A plugin in a website builder helps to add on additional functionality that is not found on the core CMS platform. It is similar to an app on a mobile phone. Each plugin, as with an app, enhances the core underlying platform capability, making it more function-rich and improving its usefulness.
To date, there are more than 40,000+ plugins within WordPress. This is set to continue growing.
Do I really need to use Plugins?
Yes, a good chance you would need a plugin for your website to operate optimally. This happens when you choose a website builder that does not come with a feature you need. Say a backup or security plugin which is a must to prevent cyber attacks.
So I will just install what I need
Yes installing a plugin is the easy part.
But knowing what to install is the tricky part.
For every add-on functionality needed, there is more than one plugin for you to evaluate and consider. Thus, selecting the most suitable one to choose is a challenge in itself.
With every plugin installed, there are side outcomes.
Plugins are usually packed with dynamic coding. This may cause a conflict with other elements within your website. It may also increase website load time. In some extreme cases, it might just break your website totally. This is a huge problem when the plugin is not well supported.
In some cases, pre-conditions exist before a plugin can be downloaded. It has to be done in the right sequence, otherwise, issues will surface.
In short, while plugins are useful, they are, however, in general not created equal. Their presence will have an impact. Knowing and having the ability to manage these impacts is key to an optimal functioning website.
Having a separate test environment would help greatly.