When we start using WordPress, one of the very first questions that comes to our mind is how to install plugins?
Before we actually learn how to install plugins, let us see what plugins are?
One of the biggest advantages of using WordPress CMS is that you can smoothly run your website without writing a single line of code. How will you feel if I tell you that you can easily make your WordPress website more user friendly or add new features in just few clicks. All this can be done with the help of the WordPress plugins.
WordPress plugins can be defined as software with which we can add new features to our website. With WordPress plugins, you can add new functionality to your website without writing a single line of code. WordPress plugin can be considered as an application developed with PHP programming language. They integrate seamlessly with your WordPress website either to extend your website’s functionality or to add new features to your website.
Note: We can install plugins only on self-hosted WordPress.org websites. If you can’t see any options to download plugins then you are probably using WordPress.com. If that’s the case then you need to buy their premium plans. Another reason can be that you don’t have the user privileges to download plugins on your self-hosted website. In that case, you need to contact your site’s admin.
Methods to Install WordPress Plugins
There are three ways by which you can install plugins to your WordPress websites. Out of these three methods the first two are very beginner friendly basic methods. The third might method is a bit tricky for beginners and is only recommended for advanced users.
The three methods for installing WordPress plugins are as follows:
- Installing WordPress plugins using the Search Function.
- Manually Uploading a WordPress Plugin.
- Manually installing Plugin using FTP.
Installing WordPress plugins using the Search Function.
WordPress is a very user-friendly CMS (Content Management System). The easiest way to add a plugin is to search one from the plugin search bar present on the top-right corner of the dashboard.
If you know the name plugin you want to use, simply login to your WordPress dashboard, and go to Plugins >> Add New. On the Add New plugin page type the name of the plugin on the plugin search bar.
You will see a list of plugins or functionalities related to your search. Select the desired one and click on the “Install Now” button next to it.
Upon successful installation, activate the plugin. Before installing any plugin make sure that it is compatible with your version of WordPress.
Now, you have installed the required plugin successfully.
Then, go to settings and make the required changes to make sure the plugins are configured properly. This step varies for each plugin.
Manually Uploading a WordPress Plugin
There are few plugins on the net and other paid ones which are not present in the WordPress directory; hence we cannot use the previous method to install them.
Follow the steps given below to manually upload a WordPress Plugin.
Download the plugin from a source/plugin store on your browser. The plugin will be downloaded in a zip format.
Once you have downloaded the WordPress plugin login to your WordPress dashboard. On your dashboard go to Plugins >> Add New. On the Add New Plugin page you will see a Upload Plugin button on top of the page.
Now click on the Upload Plugin button and upload the zip file you have downloaded. Click on Install Now.
Finally, Activate the plugin.
Like the previous method, you will have to configure settings which will vary for each plugin.
This is all you need to do to upload a plugin on your WordPress website.
Manually installing Plugin using FTP
This method is generally suggested to the users who face issues like server restrictions and do not have access to installing plugins. For this method you need to have a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client installed on your machine.
The first step is to download the plugin’s source file which will be a zip file. Extract the zip file and new folder with the name of the plugin will be created.
We have to upload this newly created file manually on our website using an FTP client. Through the FTP manager, access your host and in case, you don’t have the required credentials, you need to contact your web hosting provider.
Once you have the credentials, enter them in the FTP client and connect to your server. Once you connect successfully to your web sever, open the public_html folder. In the folder go to wp-content >> plugins folder.
You need to upload the extracted folder in the plugins folder.
Once the transfer is successful, login to your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins >> Installed Plugins page. On the plugins page, find the uploaded plugin, and activate it.
Note: Beginners should avoid using this method.
Uninstall a Plugin
First you need to visit the Plugins section from the admin area of WordPress and deactivate a plugin and then click on the DELETE button.
It is better if you delete a plugin which is not in use.
To conclude, we have seen three methods to install plugins on WordPress. The first method in which we chose a plugin from WordPress’s directory is the most preferred one as it is easy and convenient. Although, it has a drawback that the paid plugins are not listed in that directory.
To overcome that drawback we can use the second method, which is to upload the plugins, by first downloading them on our systems. The third method in which we install the plugins manually is generally for experienced users who are familiar to using FTP.
One of the most important things we need to keep in mind while installing plugins is to check whether it is compatible with our version of WordPress.
We hope this article clears all your doubts related to the installation of WordPress Plugins. In case of queries, please leave a comment and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Also, if you want us to cover a specific topic you can leave a comment for that as well.