How to Find Plugins on the WordPress Plugin Directory

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

The largest and most widely used source of free WordPress plugins is the WordPress Plugin Directory. This directory is filled with more than 20,000 plugins that cover an extremely broad range of features.

Due to the large number of plugins freely available, the fact that each plugin listing includes ratings and details such as user-reported compatibility with WordPress versions, the Plugin Directory should be your first stop when looking for a new plugin to fill a specific need.

Plugins in the Plugin Directory should not be considered “official” or “supported” by WordPress. Anyone can submit plugins to the directory. There are some restrictions on what can be listed on the Plugin Directory, but these are mainly focused on licensing guidelines and blatant attempts to exploit users.

Be critical of anything you add to your site. Plugins receive very little code review once added to the Plugin Directory. Adding buggy code to your site can cause your site to crash. Adding malicious code to your site can enable other people to gain access to your site without your authorization.

This isn’t to say that plugins on the Plugin Directory should not be trusted; rather, you should never add anything to your site without doing some checking up on the plugin, theme, or code.

Although you can search for plugins directly on the Plugin Directory site, WordPress has a built-in feature for searching the Plugin Directory. This feature even includes the ability to easily install the Plugin Directory from WordPress without having to download the plugin and upload it to your site.

To search for a plugin, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the WordPress Plugin Directory in your browser.

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    You see the searchable Plugin Directory.

  2. Enter the name of the plugin (or a search term relevant to the plugin or a feature you’re looking for) in the search box and then click the Search Plugins button.

    The directory lists all plugins that match your query. You can sort your search query by selecting one of the radio buttons underneath the search box: Relevance (default), Newest, Recently Updated, Most Popular, or Highest Rated. Additionally, WordPress.org lists plugins on the right side of the page by Most Popular, Newest Plugins, and Recently Updated to help you find plugins that may interest you.

    The Most Popular plugins have the greatest number of users and have been downloaded most often by users. In the Plugin Directory, they’re grouped because the majority of WordPress users want to find them easily.

    All plugins are tagged with keywords; the most popular tags for all plugins are listed at the bottom of the search page.