Vim-plug : A Minimalist Vim Plugin Manager

Vim-plug : A Minimalist Vim Plugin Manager

When there were no plugin managers, the Vim users had to manually download the Plugins distributed as tarballs and extract them in a directory called ~/.vim. It was OK for few plugins. When they installed more plugins, it became a mess. All plugin files scattered in a single directory and the users couldn’t find which file belongs to which plugin. Further more, they could not find which file they should remove to uninstall a plugin. There is where Vim plugin managers comes in handy. The plugin managers saves the files of installed plugins in separate directory, so it is became very easy to manage all plugins. We already wrote about Vundle few months ago. Today, we will see yet another Vim plugin manager named “Vim-plug”.

Vim-plug is a free, open source, very fast, minimalist vim plugin manager. It can install or update plugins in parallel. You can also rollback the updates. It creates shallow clones to minimize disk space usage and download time. It supports on-demand plugin loading for faster startup time. Other notable features are branch/tag/commit support, post-update hooks, support for externally managed plugins etc.

Vim-plug : A Minimalist Vim Plugin Manager


It is very easier to setup and use. All you have to do is to open your Terminal and run the following command:

$ curl -fLo ~/.vim/autoload/plug.vim --create-dirs

The Neovim users can install Vim-plug using the following command:

$ curl -fLo ~/.config/nvim/autoload/plug.vim --create-dirs


Installing Plugins

To install plugins, you must first declare them in Vim configuration file as shown below. The configuration file for ordinary Vim is ~/.vimrc and the config file for Neovim is ~/.config/nvim/init.vim. Please remember that when you declare the plugins in configuration file, the list should start with call plug#begin(PLUGIN_DIRECTORY) and end with call plug#end().

For example, let us install “lightline.vim” plugin. To do so, add the following lines on top of your ~/.vimrc file.

call plug#begin('~/.vim/plugged')
Plug 'itchyny/lightline.vim'
call plug#end()

After adding the above lines in vim configuration file, reload by entering the following:

:source ~/.vimrc

Or, simply reload the Vim editor.

Now, open vim editor:

$ vim

Check the status using command:


And type following command and hit ENTER to install the plugins that you have declared in the config file earlier.


Update Plugins

To update plugins, run:


After updating the plugins, press d to review the changes. Or, you can do it later by typing :PlugDiff.

Review Plugins

Some times, the updated plugins may have new bugs or no longer work correctly. To fix this, you can simply rollback the problematic plugins. Type :PlugDiff command and hit ENTER to review the changes from the last :PlugUpdate and roll each plugin back to the previous state before the update by pressing X on each paragraph.

Removing Plugins

To remove a plugin delete or comment out the plug commands that you have added earlier in your vim configuration file. Then, run :source ~/.vimrc or restart Vim editor. Finally, run the following command to uninstall the plugins:


This command will delete all undeclared plugins in your vim config file.

Upgrade Vim-plug

To upgrade vim-plug itself, type:


As you can see, managing plugins using Vim-plug is not a big deal. It simplifies the plugin management a lot easier. Now go and find out your favorite plugins and install them using Vim-plug.

Suggested read:

And, that’s all for now. I will be soon here with another interesting topic. Until then, stay tuned with OSTechNix.



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