After installing WordPress, the first thing every beginner needs to learn is how to install a WordPress plugin. Plugins allow you to add new features to WordPress such as add a gallery, slideshow, etc. 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.
We have covered all four methods: install plugin required in your WordPress theme, installing a WordPress plugin using search, uploading a WordPress plugin, and manually installing a WordPress plugin using FTP.
Install plugin required follow by WordPress theme.
Once you have installed and activated our theme you will be prompted to install required and recommended plugins. Just click the link to Begin installing plugins. Here is the easiest way of installing a WordPress plugin.
Next, check boxes to select all the plugins you want to install, select the bulk action of install from the dropdown box and then click the button to apply.
Next, just click the link to Return to Required Plugins Installer.
Select the plugins you had installed, and then apply the bulk action to activate them.
Install a Plugin using WordPress Plugin Search
Very easyly 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 do is go to your WordPress admin area and click on Plugins » Add New. 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, like we did. After that, you will see a bunch of listings like the example below:
You can pick the plugin that is best for you. Since in our search, we were looking for Widget Importer & Exporter which happens to be the first plugin, we will click the Install Now button.
WordPress will now download and install the plugin for you. After this, 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 activate the 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 has the Upload method to install such plugins. We will show you how to install WordPress plugin 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.
This will bring you to the plugin upload page. Here you need to click on the choose file button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer.
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 installation is finished.
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 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 access the path /wp-content/plugins/
Next, upload the folder you extracted from the zip file to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your web server.
You need to click on the Activate link below the plugin. 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.