How to Install a WordPress Plugin

How to install a WordPress Plugin

1. Go to “Plugins” in your WordPress dashboard

Start by going to your admin panel – http://your-domain.com/wp-admin/ and click on “Plugins” in the sidebar menu:

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

2. Click on “Add New”

You can find the “Add New” button near the top of the page:

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

3. Find your plugin via search

What you’ll see next is a page that shows you a short list of featured/recommended plugins, and a handy search field on the right – this is the one we’re going to use.

Input the name of the plugin that you want to install in that search field. In my case, I’m going to demonstrate how to install

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

Now, the great thing here is that you don’t even need to input the plugin’s whole name. For example, I’m just going to use “revive” and press the enter key on my keyboard.

4. Install your plugin

Once you see the plugin you’re looking for on the list, all you need to do now is click on the “Install Now” button. When you do that, WordPress is going to fetch the plugin and have it installed on your site. It works much like installing a new app on your phone.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

5. Activate the plugin

There’s one final step. When the installation is complete, click on the “Activate Plugin” link that has just appeared:

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

 

It’s done! The plugin has been activated, and WordPress will let you know about this fact through a small note at the top of the page:

 

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

How to install a  premium / paid  WordPress plugin

The process of how to install a WordPress plugin that’s premium or paid is a bit different. Purely because premium plugins are not available in the official plugin directory – the one you can access via the search option in your wp-admin panel.

1. Get the plugin archive

The first thing you need to do is somehow obtain the plugin itself. This step you need to handle on your own. Most commonly, this involves going to a marketplace or a plugin store, and buying a copy of the plugin from there.

Long story short, as a result of your purchase you should have the installable plugin file saved as a ZIP archive. Like so:

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

 

2. Go to “Plugins” in your WordPress dashboard

Once you have your ZIP file, go back to your WordPress wp-admin panel, click on “Plugins” in the sidebar menu, and then on the “Add New” button:

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

3. Upload your plugin archive

From there, click on the “Upload Plugin” button visible at the top:

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

On the next screen, you will be able to upload your plugin’s ZIP file straight to your WordPress. Just select the ZIP from your desktop and confirm the upload by clicking on “Install Now.”

4. Activate the plugin

When WordPress finishes doing its magic, you’ll only need to activate the plugin:

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

After doing so, the plugin is online and you can start using it.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

Another Step On How to Install WordPress Plugins

Let’s review the three ways to install WordPress plugins, starting with the simplest: using the plugin search tool in your WordPress dashboard. (Note: You can update your plugins from the dashboard too.)

To add a plugin to your WordPress website from the dashboard:

1. In your WordPress dashboard, choose Plugins > Add new.

2. Search for a plugin with the search bar in the top right corner. A number of results will appear.

3. After finding the plugin in the results, click Install Now. You can also click the plugin name to view more details about it.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

4. To use the plugin, you’ll need to activate it. When the installation is finished (this usually takes a couple seconds), click Activate.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

You can also activate or deactivate any plugin under Plugins > Installed Plugins.

To manually add a plugin to your WordPress website:

1. Download the desired plugin as a .zip file from either the WordPress directory or from a third-party source. If you’re downloading from a third-party website, make sure that the plugin developer is legitimate.

2. From your WordPress dashboard, choose Plugins > Add New.

3. Click Upload Plugin at the top of the page.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

4. Click Choose File, locate the plugin .zip file, then click Install Now.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

5. After the installation is complete, click Activate Plugin.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

To add a plugin to your WordPress website via FTP:

1. Download the desired plugin as a .zip file from either the WordPress directory or a third-party source. If you’re downloading from a third-party website, ensure the service is legitimate.

2. Extract (or unzip) the plugin file. The unzipped folder will appear with the same name as the .zip file.

3. Next, you’ll need to connect to your WordPress website’s server with FTP. To do this, you can use an FTP client that connects to the host server to transfer files.

4. Once you open the FTP client, connect to your website with a username and password. You might need to obtain these credentials from your hosting provider.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

 

5. In your WordPress file directory, open the wp-content folder, then open the plugins folder.

6. Upload the unzipped plugin folder that you downloaded to the plugins folder.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

 

7. Return to your WordPress dashboard and select Plugins > Installed Plugins. Find your new plugin and click Activate.

How to Use a Plugin in WordPress

Most plugins that perform simple tasks begin working immediately after installation, but complex plugins with greater functionality may need some configuration from you.

