PlugIns are extensions that must be installed on the server and activated in order to be used on the website. The purpose of plugins varies greatly depending on what it is for.
Some will work in the background, with no need for additional options or settings, while others will add a new menu to the WordPress dashboard to allow you the flexibility of customizing the plugin settings to suit your needs. And still others will add widget functionality to the site
Plugins are functions that do something to your website. They could serve a back-end purpose and never be visible to you or the public.
- A plugin is a collection of files that either change the way WordPress functions or adds/removes functionality.
- Plugin provides plug and play(install and use) functionality so you can use ready code on your site
- Plugins can be added anywhere.
In the other hand, a widget usually is the representation of a plugin in the form of an object that can be placed somewhere on your website via the widgets interface under the appearance menu.
Widgets are always plugins, but plugins don’t always have widgets. A widget usually is a pretty and easy way of using a plugin. I hope this short explanation clears some things up if you’re just starting with WordPress.
A widget is a self-coded little bugger that you can drop into a widget area of your theme that will add some specific functionality or feature to it.
A plugin works more in the back end and with the actual WordPress software. It adds extended functionality to the WordPress.
- Widgets are drag-and-drop content areas that present data or an user interface to the user.
- You can’t install widgets like you can plugin but some plugins have inbuilt widget option.
- Widgets mostly used in sidebars, footer and header(widgetized area).