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What Exactly is a WordPress Plugin? What is Software?

WordPress Plugins

Here’s the definition on WordPress.org

WordPress Plugins allow easy modification, customization, and enhancement to a WordPress blog. Instead of changing the core programming of WordPress, you can add functionality with WordPress Plugins. Here is a basic definition:

WordPress Plugin: 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).

So here’s my Short and Sweet definition

And here’s all you really need to know about what a WordPress plugin is and what it does:

A WordPress plugin is a short computer program (or software program)  that adds functionality to your WordPress blog or website.  That’s it!

And here’s the definition on Wikipedia


One very popular feature of WordPress is its plugin architecture which allows users and developers to extend its abilities beyond the core installation. WordPress has a database of over 26,000 plugins,[10] each of which offers custom functions and features enabling users to tailor their sites to their specific needs. These customizations rangeSEO (Search Engine Optimization) enhancers to content displaying features, such as the addition of widgets andnavigation bars.


Example of a WordPress plugin

There are thousands of free plugins to be found at WordPress.org.   Examples would be the Yoast SEO plugin for improving your onsite SEO.   That’s a free plugin and a great plugin.  There are also plugins that are not free but are worth every penny that you must pay for them.   Examples of pay or premium plugins that are invaluable are BackupBuddy by iThemes and Gravity Forms plugin for creating those form on your “Contact Us” pages.   You really cannot go wrong using any of the plugins I have listed here.  I have have a lot more listed at my blog secrets page!

So what exactly is a software program?

So if a plugin is a software program, then what exactly is software? Right?

Here’s my simple definition of software: lines of computer code that tell a computer what to do.

This definition of software is from Wikipedia:

Computer software, or just software, is any set of machine-readable instructions that directs a computer’s processor to perform specific operations. The term is used to contrast with computer hardware, the physical objects (processor and related devices) that carry out the instructions. Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used without the other.

Software is a general term. It can refer to all computer instructions in general, or to any specific set of computer instructions.

Infographic Source

Please Contribute to the Conversation!

So before you read this article, were you able to articulate exactly what a WordPress plugin is?   Were you able to define exactly what is meant by the words “computer software”?

Please share with us your favorite free and premium plugins for your WordPress blogs and websites!

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