How to Develop a WordPress Plugin

WordPress has become one of the easiest ways to start taking things to live on the Internet. This is why it is the most popular Content Management System across the net and supports more than 35% of websites. With WordPress websites, one can do a lot. But as they say, one always wants to do more. To be able to do more from your websites on WordPress, 

this CMS software lets you enhance the functionality of your website with the help of Plug-ins, Add-ons or Extensions. Though these programs are quite similar to one other, the striking difference is the amount of functionality they add to the website and how. This blog today centres its discussion on plugins because of their higher usability.

Ever wondered how come an e-commerce website and a blog are both built using the same old WordPress system? How can the same WordPress platform offer so many distinct features in the same place? In a room, it is nearly impossible to fit all necessities and non-necessities in one single wardrobe, similarly not all features can be made available to you by WordPress in one place. 

However, just like the room creates space for your stuff by adding more wardrobes to it, WordPress lets you add more functionality to your website using its plugins. 

Plugins are programs that ‘plug into’ the website you create using WordPress. These provide you additional functionalities to your website allowing you to build any sort of website through the same software. These are integrated into the WordPress interface eliminating the need for you to build your website partially somewhere and partially somewhere else. Without plugins, websites are very dull and almost inadequate. 

Plugins help expand the capabilities of your WordPress website. The plugin ecosystem provided by WordPress assists people who do not possess any coding knowledge in creating and customizing user-friendly and dynamic websites. It even paves way for innumerable possibilities for both developers and webmasters as well.

The blog piece today will discuss how you can develop a WordPress plugin from scratch. It is significant to understand for a non-coder the basics and what all tools are to be considered when you develop a plugin for WordPress for your site. 

Ways to Develop a Wordpress Plugin

There are broadly two ways to create plugins for your WordPress website. One is adding the standard plugin from the directories, on the other hand, is making a custom WordPress plugin. Both differ based on functionality, expenses, and ease of making. Below both, the methods are discussed in greater detail.

Develop a WordPress Plugin from existing plugin directories

WordPress itself has a directory of several thousands of in-built plugins for simple but powerful functions. These can be added to your website for free. There are, at the same time, plugins with advanced features which can be added to your website at the payment of a nominal cost. Plugins include the integration of social media portals with the website through hyperlink icon buttons. 

Similarly, sites often have contact forms linked to their pages or hyperlinked mail IDs that redirect you to your default email delivery application such as Outlook. These are some of the preliminary examples of plugins. However, plugins as difficult as those which integrate payment gateways to your website and which redirect you to external payment web applications require customized coding. As a result, though for preliminary websites, one can easily develop a plugin for WordPress using in-built directories, custom codes are more adaptable and efficient for personal needs. 

Customized plugin making

There are different types of plugins on WordPress that you can build. These comprise plugins for maintenance, marketing & sales, for community or API plugins. 

To develop a WordPress plugin from scratch, you need to get a basic understanding of JavaScript, JQuery, PHP and other programming languages. This may sound intimidating but, arranging a text editor and a local development environment for testing your WordPress plugin is a good place to start from. The various elements that together constitute a plugin are

A Mandatory PlugIn file - It is the essential PHP file which tells WordPress what the plugin is about
Folders for Different file extensions - These are to organize your program code for plugins for easier readability. The structure may be decided based on file types. One for CSS styles, another for JavaScript and likewise.

Scripts and stylesheets - The styling that the output generated from your plugin is determined by a set of stylesheets and similarly, if you wish to make a WordPress plugin which uses JavaScript, you’d need scripts as well.

This blog will help you make a WordPress plugin in five simple steps.

FTP Access

The first thing to be done to develop a WordPress plugin is to access one’s site using the FTP program of your choice. An FTP or File Transfer Program is 

Plugin Folder and File

Create a plugin folder in the WordPress directory which has the address as wp-content/plugins. Inside it, using your text editor create a file saved with the ‘.php’ extension. Both should be appropriately named.

Functions and Action Hooks

Every plugin is a concoction of functions, actions and filter hooks, and classes. A function is a piece of code that performs a task. Action hooks are codes that hook your function to generate an action or a result. The various functions that you wish to create with their designated action hooks with classes determined for them together make for your plugin's main file.

Stylesheets and Scripts

Stylesheets and scripts add glamour to your plugins. Create a CSS stylesheet on your text editor and organize it in the right folder for easier access and reusability. Decide on the fonts, sizes and variety of other visual appearances. Add these stylesheets and scripts to the main plugin file using the right functions. Save all the progress made so far.

Last minute touches and Done!

Creating extra PHP files called the include files can also opt for the development of your plugin. Edit your existing PHP file or extend it and once done with the debugging of errors, you’re good to go. Your first plugin is ready!

Best Practices to develop a WordPress plugin

You must adhere to the coding standards of WordPress when writing your code to develop a plugin for the WordPress directory.

You must sensibly organize your folder structure to eliminate the chances of a haywire plugin coding.
You must make extensive use of comments to enhance the readability of your main plugin code file.


Plugins are used universally for providing every other utility you need to your customers on your website. Adding an already standardly created plugin from a list of options is as easy as a click. The difficulty arises when customized plugins are requested by the owners of the enterprises. 

Being able to develop a WordPress plugin means it requires a good amount of coding knowledge with proper bandwidth to be able to build a plugin program on one’s own. As a result, the safest way yet remains to hire a WordPress Development Company as reputed and as competent as Kamtech. You can never go wrong in your website development with a company like Kamtech which offers the best quality of development services in minimum time and at a reasonable amount. Plug into a world of web development where aspirations turn true before you could even know it. 

Saksham Gupta CTO, Director

An engineering graduate from Germany, specializations include Artificial Intelligence, Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality and Digital Transformation. Have experience working with Mercedes in the field of digital transformation and data analytics. Currently heading the European branch office of Kamtech, responsible for digital transformation, VR/AR/MR projects, AI/ML projects, technology transfer between EU and India and International Partnerships.

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/saksham-gupta-de/