What’s a Plugin

Creative Commons License photo credit: Adapted from callion

WordPress is cool but the plugins make it cooler. They’re little apps that let you add extra features to your classroom blog or school website.

  • Want to add some stats to your student blog? There’s a plugin for that.
  • Want to create a private social network for your students or school? Check out the BuddyPress plugin.
  • Want to add a fully integrated image gallery? NextGEN gallery can help you.
  • Want to add a voting system? GD Star Rating lets you create a rating and review system for your posts.

Where to get WordPress Plugins

  • There are over 13,000 free plugins in the WordPress directory to check out:  http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/
  • There’s also a growing market of premium pay-for plugins. Some are listed in premium directories like the WPPlugins store. Others are premium versions of free plugins that you can find in the WordPress directory.

How to install WordPress plugins

Turning on WordPress plugins on your class blog is pretty easy – everything is managed from the backend of your wordpress site.

Just look for the Plugins menu on the left when you’re logged in.

  • Click on “Plugins” and you can see a list of all of the plugins you’ve installed on your class blog. You can choose which ones to turn on (activate) or off (deactivate.)
  • Click on “Add New” and you can search the free WordPress Plugin directory (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins) for new features to add to your website.
  • Click on “Editor” and advanced users can even edit the code in your plugin… all from the backend of your class website. (This can be useful if you do most of your coding from home but need to tweak a little somethin’ at school.)

Can anyone install WordPress plugins on their class website if they’re using WordPress?

It depends on what kind of WordPress you are using.

If you’re using a free WordPress.com account…

  • No, you’re stuck with whatever plugins they have made available. You can’t install plugins are your free WordPress.com account for security reasons. (Read this post to find out why.)

If you’re running your own self-hosted WordPress website…

  • Yes, you can install any plugin you want. Administrators can just click on the Plugin menu when you’ve logged in.

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