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The 6 Best Vim Plugin Managers

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Vim is one of the best command-line text editors you can lay your hands on. It comes preinstalled by default 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’ll 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 bit easier.


What Is a Vim Plugin Manager?

A Vim plugin manager is a software package that allows you to manage your Vim plugins with ease. The main functions of a plugin manager are installing, updating, and general management of your plugins.

Of course, it’s optional to have a plugin manager but if you have or consider having multiple Vim plugins on your system, you should consider installing one. It will help you track your plugins and keep your system clean.

There are several plugin managers you can choose from, and all of these are open-source, meaning you can use and modify them freely at will.


You’ll 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 a single file. It only has a few commands so you won’t need to memorize anything to use the tool. vim-plug also supports parallel installation and updating of multiple plugins at a time. And best of all, it’s very fast.

Other great features include on-demand-loading, support for review and rollback of updates, and minimal disk space usage.

vim-plug has detailed documentation, which makes it ideal if you are new to Vim or plugin managers. Most Vim plugins and plugin managers, including vim-plug, have a GitHub page to guide you through the installation.

2. pathogen.vim

pathogen.vim is one of the oldest Vim plugin managers. Like most plugin managers, it arranges plugins into individual 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 happens 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.

3. Vundle

Inspired by pathogen.vim, the name Vundle is a blend of “Vim” and “bundles.” As the name suggests, in Vundle, plugins are known as bundles.

Installing Vundle is quite easy. Simply clone the source code from its GitHub page and configure the .vimrc file.

Vundle comes with four core utilities that you use to list, update and install, search for, and remove plugins. It gives you granular 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.

4. dein.vim

dein.vim is another awesome and modern Vim/Neovim plugin manager. It is also comparatively faster than other plugins such as 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 great choice if you want compatibility with multiple plugins or operating systems. It supports plugins that are not generally available on GitHub, and the best part, it is also compatible with macOS and Windows.

5. Volt

Yet another great plugin manager for Vim, Volt is super fast and does not slow down your system with bloatware. It’s easy to install and set up, and even better, it is easy to upgrade Volt with the volt self-upgrade command.


Some of its best features include support for updating multiple plugins parallelly and plugin locking so that you have more control over plugin versions.

6. Default Plugin Support

On Vim version 8 and later, you can install plugins manually without using extra, third-party plugin managers. With the default plugin management support, all you have to do is copy the contents of your plugin to a designated folder under the ~/.vim directory.

You should consider the default plugin manager if you are running a newer version of Vim (version 8 and later) and do not want to install extra 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 want to stick with the default plugin support, it is extremely easy to install plugins in Vim.

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