Beginner’s Guide: 3 Ways to Install WordPress Plugin
Let’s be honest: WordPress is pretty awesome outside the box, but what makes the platform truly spectacular is the extensibility in the form of plugins. And there are thousands upon thousands of them, available for download on an as-needed basis.
This freedom is what makes WordPress amazing. The sheer numbers of plugins (both free and premium) cover practically any functionality imaginable that you might to add to your website.
But to be able to do that, you’ll have to find and install a plugin to your WordPress setup first. This guide will tell you exactly how to do that.
There are three ways. Let’s start with the most common:
1. Within the Directory
This is the simplest method of installing a WordPress plugin. The only limitation is that your plugin must be available in WordPress’ Plugin Repository for this method to work. That’s great, because the official repository is one of the few sources of plugins that are trustworthy (and free to boot).
Go to WordPress admin, click on Plugins >> Add New.
You can either browse through the thousands of plugins, or simply search for the plugin(s) you want by name or a keyword/functionality.
You will be brought to a results’ page for your search. Once you find the plugin you’re looking for, click the ‘Install Now’ button. WordPress will automatically download and install the plugin. All that’s left to do is wait for the confirmation (“Success!”) message and activate the plugin (to actually make it work).
Once your plugin is installed and activated, you can go to your plugin’s settings page to configure it to your specifications.
2. Uploading from External Sources
Since plugins downloaded from external sources (usually premium ones) can’t be uploaded via first method, we use this method for them instead.
In the same place within your admin dashboard (Plugins >> Add New screen), you’ll see a button labeled ‘Upload Plugin’ right next to the heading ‘Add Plugins’. Click the button. This will take you to a plugin upload page, where you’ll need to browse for the plugin’s .zip folder (recall where you saved it on your workstation). Once you’ve found and chosen the correct folder, click Install Now.
WordPress then uploads and installs the plugin to your directory. A similar confirmation message (as seen in #1) will appear on your screen. Activate the plugin and you’re done. You can configure the plugin’s settings as per your own needs.
3. Manual Installation
Sometimes (when your web host is being uncooperative), you’ll have file restrictions on plugin uploads via admin dashboard. That’s where your knowledge of manual installation comes in handy.
First, download the plugin (it will be a .zip file/folder) from the source to your workstation. Then unzip the folder and extract the plugin files on your computer. This unzipped folder will be uploaded to your installation directory.
Now, open your FTP manager on the computer and access the website you want to upload the plugin to. If you don’t have FTP login credentials, contact your web host.
Once you are on the correct website’s directory inside the FTP manager, go to path /wp-content/plugins/ and upload the plugin folder we unzipped here. Save and exit.
Now go to your WordPress admin dashboard. Click Plugins. Scroll until you see your manually uploaded plugin in the list. Congratulations: Installation successful. Phase I complete. Now all that’s left is for you to activate and configure the plugin settings (as needed).
Words of Advice
Keep in mind that WordPress plugins aren’t all fun and games; and that you should never just download and install every plugin that captures your interest.
- Always make sure to download plugins from trusted sources only. WordPress Plugins’ Repository is okay for free plugins, while Code Canyon, Elegant Themes, iThemes, WPMUDEV, and others sell premium plugins. Never download pirated versions of premium plugins: Those are often full of malware and will leave your website open to attacks.
- Download and activate plugins only on an as needed basis. Recklessly downloading every plugin you find will only add more code and bloat to your web pages. This reduces their loading speed and therefore should be avoided.
- Make sure that your plugin is updated consistently by the developer and that it has good, genuine user-reviews.
Author Bio: Tracey Jones is an expert web developer with vast experience in developing any web development application. Currently, she is utilized with HireWPGeeks Ltd., a WordPress development company to find a professional WordPress developer for hire. Being a passionate blogger she loves to share her innovative ideas on the web.