Vim is one of the best command line text editors you can get your hands on. It comes preinstalled on Linux, macOS, and other Unix-like systems.
Vim plugins allow you to extend Vim’s functionality according to your workflow and preferences. But you need a good plugin manager to install and manage your Vim plugins.
Here are some of the best plugin managers for Vim that will make your life a little easier.
What is a Vim Plugin Manager?
A Vim plugin manager is a software package that allows you to easily manage your Vim plugins. The main functions of a plugin manager are installing, updating and general management of your plugins.
Of course, having a plugin manager is optional, but if you have or are considering having multiple Vim plugins on your system, you should consider installing one. It will help you monitor your plugins and keep your system clean.
There are several plugin managers that you can choose from, and they are all open source, meaning you can use and modify them as you please.
You need to install Git on your PC to work with most plugin managers.
1. vim plug
vim-plug is a lightweight and powerful plugin manager that is easy to set up and use. All configurations and plugins are listed in one file. It only has a few commands, so you don’t need to remember anything to use the tool. vim-plug also supports parallel installation and update of multiple plugins at once. And best of all, it’s very fast.
Other great features include loading on demand, support for review and rollback updates, and minimal disk space usage.
vim-plug has detailed documentation, making it ideal if you are new to Vim or plugin administrators. Most Vim plugins and plugin managers, including vim plugin, have a GitHub page to guide you through the installation.
pathogen.vim is one of the oldest Vim plugin managers. Like most plugin managers, it organizes plugins into separate folders. This allows you to easily upgrade and remove a plugin without affecting other active plugins.
Installing and configuring pathogen.vim is easy. Most of the configuration is done in the .vimrc file and you only need a few lines of code to get started.
Unlike other plugin managers, you have to manually update your plugins with pathogen.vim. If you want more control over the plugins installed on your system, pathogen.vim is the only plugin manager you need.
Inspired by pathogen.vim, the name Vundle is a mix of “Vim” and “bundles”. As the name suggests, plugins in Vundle are known as bundles.
Installing Vundle is quite simple. Easily clone the source code of his GitHub page and configure the .vimrc File.
Vundle comes with four core tools that you use to list, update and install, find and remove plugins. It gives you detailed control over what to configure and how to configure it.
Vundle is a great plugin manager for Vim if you are constantly trying out new plugins or tinkering with the existing ones.
dein.vim is another great and modern plugin manager from Vim/Neovim. It is also relatively faster than other plugins like NeoBundle.
dein.vim uses functions instead of commands to simplify the configuration process. It is relatively easy to maintain and manage plugins with this plugin manager.
dein.vim is a good choice if you want compatibility with multiple plugins or operating systems. It supports plugins that are not widely available on GitHub, and the best part is that it is also compatible with macOS and Windows.
Another great plugin manager for Vim, Volt is super fast and won’t slow down your system with bloatware. It’s easy to install and set up, and even better, it’s easy to upgrade Volt with the volt self-upgrade order.
Some of the best features include support for multiple plugin updates in parallel and plugin locking, which gives you more control over plugin versions.
6. Standard Plugin Support
On Vim version 8 and above, you can install plugins manually without using additional third-party plugin managers. With native plugin management support, all you need to do is copy the contents of your plugin to a designated folder under the ~/.vim folder.
You should consider the default plugin manager if you are using a newer version of Vim (version 8 and above) and don’t want to install additional plugin managers.
Installing Vim plugins made easy with plugin managers
Vim plugin managers are the best ways to organize and manage your plugins in Vim. They make it easier for you to install, update and remove Vim plugins from your system.
Whether you decide to use a third-party plugin manager or you want to stick with the standard plugin support, it is extremely easy to install plugins in Vim.