WordPress Plugin Development

Last Updated:June 15, 2021

The plugin brings more power to your WordPress site. If you have used WordPress for several months you know the things you can do with plugins. WordPress plugins played an important role in the success of WordPress on the internet.

You can use a plugin already developed or you can develop one from scratch if you have basic PHP programming skills.

In this article we will see how we can develop plugin from scratch.

WordPress official plugins page

When you see the WordPress official plugins page you can see more than 50,000 plugins available for you to download free of charge.

What is WordPress Plug-in?

WordPress plugins are add-ons for the WordPress platform.

When you work with WP number one the rule is “Do not modify the WordPress core file”. If you change the core file of the WP

  • When you update the WP to latest version  changes you made will be lost
  • If you change the core files functionality of the WP will break and it will keep your site at risk

So WordPress has a rich API that allows you to extend the core functionality of WordPress.

Plug-ins are packages of code that extend the functionality of the WordPress core. If you add some custom PHP code to function.php with a view to adding more functionality to your theme, then that process same as developing plug-ins.

Please note that WordPress theme and WordPress plugin are two different things although they have common functionality.

These plug-ins range from simple form submission to SaaS-based complex web applications. All those plug-in are free of charge and you have to buy a more advanced version of these free plug-in or you can hire a developer to customize those plug-in according to your requirement.

Developers have created lots of WP plug-ins so that you can do anything with this plug-in.

What can you do with WP Plugins?

  • It enables you to  new features  and enhances the existing features
  • You do not want to update the core files in WordPress

If you have the basic knowledge of PHP, HTML, and  CSS you can start developing these plug-ins which can be used in your WordPress site or you can share these plug-ins with the world or you can sell the plug-in you developed and earn some good money for living.

There are plenty of ways you can earn money with WP Plug-in.

In WordPress, you have a theme that you can customize to make a good-looking website for your business or portfolio.  WP theme has a built-in option to change the appearance of the website but you can use this option to customize the theme.

If you want to add more functionality to your website you have to use a plug-in. For example, if you want to use the Support Ticket System for your website you have to install a plug-in and configure it.

Rather than using existing plugins, you can build your own plug-in easily with WP.

If you are going to create a Support Ticket System using WordPress.

  • You can create a custom post type for the support tickets with relevant fields
  • You can use the existing user management system in the WordPress
  • You can use the email sending features of the WordPress
  • You can change the status of the ticket using custom fields of the ticket

What is WordPress API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. So WordPress has an API exposing its core functionalities to the developers.

When you develop a plug-in you use API to call the functions of WordPress. So you do not want to write the code from scratch and it will save your time since you can use the pre-written code.

You have following common API

Options API – stores data in the database

HTTP API – allows you to work with HTTP protocol

Plugin API – assists you to develop plug-ins

Before start developing plugins

In this guide, we will see how to create a WP plugin from scratch. You need only PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript knowledge to become a good plugin developer. So before start developing WordPress plugin you should understand the following concepts clearly.

Essential elements of the WordPress plugin development are:

  • Hooks
  • Actions
  • Filters
  • Widgets

If you know the basic concept behind those elements you can develop any plugin with confidence. In this article I will explain what those are.



Action in WordPress is a function that can be used to perform a certain set of tasks.  We attach a call back function to the actions.

Call back function does not return anything.

Action fires and call back function runs at certain point of the code when WordPress Core, plugins, and themes are executing


Please note that Actions and Filters are not the same. They do not do the same task. Filters are used to change the data.

So filters can change the data during the execution of WordPress Core, plugins, and themes.

Filters are expected to return something.


If you want to learn more about the WordPress Shortcode development you can read the following article

Further Reading


WordPress Plugin Development Guide

In this guide, you can see the steps involved in developing WP plugins. If you have basic programming skills with PHP you will find it easy to understand. I am not going to discuss the plugin development in detail here. This is just an introduction to create a simple plugin and our objective is to show you the steps only.

If you want to learn more about plugin development you can read the following detailed tutorial with real-world examples.

Further Reading

I can break this into several steps

Steps for WordPress plugin development

Step 1 Select a name for your plug-in

Before starting to build a plug-in we will see how to name your WP plugin properly. Try to find a unique name for your plugin and the name of the plugin itself explains the functionality of the plugin.

Create the folder and add the index.php template

Now you can create the folder inside the yourdomain.com\wp-content\plugins

Add the programming logic

Prepare for the deployment

Install Plugin on your WordPress site

Are there any WordPress plugin development framework?

Yes there are several good WordPress plugin development frameworks. There are the most popular frameworks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you explain basic knowledge required to develop plugin?

You should have good programming background with PHP, HTML,CSS and JavaScript

How long will it take to learn?

You have to spend at least 6 months to become a good plugin developer but if you have a good programming background and you know the concept well, you can short this learning curve.


At TechieContent I am offering you WordPress support services in addition to content creation. If you need assistance on developing new plugins, adding new features to existing plugins, or updating and configuring plugins please drop me a message.

If you need you can download the WordPress Plugin development PDF file here and it is the summary of this page and you can refer whenever you need