Plugins are composed of php scripts that add additional functionality to your blog. They offer new additions to your blog that either enhance features that were already available or add otherwise unavailable new features to your site.
Plugins extend the functionality of WordPress. The majority of WordPress users do not require Plugins, or only require a few, such as Plugins dealing with comment spam or customized post listings. Other users enjoy the varied options Plugins provide such as frequently updated weather reports, post word counts, rating systems, and more. Since the choice in Plugins is vast, and chosen based upon the needs of the user, they are not incorporated into the core of WordPress.
WordPress Plugins are designed by volunteers and are free to the public. Plugins listed in the sources below have usually been thoroughly tested and considered 8220;safe8221;. But remember, Plugins are the responsibility of the author and the user, and they are typically works-in-progress as WordPress grows and expands.
If you want to develop your own plugins, there is a comprehensive list of resources at Plugin Resources.
Manual Plugin Installation
To install a plugin that is not in the plugin browser, the following are the general directions to follow. Be sure and follow the specific instructions provided by the Plugin author. Remember: BACKUP 8211; just in case.
Read through the 8220;readme8221; file thoroughly that usually accompanies a plugin, or the website article from where you found the plugin. It is often helpful to print out the instructions so you can check off the installation steps as you complete them.
Upload the plugin to the wp-content/plugins folder in your WordPress directory online.
Make any changes to templates or files as required by the Plugin instructions including adding Plugin template tags.
Activate the Plugin:
Access the Plugin Panel in your Administration Panels
Scroll down through the list of Plugins to find the newly installed Plugin (if not visible, start from the beginning to check to see if you followed the instructions properly and uploaded the file correctly).
Click on the Activate link to turn the Plugin on.
Continue making any modifications necessary from the 8220;readme8221; file instructions to make the plugin actions meet your needs.