How to install a plugin on WordPress

As a new WordPress user one of the very first things you’ll need to know once WordPress has been installed (alongside how to install a WordPress Theme) is how to install a plugin. Plugins essentially allow you to add new features and functionality to your WordPress website. Similar to themes there are thousands upon thousands of both free and paid for plugins that are readily available for WordPress. Within this article we’ll detail how to install a WordPress plugin step by step.

Before We Begin

  1. If you are using WordPress.com, then you will not have the plugins option in your WordPress dashboard, this is because you cannot install plugins on WordPress.com, for this you will need WordPress.org.
  2. It is possible to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org in order to make use of plugins, if you would like to know how then please read our tutorial on how to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

How to Install a Plugin using WordPress Plugin Search

The simplest and most straight forward way to install a WordPress Plugin is via the “Plugin Search”.

Firstly navigate to your admin panel within WordPress dashboard and click on Plugins » Add New.

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As you can see above you’ll be presented with a screen that contains some of the recommended plugin’s that typically beginners may require or wish to use. At the top of the page you’ll see a list of filter options such as, “Featured”, “Popular”, “Recommended” “Favourites” plus a search box. Either click on one of these options or if you are looking for a particular plugin search for this via the search bar. You’ll find a list of plugin’s that meet your search criteria, find the plugin that serves your purposes and and click the “Install Now” button.

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WordPress will now begin downloading and installing this plugin for you, once complete you’ll see a success message alongside a link to activate the plugin or alternatively return to the plugin installer.

You’ve now installed your first plugin – in order for this to work however you will be required to activate it, therefore click the link you’ve been supplied in the previous step to activate the plug in so that it’s put into action on your WordPress site.

You have now successful installed a plugin via the WordPress plugin search, the only downside of this option is that a plugin must be included within the WordPress Plugin Directory which is limited to only free plugins and there features are more basic and limited.

Note: You will most likely be required to configure the plugin settings unless it’s a extremely basic plugin with very minimal features, it’s unlikely that it’s default set up will be to your requirements. The settings associated to each plugin can differ quite substantially therefore we will not be covering that within this article.

How to install a plugin utilising WordPress built in Plugin Uploader

As paid for plugins do not appear within the WordPress plugin directory (as mentioned this area is only for free plugins), paid for plugins cannot be installed using the first option.

In order to install a paid for WordPress plugin you’ll need to download the plugin from whichever company you’re using, we recommend visiting https://codecanyon.net/ as a good starting point.

Following this, navigate to the WordPress admin panel and select Plugins » Add New.

At the top of the page you will see a “Upload Plugin” button, click this and you’ll be taken through to the plugin upload page.

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At this point you will need to click on the “Choose File” button, find and select the plugin file you previously purchased and downloaded and then click the “Install Now” button to the right hand side.

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WordPress will now begin to upload and install the plugin direct from your computer, once complete you’ll be notified with a success message alongside a Activate Plugin link to start using the plugin.

Go ahead and activate the plugin if you’re ready to put it’s purpose to effect on the website.

Note: You will most likely be required to configure the plugin settings as it’s unlikely that it’s default set up will be to your requirements. The settings associated to each plugin can differ quite substantially therefore we will not be covering that within this article.

Manually Install your WordPress Plugin using FTP

Using the File Transfer Protocol method is somewhat more advanced then the previous options, and is not recommended as the first attempted method for a beginner. However for those that are feeling a little more adventurous please follow the steps noted below:

Firstly you will need to navigate to the plugin’s source and download the file, this will be in zip format. Then, you’ll need to extract the zip file contents onto your computer.

In doing this a new folder will automatically be created with the same file name. Make note of this as this is the folder that you’ll need to manually upload to your website using your FTP Client.

In order to do this you will be required to access your host through the FTP manager, in the event that you do not have your FTP user and password then you will need to contact your WordPress host provider and request this.

Next you’ll need to open the FTP client on your computer and then connect to your website using the detail provided to you by your website host. Once you’ve connected, navigate to the access path /wp-content/plugins/.

Then upload the folder you have extracted from the ZIP file to the /wp-conent/plugins/ folder on the website server.

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