What is a plugin?

A plugin (or “plug-in”, “add-on” or “extension”) is a piece of software added to an existing computer program.

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Plugins have unique capabilities that add a specific feature to an existing program. For example, if you want to watch a video on a website, you may need to download a plugin for your web browser to actually play the video.

Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary defines the word ‘plug-in’ as: “a small device or computer program that is designed to be used with and fits into a larger one”

The majority of plugins are available as free downloads.

Software developers that allow plugins may choose to do so for third-party developers to create new features to extend the functionality of a program, reduce the size of an application, and also separate source code from application.

Plugins exist for various different purposes, including: