The official definition of a WordPress Plugin is as follows: A WordPress Plugin is a program, or a set of one or more functions, written in the PHP scripting language, that adds a specific set of features or services to the WordPress weblog, which can be seamlessly integrated with the weblog using access points and methods provided by the WordPress Plugin Application Program Interface (API).
In other words, Plugins are tools that let you do almost anything you want for your website. Want to add a photo gallery? A shopping cart? There’s a plugin for that.
Don’t get bloated.
While Plugins are great, they should only be used when necessary. One common problem with WordPress websites is they are overloaded with too many plugins. Every Plugin accesses the database, whether the Plugin is active or not. So, the more plugins you have, the more the database will need to be accessed. Depending on your web hosting, it can noticeably slow down the website.
The number of plugins depends on your website’s features and required functionality. Once you have over 15 plugins installed, you risk slowing down your website and possibly creating a frustrating experience for the user. So remember, don’t go overboard with the plugins unless you have to.
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The Handy 5
There are many awesome and powerful WordPress plugins available. The plugins you use will vary depending on the type of website you have. Today, I will discuss five of the handiest Plugins that I’ve used for website development with WordPress.
Official description: This simple but effective Plugin lets you clean up and optimize your WordPress database without phpMyAdmin.
Why is it handy?
While optimizing the database tables is essential, my favorite feature of this Plugin is its ability to remove SPAM or unapproved comments with a single click. I’ve seen WordPress websites that have thousands of spam comments from the comment forms. If you were to delete these comments in WordPress manually, it would take at least an hour or two, maybe longer. But with WP-Optimize, it only takes seconds.
Search and Replace
Official description: A simple search to find strings in your database and replace the line.
Why is it handy?
When developing a website, sometimes the web hosting is not attached to the domain yet. The URL of the development site might be something like 111.11.1111/~user/. So, during development, links in the content might look like this: 111.11.1111/~user/about-us/. When the domain name is finally attached to the web hosting, the site URL changes to yoursite.com. However, the links in the content still point to the URL 111.11.1111/~user/about-us/ instead of yoursite.com/about-us/. You could manually update the links to tell them to the current URL, but that can get tedious, depending on how large the website is. The solution is to use the Plugin Search and Replace. Using the Plugin, you can search the database for all URLs with 111.11.1111/~user/ and then replace them with the current yoursite.com. Word of caution, however. You can mess things up if you don’t know what you are doing. I would suggest experimenting with a local website installation first to better understand how it works.
Official description: WordPress Backup and more…
Why is it handy?
It’s always handy to be able to make backups of your website. You’ll want to back up the database most of the time since it contains all the data from your pages, posts, and plugins. Without using this Plugin, to create a database backup, you would have to get the client’s control panel login for their web hosting, go into phpMyAdmin, and create a backup file. With BackWPup, you can easily make a backup of the database and then h