Site-specific WordPress plugins can help you customize your website in many ways. You can add a ton of extra functionality and create a WordPress website that does just what you want it to do. However, most beginners won’t understand what this term is all about.
In this WordPress Tutorial, you will discover what a site-specific plugin is, how it works and how you can create one for your WordPress website.
What are Site-Specific Plugins?
A site-specific WordPress plugin is one that the site owner creates to add snippets of code into the functions of the website. These plugins usually help with sections of your site that are not theme related and will help you add functions and customizations to your WordPress website.
Sometimes, you will find guides that will tell you to add code to your functions.php file. This can be confusing for WordPress beginners. However, when you have a site-specific plugin, you can make the task of adding code snippets much easier.
Most of the time, the code you will be adding isn’t quite large enough to justify the creation of a WordPress plugin, but can still help you customize your website. Adding a site-specific plugin will make it easier to work within your functions.php file without losing the functionality of when you change to a new theme.
Do You Really Need a Site-Specific Plugin?
Adding a site-specific plugin isn’t a necessity, but it can be very helpful. This type of plugin will allow you to do many things, such as:
- Add shortcodes
- Add WordPress thumbnail support
- Redirect users to a random post
- Use custom post types
- And much more!
These are just a few examples of the different code snippets commonly added through a site-specific WordPress plugin.
The main use of the site-specific plugin has to do with saving you time, money and work. When you switch themes, which will happen sooner or later, you won’t have to add in all your code snippets again. The site-specific plugin will already have these snippets installed and you won’t lose them while switching themes.
Another huge benefit of using the site-specific plugin is that you will now have a break-proof WordPress website. Often, beginners will copy and paste code snippets in the wrong area, which breaks their website. Instead of taking this chance, you can use a site-specific plugin to ensure your code won’t be entered in the wrong format.
The plugin will recognize any errors you make and will deactivate the plugin. This will only break your website for a few sections and is far better than getting the white screen of death from putting the code in the wrong place or pasting in broken code.
Creating your Site-Specific Plugin for WordPress
It may sound hard to create a site-specific plugin, but it’s actually very easy.
Start by accessing your plugin directory and creating a blank file for your new plugin. The plugins directory is found in cPanel under the file manager. Go to the “root” folder of your WordPress website and find the wp-content folder. Within this folder, you will find a plugins folder. This is where you want to create your new file.
You can name the file “yoursitename-plugin.php” or something similar. After you’ve created this blank file, you will need to edit the file and add the following code.
You will still need to go into your WordPress dashboard and activate the plugin. This is the final step and your new site-specific plugin is all set for you to add in new code snippets.
Using the Site-Specific WordPress Plugin
The main use for this plugin will happen whenever you need to add any snippets of code to your functions.php file. Instead of accessing the functions.php file and adding the code, you can just add it to your site-specific plugin. This will protect your WordPress website and make things much easier on you.
Using a site-specific plugin for WordPress is quickly becoming a “best practice” and many are jumping on the band-wagon. It’s a great way for a beginner to protect their website and save a ton of time. Whenever you switch themes, you will no longer have to go through the tedious process of adding in all your snippets of code again.
Now you know what a site-specific plugin is, how it works, a few of the benefits and how to create this plugin. Make sure you follow the instructions and use this process to protect your site from going down due to an error with copying code snippets.