How to Create a WordPress Plugin: A Step-by-Step Guide !

Creating a custom WordPress plugin allows you to add specific functionalities to your website, enhancing its features . In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of creating a simple WordPress plugin from scratch using code. Whether you’re a developer or just starting out, this guide will help you get started on the right track.

Understanding WordPress Plugins

A WordPress plugin is a piece of code that adds new features or functionalities to your WordPress website. Plugins can range from simple tasks like adding a contact form to complex features like e-commerce integration. Plugins allow you to extend the core functionality of WordPress without modifying its source code.

Setting Up Your Development Environment

To get started, you need a local development environment. You can use tools like XAMPP or WAMP to set up a server environment on your computer for testing and development.

Creating a Plugin Folder

In your WordPress installation directory, navigate to wp-content/plugins/.

Create a new folder for your plugin, naming it something descriptive and unique, like my-custom-plugin.

Understanding the Basic Structure

Inside your plugin folder, create a PHP file with the same name as your folder, such as my-custom-plugin.php. This file will serve as the main entry point for your plugin.

Adding Plugin Information and Header

In your main plugin file, start by adding a plugin header with essential information:

Plugin Name: My Custom Plugin
Description: Add custom functionality to your WordPress site.
Version: 1.0
Author: Your Name

Writing Your First Function

Let’s create a simple function that displays a welcome message on your website:

function custom_welcome_message() {
    echo '<p>Welcome to my website! Thanks for visiting.</p>';

Using WordPress Hooks and Filters

To display our welcome message, we’ll use a WordPress hook. Add this line below your function to hook it into the content area of your website:

add_action('wp_footer', 'custom_welcome_message');

Now, when you refresh your website, you should see the welcome message at the bottom of the page.

Activating Your Plugin

In your WordPress admin dashboard, go to “Plugins” and activate your custom plugin. You should immediately see the welcome message on your website.

Debugging and Troubleshooting

During development, you might encounter errors or unexpected behavior. Use the built-in debugging tools in WordPress (WP_DEBUG) to identify and fix issues.

Adding Admin Menus and Pages

You can create admin menus and pages for your plugin to provide a user interface. For example, let’s create an admin page that displays a settings form:

function custom_plugin_menu() {
    add_menu_page('Custom Plugin Settings', 'Custom Plugin', 'manage_options', 'custom-plugin', 'custom_plugin_settings_page');

function custom_plugin_settings_page() {
    echo '<div class="wrap">
        <h2>Custom Plugin Settings</h2>
        <form method="post" action="options.php">
            <!-- Your form fields here -->

add_action('admin_menu', 'custom_plugin_menu');

Creating Shortcodes

Shortcodes allow users to add custom functionality to their posts or pages. Let’s create a shortcode that displays a special message:

function custom_shortcode() {
    return '<p class="txt">This is a special message from my plugin!</p>';

add_shortcode('custom_message', 'custom_shortcode');

Now users can use the shortcode [custom_message] in their content to display the message.

Enqueuing Stylesheets and Scripts

You can style your plugin by enqueuing CSS and JavaScript files. Create a directory named css within your plugin folder and add a style.css file:

function enqueue_custom_styles() {
    wp_enqueue_style('custom-style', plugins_url('css/style.css', __FILE__));

add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', 'enqueue_custom_styles');

Adding Custom CSS

In your style.css file, you can add custom styles for your plugin’s elements:

/* Your custom styles here */


Creating a WordPress plugin from scratch is a rewarding experience that empowers you to enhance your website’s functionality. With this guide, you’ve learned the basics of creating a plugin, adding functionalities, testing, and styling. Now you can continue exploring and building more advanced plugins to take your WordPress site to the next level.