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A Beginner’s Guide to Plugin Creation for WordPress

June 05, 2023

Over 50,000 custom WordPress plugins have been created, ranging from basic communication forms to fully functional e-commerce stores for WordPress sites of all types. Plugins complete the list of three key components of the WordPress platform, which also includes free WordPress themes and the software’s core code.

Plugin creators from all over the world build these website tools to execute almost any feature a Word Press site might require—but any user with a simple understanding of programming can still create a plugin. Here’s an overview of custom WordPress plugin creation for beginners, whether you’re trying to fill a specific need on your own WordPress website or share a new plugin with the world.

What is a WordPress plugin?

The basic elements for designing a WordPress website are included in the core WordPress code, and the several theme choices enable users to fine-tune the site’s design and style. However, those two components do not cover all of the functions that a website might need. Plugins fill the void, allowing you to expand the capabilities of every WordPress platform by inserting extra code that performs a single series of actions.

Although the WordPress plugin repository contains thousands of helpful WordPress plugins, website designers can sometimes have unique requirements that can only be fulfilled by making a custom plugin.

How does it work?

Plugins are self-contained modules that operate independently of the WordPress core code, allowing them to be changed and upgraded without disrupting the overall configuration and style of the website.

This gives plugin developers practically infinite consistency and power over a WordPress site’s output while keeping the core code untouched—an essential factor because any modifications or improvements to the WordPress core code overwrite any local changes a developer could make to a particular site. Plugins may be activated, deactivated, and deleted at any time, but the removal of a plugin can affect any other functions associated with it.

Plugins are made up of one or more files written in the PHP programming language, which is also included in the core code of WordPress. A standard plugin consists of four components:

  • Actions, which define the precise activity that will take place.
  • Filters describe variables that can be modified while an operation is done.
  • Shortcodes are user-facing pieces of code that are introduced into the graphic editor of a website to incorporate a certain form of operation, such as a slideshow.
  • Widgets are individual areas on a website’s home page that can be manipulated to produce the desired plugin results.

A plugin can also provide photos, style sheets, or JavaScript code, depending on the purpose.

Learning plugin development

Since plugins are so critical in the creation and service of WordPress pages, there are a plethora of coding classes, WordPress plugin development guides, and website design books available to help beginners learn the basics of developing any plugins they need.

WordPress.org, for example, has a comprehensive guide to custom plugin creation, and the WordPress group hosts a series of activities such as WordPress boot camps, meetups, and seminars aimed at educating new site owners on how to create plugins, themes, and more. Many online learning sites also offer basic coding lessons and WordPress plugin production tutorial step-by-step tutorials to teach beginners the fundamentals of coding and website design for those on a budget.

Since most custom WordPress plugin creation tutorials presume a working knowledge of coding, you will need to learn or brush up on the fundamentals of PHP, CSS, and HTML in order to write the code that executes your plugin concept correctly. A custom WordPress plugin is a coded concept that adds customized features to every WordPress platform that is compliant with it. Despite the fact that WordPress site builders can select from an ever-growing list of plugins developed by developers all over the world, anybody with minimal coding skills can create functional, powerful plugins that streamline the process and expand the usefulness of every WordPress site.

Create your first WordPress plugin

You will need to:

  • Set up a test environment
  • Create a plugin file ( wp-content/plugins/your-plugin-name )
  • Create a file inside and name it exactly as your plugin folder ( our-plugin-name.php )

Your file should have this content and the top. This file for the plugin is similar to the functions.php file when you are creating a theme.

* Plugin Name: First Plugin
* Plugin URI: https://www.projectsengine.com/
* Description: Your plugin description.
* Version: 1.0.0
* Author: Projects Engine
* Author URI: http://projectsengine.com/

Every file that is created should be included in this file, let’s call it the main file. Once you are all set, go to the Plugins section on your dashboard. You will notice your new plugin.

Add code to your plugin

Before building your plugin, think about how you’ll name your functions and elements. This applies to both the plugin and the functions it includes. Avoid naming collisions, which occur when several components or functions have the same name. The best and smart way is to use prefixes.

Let’s add some functionality to your plugin. For example, let’s limit the number of tags you want to be shown when the_tags() functions s used.

In your main file ( you can add this in another file, just make sure it is included in your main file ) add this:


add_filter('term_links-post_tag', 'limit_to_two_tags');

function limit_to_two_tags( $terms ) {
    return array_slice($terms, 0, 2, true);

That is it, You created your first plugin. Remember that you can compress it and upload it to any website or project.


WordPress is not only a fantastically user-friendly platform, but it also provides a great degree of versatility. Because the platform is open-source, anybody may contribute new features to it. Creating your own plugins is the easiest way to get started.

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