

Why Do Plugins Matter?

Plugins are essential as they ease the pressure on generic software solutions. In addition, they provide consumers the freedom to add features as they see fit. What’s more? These plugins don’t change the underlying code, making it simple to add or delete them without impairing the functionality of the product as a whole.

For instance, consider the world’s most popular PC operating system – Windows. It is used by corporations and individuals alike, allowing users to:

  • Edit photographs
  • Browse the World Wide Web
  • Create complex documents
  • Use familiar software programs

However, Windows is limiting! For instance, most Windows versions offer basic image editing tools that lack the functions provided by other advanced options. This is where plugins enter as a solution to serve these key functions without relying on in-software solutions.

Additionally, plugins are essential for streamlining website functions and forms. For instance, if you’re an eCommerce owner with a WordPress website, you could incorporate various plugins to streamline operations like distributing and segregating marketing emails, analyzing traffic data, or optimizing your website content.

Interestingly, that’s not all. Apart from the WordPress marketplace, users can also visit third parties and install their website on their platform. For instance, you visit Coingate to access their crypto payments plugin and accept cryptocurrencies as legal tender for your shop.

This way, plugins offer core functions without hindering operational conflict or software restrictions that could take the website offline.

So now that we know the ‘why,’ let’s understand how to use software plugins in the following section. 

How To Use Plugins On Your System Or Website

Thanks to their usability and the market type, most plugins we have today are available as free downloads. So, to install the plugin, you must visit the developer’s website and click on the ‘plugin link’ to obtain the installer for the plugin of your choice.

Once done, you can save the installer for a given plugin on your desktop or a dedicated folder for convenient access. After you’ve installed the plugin, here’s how you can proceed with the following steps:

  1. To install the plugin on your PC, open it and follow the on-screen instructions after downloading the installer.

(Note: You may need to restart your system or web browser to use the plugin’s extra features.)

  1. Post the installation; you can either create a shortcut to access the ‘plugin’ or visit the folder where you’ve installed it.
  1. For the final step, you need to double-click to open and access it. However, if you’ve downloaded the plugins on your WordPress website, you can access them from the homepage section.

However, before you install any plugin, ensure that they’re compatible with the latest OS version, as plugins need frequent updates, much like conventional software.

Best Practices To Get The Best Plugins

Given the numerous plugins that cater to similar functions, it’s evident that you might get confused about settling with an individual option. So to help you better, we’ve curated a list of best practices you could follow before adding any plugin. 

a. Security should be your priority:

Plugins request individual permissions from device owners and website administrators to provide essential features. These frequently include having access to certain gadget features or data, allowing them to facilitate the desired results.

However, only some plugins are safe! Today, many plugins are created to destroy or steal data, raising security concerns. Therefore, it’s always wise to consider the permissions that plugins request. For instance, if a new video plugin requests access to your documents folder or private data, ask why, and deny the request if something appears fishy.

b. Consider the costs associated with the plugin:

Even though many excellent free plugins are available, employing them on your website incurs costs (not in monetary terms). For example, when you have a lot of plugins on your page, it will take longer to load and use more bandwidth.

Therefore, it’s crucial to find a balance between a given plugin’s overall performance and potential. Besides, you might also want to limit the number of plugins on your device or website.

c. Evaluate new options

To provide value-added functionality; plugins must keep up with software development. As mentioned above, plugin functionalities will ultimately cease to function if plugin creators stop updating their code.

Here, it would be wise to research the ‘best’ plugins and review them to ensure you obtain the ideal software form and coding framework. This will enable you to achieve the optimal balance between speed, size, and specific functions.

Be Smart With Your Plugins!

There are several ways to expand the potential of your operations with the right plugins. Therefore, with this understanding of when and how to leverage plugins, we hope you’re now prepared to choose suitable modules for your system or website. All the best!

Read more – 5 Best WordPress Real Estate Plugins for 2022

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