How to Install WordPress Plugins

WordPress

WordPress plugins are a great way to add functionality to your site, especially if you have a DIY-approach to your blog design and don’t know how to code. There are hundreds of thousands of plugins. With each plugin, comes tutorials for setup, customization, and support. If you are unsure of what plugins to use for your site, here are a few of my recommendations.

Three easy ways to install WordPress Plugins

Install WordPress Plugins

Before you make any changes to your site, run a backup. There are several backup plugins, but Vaultpress is my favorite. Be careful with free backup plugins. A few of my past clients have learned the hard way about sub-standard backup plugins. Also, if you are on WordPress.com and not self-hosted WordPress, you will not be able to install plugins. It’s one of the biggest disadvantages.

  • In your blog dashboard, go to PLUGINS < ADD NEW.
  • In the Search Field at the top right, type the name of the plugin you want to install and press ENTER.
  • Find the plugin you want to install and select INSTALL NOW.
  • The plugin will install right there. Once it is done, you can select to activate it in that window. Press ACTIVATE.
  • The plugin is now installed, and you need to follow instructions through the plugin developer for setting it up.

Searching for a WordPress Plugin

Uploading Plugins

Let’s say you purchased a plugin from someone or want to try a plugin that is not in the Plugin Directory. It’s super easy! This approach is often used when you are uploading premium plugins.

  • In your blog dashboard, go to PLUGINS < ADD NEW.
  • At the top near ADD PLUGINS, select the blue button called UPLOAD PLUGIN.
  • A new window will appear. Select CHOOSE FILE, then upload the plugin zip file.
  • Once you have selected the zip file, press INSTALL NOW.
  • WordPress will install the plugin and display a success message when it is complete. Select the blue link at the bottom called ACTIVATE PLUGIN.
  • The plugin is now installed, and you need to follow instructions through the plugin developer for setting it up.

Uploading a WordPress Plugin

FTP Method

If you are a developer setting up a site, then those two approaches are probably more time intensive than you are willing to spend. At least they are for me. When I setup a client site, I prefer to use FTP access. I tend to use the same plugins for each project, and I keep a separate file of them on my computer. This method allows me to upload them all at once, instead of one at a time.

  1. Download the plugin file and extract the zip on your computer.
  2. Login to your site via FTP.
  3. Find the path /wp-content/plugins.
  4. Upload the extracted file to the plugins folder.
  5. Once you have uploaded your plugin, log out of your FTP and access your WordPress dashboard.
  6. Go to PLUGINS < INSTALL PLUGINS. Find the plugin(s) that you just installed, and select ACTIVATE!
  7. Your plugins are now installed!

Uploading Plugins via FTP

Setting Up Your Plugin

Each plugin is different, but finding key information about the plugin is located in the same place. Under PLUGINS < ALL PLUGINS. Each plugin will include relevant links such as the developer website, details, and support. In this section, you can see installation instructions, FAQs, and screenshots. If you run into an issue setting up a plugin, reach out to the developer. Plugin developers notoriously take a few days to get back to you, so don’t expect an answer right away. Instead, check out the support logs to see if you can find your solution!

Plugin Information

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Want more WordPress tutorials? Check out these posts!

Three easy ways to install WordPress Plugins