For example, if you install a forms plugin, it will automatically offer you form templates once activated. Then you can customize your forms as you see fit. A more complex language translation plugin, on the other hand, will require some configuration before it starts working.

Some plugins may even bring you to setup wizards after activation to walk you through configuration steps.

The best way to view all of your plugin’s customization features is via the plugin admin page. In the dashboard, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins to view currently installed plugins, then click Settings under any of the plugins listed.

Elementor

Elementor is an excellent page builder plugin for crafting aesthetically-pleasing, branded WordPress websites. It offers tools to design all aspects of your web pages as well as a customizable form builder so you can easily engage with your clients. This makes it easy to create a completely unique WordPress site using Elementor.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this plugin, check out our course on building a WordPress website with Elementor.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

 

WordPress Plugin Installation FAQs

To wrap up, let’s go over some frequently asked questions related to installing, using, and uninstalling WordPress plugins on your site.

What are WordPress plugins?

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that adds new functionality or extends existing functionality on a WordPress website. There are plugins for enhancing SEO, social sharing, and security, just to name a few.

Many WordPress plugins, including any plugin downloaded from the WordPress Plugin Directory, are free to use. There are also premium WordPress plugins available from third-party vendors. Free plugins often have the option to upgrade to a premium version that offers improved functionality.

Since anyone can create and distribute a WordPress plugin, plugins will vary in quality. For this reason, it’s important to research your options each time you want to install a new plugin, and check recommendation lists and plugin reviews to check for quality.

How do I find WordPress plugins?

There are almost 60,000 ready-to-install plugins in the WordPress Plugin directory (which you can search on the online site or in your dashboard), and premium plugins are available from third-party websites and marketplaces like gplthemeshub.

To narrow down your options, you can look for popular and well-reviewed plugins in the WordPress directory, or look at recommendation lists — our best WordPress plugins list is a great place to start.

What does activating a plugin mean?

When you install a WordPress plugin, you’re putting the plugin’s code files into your WordPress directory. However, the plugin will not work until you activate it. Activating a plugin can be thought of as “turning on” the plugin on your site.

You can also deactivate a plugin to stop the plugin from working on your site. This is helpful if you’re troubleshooting a problem, or if you need to temporarily disable a plugin to resolve some issue on your site. You can activate and deactivate plugins from the plugins admin page (Plugins > Installed Plugins).

How do I update a plugin?

Quality plugins will release updates every once in a while to keep up-to-date with WordPress core updates. When a plugin needs updating, you’ll see a notification in your dashboard next to the Updates tab. Click this tab to see the updates listed.

It’s possible to set plugins to update automatically or install updates manually

How many WordPress plugins should I install?

WordPress allows you to install as many plugins as you want, and there’s no set recommended number for how many plugins you should use. However, the more plugins you install, the more likely they are to impact your website’s performance.

This isn’t to say that more plugins equal a slower website. Rather, the quality of a plugin’s build is more likely to affect site speed. You could install a dozen high-quality plugins and experience no issues, then install one poorly coded plugin and see an immediate decrease in performance. Plugins may also interact in certain ways and affect your website negatively.

For these reasons, you should only install plugins when you need them, and delete any plugins you aren’t using. Additionally, when you do need a plugin, stick to well-reviewed options that receive frequent updates, and test each one after installing for compatibility with the rest of your site.

How do I uninstall a WordPress plugin?

To uninstall a WordPress plugin, go to your plugins admin page (Plugins > Installed Plugins). Under the plugin, click Deactivate if the plugin is currently activated, then click Delete.

Add Plugins to Improve Your Site

Plugins are essential for increasing the functionality of your WordPress website. They’re quite simple to install, add, and use — follow the steps we’ve outlined above to get started using your newest plugins.

In simple words, WordPress plugins are like apps for your WordPress website. They allow you to add new features to WordPress like a contact form, slideshow, shopping cart, and more.

There are thousands of free and paid plugins available for WordPress. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to install a WordPress plugin.

Installing a WordPress plugin - A beginner's guide

Before You Start

If you are using WordPress.com, then you cannot install plugins.

We often get complaints from users saying that they can’t see the plugins menu in their WordPress dashboard. It is because you are using WordPress.com, which has its limitations.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

To make it easy, we have created a video tutorial on how to install a WordPress plugin that you can watch below.

However, if you just want to follow text-instructions, then you can follow our step by step tutorial on how to install a WordPress plugin.

We have covered all three methods: installing a WordPress plugin using search, uploading a WordPress plugin, and manually installing a WordPress plugin using FTP.

