Using a snippets plugin to add custom WordPress code snippets to your website can offer several benefits over editing the functions.php file directly. Here are a few reasons why using a snippets plugin is the better approach:
Avoid breaking your site
Editing the functions.php file directly can be risky, especially if you're not familiar with PHP code. A small mistake in the code can break your site and cause issues that are difficult to fix. By using a snippets plugin, you can add custom code without worrying about breaking your site, as the plugin will handle the code execution for you.
A snippets plugin allows you to manage and organize your custom code snippets in one central location. This makes it easier to find, edit, and remove snippets as needed. In contrast, if you edit the functions.php file directly, you'll need to remember which code snippets you added and where they're located in the file.
WordPress updates can sometimes cause issues with custom code added to the functions.php file. By using a snippets plugin, you can ensure that your custom code is compatible with the latest version of WordPress and other plugins on your site.
If you switch to a new theme, your custom code added to the functions.php file will not carry over. However, if you use a snippets plugin, you can easily export and import your custom code snippets to a new site or theme.
Which snippets plugins should you use?
There are several trusted WordPress snippets plugins available that you can use to add custom code to your site. Here are a few recommendations:
- Code Snippets: A popular and widely used plugin that allows you to easily add and manage custom code snippets from your WordPress dashboard. It also includes a built-in code editor and the ability to export/import your snippets.
- WP Add Custom CSS: Another simple and lightweight plugin that allows you to add custom CSS code to your site without needing to edit any theme files. It includes a code editor and the ability to apply your custom CSS to specific pages/posts.
Are there any downsides to using Wordpress snippets plugin?
While using a WordPress snippets plugin does offer several key benefits over editing the functions.php file directly, there are also a few downsides to consider:
- Plugin maintenance: Like any other plugin, a snippets plugin needs to be updated and maintained regularly. If you don't keep your plugins up to date, you may be leaving your site vulnerable to security risks or compatibility issues.
- Over-reliance on plugins: Using a snippets plugin can make it easy to add custom code to your site without having to write the code yourself. However, over-reliance on plugins and a lack of understanding of how the code works which is never good. It's important to have a basic understanding of coding principles so that you can troubleshoot issues that may arise.
Using a snippets plugin to add custom code to your site is definitely a more convenient and safe way to modify your website's functionality. That being said, it's important to be aware of these potential downsides and take steps to mitigate them.