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There are a LOT of WordPress themes out there.
What is a theme?
So, when someone builds a house, they need to determine the materials (steel beams, rocks, bricks, glass, wood…), which is like choosing a CMS. Then you get to use their characteristics to finish the house, the facade. Basically, what the house looks like is the theme. Organizing, rearranging, and repainting the pieces of code is what a theme does.
How are they different?
There are basically two types of themes. (Although, the lines is blurring now.)
- Builder Themes: These themes usually do not offer a full-fledged website out of the box (although most have some good demo content), what they do is allow the designer to edit everything (EVERYTHING!!) to make the vision a reality.
- Non-builder Themes: Not as much to do with these themes, just add content (like pages and posts) and the rest is all taken care of. There are a lot of customizations that need to be done, but the layout is basically pre-organized.
Also, for the sake of completion, a couple of different styles of themes.
- Themes with Builders: Some themes use a builder plugin to allow customizations, while keeping its overall look intact. These themes are great in that they allow design customizations, while being tied together with a coherent style.
- Specific Purpose Themes: These themes have a very specific purpose in mind when created, such as listings, education, eCommerce, or portfolio. They are usually coupled with plugins, and they do their jobs really well.
There are even MORE WordPress plugins out there.
What is a plugin?
So, when talking about building houses, plugins are like the appliances (dishwasher, ceiling fans, washing machines, ovens.. ) that you install to get the house to do what you want it to do.
What kinds are there?
Well, simply put, there are plugins that allow pretty much anything people have had a need for. Simply put, plugins add extra functions to make the WordPress website do things more than just house your data. Most plugins add menus to the admin page to help your workflow, content creation, or website maintenance. Some plugins help speed up your site, control media elements, or add functions like eCommerce, contact forms, forums.. the list goes on. and on and on…
So, basically, in most cases, if you can think it, it can be done.
(Disclaimer: Not ALL cases, just most cases.)