What’s the difference between a plugin and a widget?

One of my biggest questions when I first started a blog was what the difference between a plugin and a widget was.

Simply put, a plugin is an extension or extra that you must add to your website to add a feature that doesn’t come with WordPress itself. A widget is a component of a plugin. So, until you install a plugin, you won’t have any widgets on your site. Once you have plugins, some of them will employ widgets to make the plugins easier to use overall. A widget is a drag-and-drop or pre-made set of code that does something special.


Let’s say that you want to add a feature to your site where you have an old-school forum or bulletin board. You would have to add a plugin to make that happen. Many of these plugins are quite robust, so you’d need to sort of tinker with them to make them fit the aesthetic of your site. That’s where widgets come in.


Let’s say you have a super fancy bulletin board or forum on your site, and you wanted to add a little entry to it on the right sidebar of your website. You might use a widget that comes with the bulletin board plugin. You’d drop the little widget into your site and it would help people login to the bulletin board.

That’s probably my best example, but you’ll see plenty more as you grow your site and start adding plugins. Hope this helps clarify things!

I hope we’ve clarified the difference between a plugin and a widget!

Thanks for reading Therapy Blogging 101!