Plugins

Plugins can modify the behavior of and add new features to Elgg.

Where to get plugins

Plugins can be obtained from:

If no existing plugins meet your needs, you can hire a developer or create your own.

The Elgg Community

Finding Plugins

Look for particular plugin authors

The quality of plugins varies substantially. If you find a plugin that works well on your site, you can check what else that plugin author has developed by clicking on their name when viewing a plugin.

Evaluating Plugins

Look at the comments and ratings

Before downloading and using a plugin, it is always a good idea to read through the comments that others have left. If you see people complaining that the plugin does not work or makes their site unstable, you probably want to stay away from that plugin. The caveat to that is that sometimes users ignore installation instructions or incorrectly install a plugin and then leave negative feedback. Further, some plugin authors have chosen to not allow comments.

Install on a test site

If you are trying out a plugin for the first time, it is a bad idea to install it on your production site. You should maintain a separate test site for evaluating plugins. It is a good idea to slowly roll out new plugins to your production site even after they pass your evaluation on your test site. This enables you to isolate problems introduced by a new plugin.

Types of plugins

Themes

Themes are plugins that modify the look-and-feel of your site. They generally include stylesheets, client-side scripts and views that alter the default presentation and behavior of Elgg.

Language Packs

Language packs are plugins that provide support for other languages.

Language packs can extend and include translations for language strings found in the core, core plugins and/or third-party plugins.

Some of the language packs are already included in the core, and can be found in languages directory off Elgg’s root directory. Individual plugins tend to include their translations under the languages directory within the plugin’s root.

This structure makes it easy to create new language packs that supercede existing language strings or add support for new languages.

Installation

All plugins reside in the mod directory of your Elgg installation.

To install a new plugin:
  • extract (unzip) contents of the plugin distribution package
  • copy/FTP the extracted folder into the mod directory of your Elgg installation, making sure that manifest.xml is directly under the plugin directory (e.g. if you were to install a plugin called my_elgg_plugin, plugin’s manifest would need to be found at mod/my_elgg_plugin/manifest.xml)
  • activate the plugin from your admin panel
To activate a plugin:
  • Log in to your Elgg site with your administrator account
  • Go to Administration -> Configure -> Plugins
  • Find your plugin in the list of installed plugins and click on the ‘enable’ button.

Plugin order

Plugins are loaded according to the order they are listed on the Plugins page. The initial ordering after an install is more or less random. As more plugins are added by an administrator, they are placed at the bottom of the list.

Some general rules for ordering plugins:

  • A theme plugin should be last or at least near the bottom
  • A plugin that modifies the behavior of another plugin should be lower in the plugin list

Pre-1.8 notes

In Elgg 1.7 and below, the interface for managing installed plugins is located at Administration -> Tool Administration.