How to install a WordPress plugin is one of the first things you need to learn as a beginner. And of course, that is after learning how to set up a WordPress blog itself.
Plugins enhance the functionality of your WordPress site by adding cool features like slideshow, gallery, contact, forms, etc.
There are thousands of both free and paid WordPress plugins available out there (this is one of the benefits you get for building your site on a self-hosted WordPress platform).
In this guide, I will be talking about ways on how to install WordPress plugins. But before I begin, it will be important to note that you can only install plugins on a self-hosted WordPress.org platform.
If your site is built on a WordPress.com platform, then you won’t be able to install plugins on your site.
How to Install a WordPress Plugin
WordPress plugin can be installed in three ways which are:
- Installing WordPress plugin using search and install
- Uploading a WordPress plugin from your computer
- And manually installing WordPress plugin using FTP Client
Install a plugin using WordPress plugin search and install from WordPress dashboard
This is pretty the easiest way to install a WordPress plugin. The only downside of it is that the plugin you intend to install must be in the WordPress plugin directories which are limited to only free plugins.
The first thing you need to do is to log in to your blog dashboard and click on plugins -> Add New.
You will see a screen like the above screenshot. If you know the name of the plugin you are looking for, you can simply search for the plugin by typing the name of the plugin or the functionality you are looking for.
After that, a bunch of listing will appear like the screenshot below:
In this example, we searched for “WPFORMS” which happens to be the first plugin on the list. If you want to see more details about the plugin you can click on the “more detail” button (you might want to do this to check for compatibility).
But if you know about the plugin, you can go ahead and click the “install now” button.
WordPress will download then install the plugin for you. After this, you will see a message like a screenshot bellow with an option to activate plugin or return to the plugin installer.
A WordPress plugin will only work if you activate it, so go ahead and click on the “activate plugin” link. After you have activated the plugin, the next step is to configure the settings of the plugin to get the maximum benefits of the plugin (many bloggers forget to configure the settings).
And that is it, you have successfully completed the installation of your first plugin.
Note: If the plugin you are searching for is already installed on your site, you will get a message showing “already installed” in front of the plugin.
Installing a WordPress plugin by uploading from your computer
The second method of installing a WordPress plugin is by uploading it from your computer. This method is mainly used when installing premium plugins since they are not listed in the WordPress plugin directory. That is why WordPress has upload method of installing such plugins.
To install a plugin through this method, the first thing to do is to download the plugin from the source.
The next thing is to log in to your WordPress site admin area and click on plugin >> Add New. Just as we did in the previous method, but in this method instead of searching, you will click on “uploading plugin” just as describes in the screenshot below:
After clicking on “upload plugin”, you will be brought to the plugin upload page. Click on the “choose file” button then select the plugin file you have downloaded earlier to your computer.
Click on the “install now” button after you have selected the file.
WordPress will upload and install the plugin from your computer. Once installed you need to activate it for the plugin to start working. Don’t forget to configure the settings (though not all plugins need further configuration after installation).
Currently, WordPress only accepts zip format for WordPress plugin and themes upload.
Manually installing WordPress plugin using FTP client
This is the toughest method of installing a WordPress plugin for beginners. But it is very important to know, in case your WordPress hosting provider have file restrictions that could limit your ability to install a plugin from the admin area.
First, you need to download the plugin from the source (it will be a zip file). After that, you will need to extract the zip file on your computer (unzip the file).
Extracting the plugin zip file will create a new folder with the same name. This is the folder you will need to manually upload to your site using an FTP client (eg: FileZilla)
You would have to access your host through the FTP manager. Open the FTP client on your computer and connect to your website using the login details provided to you by your web host provider.
If you do not have your FTP username and password, you will have to contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask them.
Once you are connected, you need to access the path /WP-CONTENT/PLUGINS/
Then you upload the folder you extracted from the downloaded zip file to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your web server:
Once you are done uploading the file in an unzipped format, you need to login to your WordPress dashboard and go to the plugin folder to activate the plugin. You may need to configure the plugin settings for your needs.
There you have it, you just installed your first plugin.
Let me know which methods you like the most or which method you normally use when uploading a plugin to your WordPress site.
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