Step-to-Step Guide to Develop a WordPress Plugin

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Overview: What are plugins?

Plugins are the packages of code that extend the functionality of a WordPress site. These plugins are made using PHP codes and even include other vital assets like images, CSS, and JavaScript.

Creating your own plugin will ensure the fact that you’re adding additional functionality over what WordPress offers.

What are WordPress Plugins?

WordPress has more than 55,000+ plugins in its directory that introduce custom functionality to the site it has been added to. Additionally, these plugins carry forward the functionality of adding new features without opting out to change the code.

There are various free and premium plugins available for one to choose from, but there may be chances when you need some particular WordPress functions on your site that aren’t available. For that, you may be required to build your own WordPress plugin.

Sounding that way too technical? Is it? You aren’t required to play with code. All you need to do is to follow some simple steps, and, in the end, you’ll be left is a custom WordPress plugin with features and functions of your choice.

This is a WordPress plugin development tutorial in which you’ll learn the steps to create a custom plugin for your site.

Why would you create a plugin?

Most of us add functionality to the theme instead of creating a new plugin. One can face many situations where doing so would work well, but there are other cases as well where creating a WordPress plugin is way better than adding custom functionality to a theme.

Now you might ask why?

Let’s understand this with the help of an example.

Let’s say you wish to add functionality to your site that changes the default gravatar to the custom gravatar of an individual. Now, if you add this functionality to the theme, then it might just not work if you switch to different themes. On the other hand, if you decide you stick to a plugin, then it would still work even if you switch themes.

As of now you’re well aware of what WordPress plugins are and why you must create it, now let’s explore the steps involved in creating a custom WordPress plugin.

Steps To Create a WordPress Plugin

Step 1: Define your Needs & Requirements

The first-most step involved in developing a WordPress plugin is to clearly define your requirements. Before you make a move, ensure the fact that you have a clear picture of the main motive behind developing the WordPress plugin. When you have an idea of what to resolve in your site, next you’ll be able to do is to transform your idea into an effective plugin.

There are a number of factors that one must consider while defining their needs and requirements such as factors, features, design, and customization.

Step 2: Access your Site Through FTP

After sorting out your needs and requirements, the next task you have to do is to access your site through FTP. It can be accessed through the FTP program.

Step 3: Navigate Through the WordPress Plugin Folder

After you have accessed your site through FTP, navigate through the WordPress plugins folder. You’ll find that folder at wp-content > plugins.

Step 4: Create a new folder for your WordPress plugin

After you’ve landed in the plugins folder, it is now time that you create a new folder. Create a new folder and give it a name using lowercase letters. After that, enter your new folder.

Step 5: Create the main PHP file for your plugin

Your main task is to create the main PHP file for your plugin. To do that, start with creating a PHP file in your new plugin folder and try to name it using lowercase letters and dashes. After that, open that main file and in that, we’ll set up the plugin’s data.

Step 6: Setup your Plugin's Information

The last step would be to copy and paste the plugin data underneath the main plugin file. Ensure the fact that you enter correct details like Plugin Name and Plugin URI as they are related to the plugin.

That was all! These were the small steps that you needed to perform to develop a customized WordPress plugin. All you need to do now is to activate it from the admin panel and perform all the tasks that you ever wanted to do!

Conclusion

Developing or creating a WordPress plugin is one way of adding functionality to a site that the existing plugins don’t offer. The customized plugin could be a simple one that achieves minor modifications to difficult changes on the entire site.

In short, here are the steps that are involved while developing a WordPress plugin from the beginning:

  • Access your site through FTP
  • Navigate through the WordPress plugin folder
  • Create a new folder for your WordPress plugin
  • Create the main PHP file for your plugin
  • Setup your plugin's information

Just like any other skill or talent, it takes time for one to create or develop WordPress plugins. With practice, you’ll be able to develop WordPress plugins.

We hope this article was enough to let you know about the steps required to develop WordPress plugins. If you still have any questions or doubts, feel free to leave a comment below. We’ll be happier to help you!