Difference Between Add-on and Plug-in (With Table)

When you finally bought that computer, you always wanted to purchase and enjoy all the hardware components precisely with that computer. Also, at the time, computer programs were too necessary. You will like to have all the essential functions in one program.

Nevertheless, the problem arises when the required feature is not present or there are so many of them that it becomes difficult to find the necessary component. To solve this problem, software designers made it easy for users by allowing them to use plug-ins or add-ons to customize the look. 

Add-on vs Plug-in

The main difference between add-on and plug-in is that a plug-in is a complete software, whereas an add-on is not. Add-on is designed to add some features to the browser, and the plug-in is used to install extensions in the browser created by any third party. 

Add on vs Plug in

The term plug-in and add-on appear to have a similar meaning, but they have different capabilities according to their software design. Plug-in is a complete software that runs all the problems efficiently. Plug-ins are not restricted to specific browsers. It is also known as an extension. 

While the add-ons are not the whole software and are only required to add specific features to the browser, it is also not able to be installed from any other operating system. This shows that the add-ons can work under a restricted range. 

Comparison Table Between Add-on and Plug-in

Parameter of comparisonAdd-on Plug-in 
Definition Add-on is a software designed to enhance the capability of computer programs and it is similar to that of a toolbar.Plug-in is like an add-on which extends the features of the existing programs or browsers. 
Complete programThe add-on is not a complete program.The plug-in is a complete program.
Browsers Add-ons are supported in restricted browsers at a specified range.The plug-ins are accessible in all the major websites like Firefox, Chrome, etc,
Limitations The add-ons have certain limitations and can work only on some web browsers.The plug-ins do not have any type of limitation and are easy to operate in all the major browsers.
Customization The add-on is used to add certain features on the computer software.The plug-ins are also known as extensions and can be customised.
Examples The graphics acceleration, memory, and cards for sound.Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, FL Studio, video game console emulators, graphics software, etc.

What is An Add-on?

The add-on is a hardware component installed in a computer to enhance the primary programs of software applications or expand the computer’s capabilities. The software designers do not use an add-in phrase to describe it.

The typical examples of add-ons are sound cards, modem, memory, and graphics acceleration. Gaming, software applications, and accountancy systems all include software add-ons.

The add-ons are created to work with particular programs. For example, if you are exploring Mozilla Firefox, you need to add an add-on specifically designed to operate the Firefox for the browser.

Chrome add-ons can not be used or installed on Firefox and vice versa. Likewise, it would be best if you created add-ons for the specific web browser you are using for the purpose. The toolbars are typical examples of add-ons. 

The add-ons are just like other programs installed on a specific browser. You can view specific types of content on that particular web page only, like Netflix, YouTube videos, etc. 

What is Plug-in?

The plug-in is the type of software designed for all browsers. It is a complete software, and it can quickly run in many different web browsers without any restrictions.

This software is added to the computer to enhance its computer capabilities. The plug-ins are commonly known as extensions made by a third-party organization. 

For instance, if you want to watch a movie on a browser, you must install a plug-in known as a flash player. This program can run in all web browsers without any restrictions or limitations. Adobe develops this program, and it can be added as a plug-in or extension using all the major web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. 

Main Differences Between Add-on and Plug-in

  1. The add-on and plug-in nearby have the same meaning, but they differ significantly in their capabilities. Both are designed to enhance the ability of computers, and add-on software is developed to function under specific browsers and has its limitations. The plug-ins are the software extensions, and it can work on any e major web browser.
  2. The plug-ins are used to upgrade the existing data of all software in the computer program, whereas the add-on allows specific programs to increase their capability.
  3. To use a plug-in, you need to install programs that can help you play a timetable on it, and it can run on all the major web browsers. While in the case of add-ons, it works like a toolbar that can function on a specific browser and has many restrictions. 
  4. If you want to add a new feature to your browser, the add-on can work great for you, but you will not be able to install an add-on on some other work network and is restricted to a specific range. Meanwhile, the plug-in can run on any browser and any range with customization. 
  5. There are many browsers accessible these days that have add-on potential. Add-ons are available for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and the newly launched RockMelt. Whereas extensions or plug-ins reduce an application’s size, common examples are digital audio workstations, audio editing software, Ardour, Logic Pro X, etc. 


An add-on is indeed a software expansion that enhances a program’s functionality. This may introduce new objects towards the program’s interfaces, extend particular functions inside the program, or offer advanced software features. Add-ons like the Google toolbar, ad stoppers, and Website designing tools, for example, are supported by Chrome And Firefox, a widely used web browser.

A plug-in is application software that enhances an old desktop program by adding a new feature. Plug-ins offer modification when the software supports them. Flash Player, a Java virtual machine,  QuickTime, Microsoft Silverlight are just a few examples.

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