A “plugin” is an add-on feature that adds additional functionality to WordPress and the Divi theme. WordPress is an open-source internet content management platform – essentially your basic kitchen table. Place settings and decorations beyond your basic plate, fork, cup are added through a theme or plugin that are often created by third-party developers (like going to a department store and getting that fancy new kitchen gadget that didn’t come with the house).
Plugins add a world of functionality and cool features to a website. But a word of caution – because plugins come from 3rd party developers, not all plugins are created equal, are equally well-developed or well-supported, and functionality may not cover all versions of WordPress.
Also, plugins are usually where the finger is pointed when something goes wrong with a website. If your website suddenly doesn’t want to load or glitches or straight-up crashes, the first step is always to disable plugins – so the more you have, the more you are inviting the risk of problems.
Topics in this tutorial:
WordPress offers a connection to a catalog of themes and plugins through the main dashboard. To find which plugins you have installed, hover over “Plugins” on the lefthand side of the screen and click on “Installed Plugins.”
This will show you a list of plugins already installed on your website.
Plugins that might already be installed on your site by Libraries Win website staff include:
- Embed Code – Insert Header & Footer code
- Infinite WP
- Matomo statistics (one of several Matomo options)
- PHP Compatibility Checker
Plugins that are well-maintained (that is, the best ones) will be updated regularly – so often when you look at your plugins list one or more of them will say “update now.” Please do update your plugins – see “Site Health Status” for more information.
Adding a new plugin
Selecting a New Plugin
To add a new plugin to your website, begin by hovering over “Plugins” in the lefhand menu bar and clicking on “Add New.”
This will bring you to the WordPress plugin catalog page.
Generally you should begin by searching for a plugin that has been recommended by Libraries Win website staff. Recommended plugins include:
- Accept Donations with PayPal
- All-in-One Event Calendar
- Classic Editor
- Constant Contact Forms for WordPress
- Give – Donation Plugin
- PublishPress Future post expirator
- Simple Calendar
- Tockify Events Calendar
- WPFront Notification Bar
Signs of a good plugin:
- Known developer (ex: PublishPress)
- Large number of active installations
- 4+ stars
- Recently updated
- MUST: WordPress version compatiblity
Installing a new Plugin
Once you have verified that the plugin is a good choice, click “Install Now” in the upper righthand corner.
The plugin will download and install, then the next step is to click “Activate.”
Now, depending on the function of your plugin, you’re ready to rock some new website features.
Working with Plugins (Settings)
Depending on the function of your plugin, there are a couple of different places you may need to go to manage it.
Finding your plugin settings
Some plugins create their own entry in the WordPress dashboard sidebar. Examples of these:
- Tockify Calendar
- Give Donation Plugin
Some plugins add themselves to the general WordPress Settings menu in the dashboard sidebar. Examples of these:
- Notification Bar
Some plugins simply integrate themselves into WordPress and don’t have a separate settings menu. Examples of these:
- PublishPress Future
For more detailed information on how to adjust settings for plugins, see specific plugin instructions or send a help ticket to
Plugins are one of the things that require regular updating and maintenance and is one of the things you should check on every time you log into your website. For more information, see “Site Health Status – Actions to Take“
Deactivating/Removing a Plugin
If you are no longer using a plugin, it is a good idea to at least deactivate it, then completely remove it from your site. Each plugin adds a small risk of conflict and potential for site health issues, so deactivation/removal avoids that issue.
If you are not sure if a plugin is still functioning on your site, a good first step is to deactivate.
Deactivating a Plugin
Open the Installed Plugins menu
Select “Deactivate” under the plugin you don’t want to use anymore:
The plugin will now say “Activate | Delete” underneath the name.
Watch your website to see if you lose any functionality that could be related to the plugin.
Removing a Plugin
If you have deactivated a plugin or know you are not going to use a plugin anymore, you can remove that plugin completely. Simply click “Delete” under the name of the deactivated plugin, and confirm.
If you want to remove multiple plugins at one time, this can be done through the “Bulk Actions” dropdown at the top of the plugins list.