This is a common question among most of us common people, who would want to know how are people making money. Well, for this we will have to change our orientation and the way of thinking. The first thing that comes to my mind when you have such questions is there are people who are not passionate enough to give back to society what they learned.

The second thing is, common people, do not have the right vision to make money by selling free stuff. This is the first lesson of marketing. Offering free services and making money out of it, and WordPress is no special in this regard.

So why are WordPress Plugins free of cost?

WordPress is an open-source platform where the development takes place as a community, instead of as a company. Each developer develops the software passionately, without expecting monetary benefits. Moreover, WordPress has a commercial venture that supports the hosting of websites developed using WordPress. Because the whole platform is open source, most of the plugins that support this open-source CMS are free of cost.

However, there are a lot of premium plugins that are offered at different prices. This is the concept of open source. Let us see in the next section if WordPress really has free plugins and some examples.

Does WordPress have free plugins?

Of course. As told in the previous section, there are a lot of free plugins that are of great use. But before that, let us understand what plugins are.

What are Plugins in WordPress?

As you might be knowing, WordPress is written in PHP. Moreover, WordPress comes with limited functionality. To customize the readymade functionality, people with coding knowledge can extend and create plugins based on the frequency of a new requirement. Most of the time, this is developed by a passionate volunteer, who does not expect any monetary benefit.

This is the reason why most of the plugins are free of cost and can be customized according to our ways. Unless we are sure and know how to create our own plugins, WordPress is free. In reality, it is free and open-source for the developers.

If we want a specific functionality, only then would we need a premium plugin that can be looked for using this article. In that article, we have listed a lot many market places that list both free and premium themes and plugins.

Now that we have understood what plugins are and who creates these plugins, we have to understand that there are lot more developers who have created free plugins with additional premium functionalities open only for the premium customers who pay.

Let us discuss these types in one of the coming sections.

How can I get free WordPress plugins?

There are a lot of channels that take you to places where you can get free plugins. Of them, the most authenticated will certainly be the WordPress repository. Here is where you can, without worrying, confidently download, install, and activate.

Before installing, you can check the compatibility, as the plugins page will automatically display if there are issues. It not only does this but also checks if there is any malicious code in the plugin that you are about to install.

You can consider this as the Android Play Store or Apple App Store for WordPress Plugins. You can follow this link to view tons of free WordPress from the repository. This can be accessed within the WordPress session by going to the Plugins tab in the left sidebar and selecting the Add plugins.

Do WordPress plugins cost money?

As told before there are two types of plugins.

Free Plugins, that are available both inside and outside the WordPress repository. They are generally useful for people that have WordPress knowledge (I mean technical knowledge like PHP, CSS, JavaScript, etc.).

Premium Plugins, that are available outside from different developers who sell them as packages or extensions to free Plugins. As in, consider a plugin developer, by name x and they have a plugin that adds a security feature to WordPress by adding a captcha.

They can limit this functionality to the login page and extend the functionality to comments only in the premium version, charging some x amount to it.

This is the main difference between a free and premium plugin that the same developer has developed.

Is WordPress a plugin?

As already told above, WordPress is an open-source project developed by a community of developers for free of cost inclusive of the code.

Technically, WordPress is a platform to host customized websites using the help of Themes for design and Plugins for additional functionality.

With respect to the above, it is clear that WordPress is not a plugin as a whole, but WordPress in turn supports some extra functionalities in the form of plugins.

What plugins do I need for WordPress?

Plugins, as told in the previous sections, extend the functionality of WordPress. WordPress keeps getting updated every now and then and it is the responsibility of the community developers to keep adding additional functionality to make WordPress a better platform to host websites.

If you ask me, some of the plugins that were existing in the initial days of WordPress might no more be relevant. There are all possibilities that these extra plugins useful then are inbuilt into WordPress and that WordPress works that way now, without the plugin.

Do plugins slow down WordPress?

Yes, in general, the more the no. of plugins installed in WordPress, the plugins affecting the database certainly slows down the websites. So, it is always advisable not to install unnecessary plugins. That certainly does not mean that you should not install plugins at all.

There are several plugins that are optimized for certain functionality and that these plugins can be installed without bothering too much, carefully without any damaging caused to the database or speed. In addition to that, some premium plugins that are made efficiently, serving a specific purpose can also be installed without any issues.

All you have to be careful about is the no. of JavaScript and CSS files that add unnecessary load to the pages. You should make sure that these files are not unnecessarily loaded on a page. For eg., a plugin called WooCommerce loads in all pages, even where it is not required. Make sure such things do not happen, which slows down WordPress.

How many plugins should I use in WordPress?

From what you learned in the previous section, there is no limit to the no. of plugins that you can install as long as they fulfill the below points:

  • They don’t affect pages they are not visible in
  • There are no residual wastages of JavaScript and CSS
  • There are no unnecessary database calls

Watching carefully these actions use any of the speed checkers, we are good to install as many plugins as we want to as long as they are useful and extend the functionality of WordPress to our way.

How plugins are made?

As you might be knowing by now that WordPress is nothing but a program that is developed mainly using PHP, JavaScript, and CSS, with certain features.

These features can be extended using the two mentioned below:

  • Themes
  • Plugins

While the themes are used to enhance the look and feel, the plugins are used to extend the functionality. To extend functionality there are certain classes, functions using which we have to code in PHP. After coding them this way, the plugins have to be declared following the standard protocols of WordPress, and the collection of such programs become a plugin.

What plugins do I need?

Since there are thousands of plugins out there, there are certain basic plugins that you might need for your website depending on your requirement. There are plugins that are extremely to the point like a Table of Content plugin or can be generic like security for WordPress. So, there is nothing specific that we should be pondering over when it comes to plugins.

All I can say here is, see to it that the plugins don’t slow down your website.

How do I install a plugin?

There are two ways to install a plugin.

  1. Go to the tap on the left sidebar of your admin dashboard.
    Click on “Add Plugins”.
    In the search bar there, search for the plugin with one or more words.
    You will be listed with some plugins relevant to the search criteria.
    Select the one that you want to install and click on the install button close to the text.
    After you install, make sure that you activate the plugin.
  2. Search for a plugin in google search or wherever you think you know there exists a plugin.
    Once you find the relevant plugin, download it (it can be a premium plugin that you just purchased too).
    Once downloaded, you have to make sure that it is in zip format.
    Now, in the WordPress Dashboard, go to the left sidebar and click on Add new Plugins from the plugins tag.
    You will be redirected to a page where on the top you will see a button to upload a plugin from your local directory. Upload it and install. Again, don’t forget to activate.

How do I use plugins?

Once you have installed the plugin, it is most likely there will be a settings hyperlink beside the deactivate link. Click on settings and you will be taken to the settings page of the plugin.

Or if you can’t find a setting link there, all you have to do is, click on the “Visit Plugin Page” link, which will be taken to the plugin page where we can find more about the plugin like where it can be found in WordPress.

Which plugin is used for SEO?

There is no need for a plugin for SEO. Yes, you read that right. There is no need for an SEO plugin because the Google search engine is now intelligent enough in its algorithms to show its users the most relevant answer to their query.

We will soon be writing more about why it is not required in detail in another article as this is not the right place.

So overall be careful about free plugins and themes out there unless it is listed in the repository.

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