WordPress plugins VS code adding
Which is better to use WordPress plugin or to add code in functions.php file?
Quite often users are asking the same exact question, what is better to install WordPress plugin or to add code in template’s function’s PHP file. Well, there is no unique and right answer to that question therefore we want to discuss with you pros and cons of both methods.
What we know for sure is that there are two the most widely used techniques to add functionality in your WordPress website, either to install a WordPress plugin or to add a code in the functions.php file. Both ways will deliver the same result however the process itself is quite different which creates the confusion among users. Many users are afraid that by adding too much plugins in their WordPress template, they will lower the speed of website.
Others are concerned that by adding codes they might break down the website which cannot be fixed that easily. Therefore, in this case, the best solution is to compare both methods so that everyone will decide which way suits them best.
Functions file of WordPress enables website developers to describe the functionality of their template. The file itself acts like a huge WordPress plugin which can be used to include various other code scripts that you desire to have in your website. The advantages of the adding code in the function code is that you can very easily create theme editor in the administration area to alter the functions.php file. The best advantage of code adding is that you can easily copy and paste all the code scripts in a single file. Moreover, you can also get an opportunity to learn the code and see actually how it works in practice.
However, the code adding also have the downsides, for instance the specific custom code will not work anymore if you change templates. And sometimes, many users complain that it is getting very complicated to understand where your custom code starts and template code ends. It is also true, that when you update the template, the functions.php file will also be altered, and it may cause the website breakdown. Furthermore, in some cases the code scripts are too big and therefore need extra scripts and styles.
The WordPress plugins resemble the apps for WordPress websites because they include a code that connects itself to the heart of WordPress software to deliver a wide variety of features and functionality. The best part of the WordPress plugins is that they can be very easily updated, re-installed and disabled without wasting a lot of time and effort. Also, the WordPress plugin does not depend on your theme and will be compatible with various templates unlike the functions.php file. What’s the most important, you can handle WordPress plugin very clearly since you know how each plugin functions from their descriptions. However, everything has disadvantages and WordPress plugin is not different, for example you will have to install the updates for another plugin which can be very annoying. Also, there are some cases when author disable the plugin, after some time, especially when it was for free and therefore you urgently have to search for the substitute. And finally, with WordPress plugins, users are not practicing their coding skills and therefore are not widening their knowledge and experience.
In terms of performance and functionality, it does not matter if the code loads from the functions file or as a separate plugin (of course if it is the same code). However, we think that using a plugin is a better choice since managing plugins is much easier that altering the PHP function file. Imagine how complicated it is to add some code scripts in a file where some codes are not even related, and some are dependent on each other. Moreover, when you use WordPress plugin, then you can also benefit from future updates since it will increase the performance of a website. However, of course if there is no plugin that delivers the features you are looking for, then you should add the code script in the functions file.
We hope that the provided article helped you to differentiate between WordPress plugins and functions.php file. Of course, it is again up to you, which method you will use but it is always better to know the pros and cons of both methods. As it was mentioned above, there is no exact answer to the question which is better because there is always a trade-off.