Install a Plugin using WordPress Plugin Search

The easiest way of installing a WordPress plugin is to use the plugin search. The only downside of this option is that a plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory which is limited to only free plugins.

First thing you need to visit the Plugins » Add New page inside your WordPress admin area.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

You will see a screen like the one in the screenshot above. Find the plugin by typing the plugin name or the functionality you are looking for. After that, you will see a bunch of listings like the example below:

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

You can pick the plugin that is best for you. Since in our search, we were looking for WPForms which is the best WordPress contact form plugin, we’ll click the ‘Install Now’ button next to it.

WordPress will now download and install the plugin for you. After this, you’ll notice the ‘Install Now’ button will change into the ‘Activate’ button.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

A WordPress plugin can be installed on your site, but it will not work unless you activate it. So go ahead and click on the activate button to start using that plugin on your WordPress site.

That’s all, you have successfully installed your first WordPress plugin.

The next step is to configure the plugin settings. These settings will vary for each plugin therefore we will not be covering that in this post.

Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload

Paid WordPress plugins are not listed in the WordPress plugin directory. These plugins cannot be installed using the first method.

That’s why WordPress comes with the upload method to install such plugins. We will show you how to install WordPress plugins using the upload option in the admin area.

First, you need to download the plugin from the source (which will be a zip file). Next, you need to go to WordPress admin area and visit Plugins » Add New page.

After that, click on the ‘Upload Plugin’ button on top of the page.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

This will reveal the plugin upload form. Here you need to click on the ‘Choose File’ button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

After you have selected the file, you need to click on the ‘Install Now’ button.

WordPress will now upload the plugin file from your computer and install it for you. You will see a success message like this after the installation is finished.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

Once installed, you need to click on the Activate Plugin link to start using the plugin.

You would have to configure the settings to fit your needs. These settings will vary for each plugin therefore we will not be covering that in this post.

Manually Install a WordPress Plugin using FTP

In some rare cases, your WordPress hosting provider may have file restrictions that could limit your ability to install a plugin from the admin area.

In this situation, your best bet is to install the plugin manually using FTP.

The FTP manager method is the least friendly for beginners.

First you will need to download the plugin’s source file (it will be a zip file). Next, you need to extract the zip file on your computer.

Extracting the plugin zip file will create a new folder with the same name. This is the folder that you need to manually upload to your website using a FTP client.

You would need to access your host through the FTP manager. If you do not have your FTP username and password, then contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask them.

Open the FTP client on your computer and connect to your website using the login credentials provided by your web host. Once connected, you need to go to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your website.

Next, upload the folder you extracted from the zip file to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your web server.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

After uploading the files, you need to visit the WordPress admin area and click on the Plugins link in the admin menu. You’ll see your plugin successfully installed on the plugins page.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

You need to click on the Activate link below the plugin to start using it.

Upon activating, you may need to configure the plugin settings. WordPress plugins come with their own settings which differ from one plugin to another so we will not describe them here.

FAQs About Installing WordPress Plugins

As a beginners you may have few questions about installing WordPress plugins. As the largest WordPress resource site, we have heard all of them.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about installing WordPress plugins.

1. How do I find the best WordPress plugins to install on my website?

There are more than 55,000 WordPress plugins on the free WordPress plugin directory alone. Many more are available as premium plugins. This makes it a bit difficult for beginners to find the best plugin for the feature they need.

We have compiled a list of all the essential WordPress plugins that most WordPress websites need.

We also have a detailed tutorial on choosing the best WordPress plugin where we show you what to look for when looking for a plugin.

2. What is the difference between installed and active plugins?

WordPress allows you to install a plugin and not use it at all. In order to use a plugin on your site, you need to ‘Activate’ it.

You can see active plugins by visiting the ‘Plugins’ page in the WordPress admin area. They will be highlighted with a blue background.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

Plugins with the white background are installed on your website but not active.

3. Should I delete inactive plugins?

If you are not using a plugin, then it is recommended to delete it from your website. For more on this topic, see our article on why should you delete inactive plugins in WordPress.

4. How many plugins I can install in WordPress?

You can install as many WordPress plugins as you need. It is not the number of plugins that affect your website speed, but the quality of those plugins. For more information, see our article on how many WordPress plugins you should install.

5. How do I uninstall a WordPress plugin

You can uninstall a WordPress plugin by visiting the Plugins page in the WordPress admin area. If the plugin you want to remove is currently active, then first you’ll need to deactivate it. After that, you can simply click on the delete link to remove it from your website.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

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