Opera is commonly referred to as lacking plugins, but it is not entirely accurate. It doesn’t have easy and abundant plugins and relies more heavily on native functions.
How plugins work
Plugins for Opera come as binary libraries and commonly serve one of few purposes:
- provide support for embedded web technologies (such as Flash);
- link Opera with third party software (like download managers);
- enable support for specialized functions (for example Google likes to slip its plugin in Opera, related to updates).
Plugin files can be placed physically in Opera plugins folder or be referred in operaprefs.ini configuration file.
How can plugins cause issues
They way plugins are set up in Opera they:
- don’t really announce their presence;
- can be installed silently by pretty much any software;
- can override native Opera functions without making it visible that it is work of a plugin.
All of this makes them potential security vulnerability or just pain to figure out when obscure problem strikes.
opera:plugins is special pages that lists all currently active plugins with their:
- mime and file types plugin affects;
- path to plugin file on hard drive.
Toggle, disable and ignore plugins
Disabling plugins is first and most straightforward way to check if they are interfering with something. Opera makes this very easy with Tools > Quick Preferences F12 > Enable Plug-Ins
To completely remove plugin it must be deleted from Opera plugins folder and/or edited out from configuration files.
If some software adds unwanted plugin persistently such plugin can also be added to ignore list plugin-ignore-ini. Its location can be quickly looked up in settings opera:config#Network|PluginIgnoreFile
Opera plugins don’t get much attention and just work most of the time. However it is important aspect to keep in mind for troubleshooting and good thing to check from time to time for security and performance issues.