When WordPress was created, it was used primarily as a blogging platform. However, progress has been made in leaps and bounds to improve and increase the functionality of WordPress from blogging platform to a full-blown CMS capable of handling complicated web builds, including eCommerce solutions.
Plugins and widgets play a large part in the flexibility of WordPress, created by a large community intent on helping others customize their website and add necessary functions.
Difference between a widget and a plugin
Plugins are extensions that must be installed on the server and activated in order to be used on the website. The purpose of plugins varies greatly depending on what it is for.
Some will work in the background, with no need for additional options or settings, while others will add a new menu to the WordPress dashboard to allow you the flexibility of customizing the plugin settings to suit your needs. And still others will add widget functionality to the site, which leads us to…
Widgets are drag-and-drop content areas that can be added to a WordPress site when its plugin is installed and activated. WordPress has quite a few defaults that come with the initial installation, but for added functionality, plugins can be installed to add more widgets to the dashboard. Depending on the theme you are using, you can use widgets in specific widget-ready areas of your site, typically in the sidebar, though some themes will add these widget-ready areas to the header and footer as well.