All About CMS Plug-Ins

Plug-ins add functionality to content management systems

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A content management system (CMS) is an application that you use to create and manage web content. It simplifies the creation and management of websites. In a content management system, a plug-in is a collection of code files that adds one or more features to your website. After you install the core code for your CMS, you can install your choice of plug-ins.


In WordPress, "plug-in" is the general term for code that adds a feature to your site. You can go to the mammoth WordPress Plugin Directory and browse thousands of free plug-ins. A few of the plug-ins you can add to a WordPress site include:

  • bbPress  adds forum or bulletin board capabilities to your website.
  • Akismet  checks comments and contact form submissions against a spam database to prevent your website from publishing malicious content.
  • Yoast SEO – improves your website's SEO.
  • Contact Form 7 – manages multiple contact forms.


Joomla is a more complex CMS. In Joomla, a plug-in is only one of several kinds of Joomla extensions. Plug-ins are advanced extensions that serve as event handlers. Some Joomla plug-ins include:

  • Redirect Link Cleaner – automatically cleans redirect links. 
  • Flexible Form – generates forms and fields.
  • Spinner 360 – rotates images through 360 degrees.
  • URL Canonical – handles duplicate and unwanted URLs.

You manage plug-ins in the Plugin Manager, rather than the Component Manager or the Module Manager. 


Drupal has many different plug-ins types that serve different purposes. "Field widget" is a plug-in type and every different field widget type is a plug-in. In Drupal, plug-ins are defined by modules, and they serve similar purposes as they do in WordPress. Drupal has thousands of modules you can download and add to your site, just like you add plug-ins to WordPress. A few of these include:

  • Twitter Feed & Slider – displays your most recent Twitter tweets on your website.
  • Facebook Events Calendar – displays all events from your Facebook business page.
  • Drupal Testimonials Simple Block  shows testimonials in any of 10 themes with dynamic sliders.
  • Team Showcase for Drupal  displays members grouped into showcases in a responsive grid.
  • ValidShapes CAPTCHA  is a touch-friendly CAPTCHA generator.

Choose Plug-Ins Carefully

Most websites rely on a few critical plug-ins, but you need to choose plug-ins wisely. The wrong plug-in can break your site and cause major user experience issues.

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Your Citation
Powell, Bill. "All About CMS Plug-Ins." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Powell, Bill. (2021, December 6). All About CMS Plug-Ins. Retrieved from Powell, Bill. "All About CMS Plug-Ins." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 5, 2023).