Installing WordPress isn’t that difficult. Most of the hosting companies offer one-click installation of WordPress, making it fairly simple for just about anyone to install WordPress for the first time.
Assuming that you have already installed WordPress, it is about time to get started by installing a few plugins.
No, I am not going to tell you which plugins you need to install, because that’s not what this article is about. I am going to tell you how to install a WordPress plugin.
There are three methods you can follow. The last method that I will speak about is not desired if you are a rookie. You can safely ignore that. However, if you want to learn it, that’s totally fine!
Let’s begin with the methods of installing a WordPress plugin.
Method 1: Plugin Search Through WordPress Dashboard
This method is by far, the simplest, and albeit, the most recommended method for any plugin available in the plugin repository.
In fact, it is the method that I always use even after 6+ years of blogging experience with WordPress. It is straightforward and quick!
Start by signing into your website using the URL: https://yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Once you login, you will see the WordPress dashboard with a menu on the left side of the screen. It is a vertical menu. You will see something like this:
Notice the Plugins option highlighted using a yellow box. That’s the option you need.
Hover your mouse on the menu option and you will notice a submenu. This is what you will see:
You need to click on ‘Add New.’
Once you click on Add New, you will see the plugin repository. This is how it looks like:
You see the search bar on top highlighted with red?
Yes, that’s the place where you search for a plugin. Remember that you will find only those plugins that are present in the repository. There are some plugins like WP Rocket that is not available in the repository. There will be similar other plugins that are premium by nature, and available only through the developers’ sites.
For such premium plugins, you have to use the second method or the third method.
Coming to the first method, once you search a plugin, you will see the results. Something like this:
The first option you see after you conduct a plugin search is the plugin that you want. Well, if you are using a generic search term, all the plugins classified under that category will be listed.
In the example above, I searched for a specific plugin called Akismet, and hence, it shows up in the first spot.
If I search for ‘comments spam,’ Akismet might not necessarily show up on the first spot. This is what I mean:
When I search for ‘comment spam,’ all plugins that are categories as comment spam prevention plugin show up. Akismet also shows up, but it is now in the second spot instead of the first spot.
So, you can search using a specific plugin name, or you can search using a generic term if you don’t know the exact name, or if you want to explore different options.
Once you find the plugin you want, click on the install button to install the plugin.
After you click on the install button, the plugin will install, and you will notice the Install Now button changing to Activate.
Until you click on the Activate button, the plugin will not be ready for use. You have to activate the plugin to be able to configure it and use it.
That’s it! You have successfully installed your first plugin.
Method 2: Plugin Upload Through WordPress Dashboard
This is the method you use when the plugin you want to install is not available through the plugin repository. That usually happens when you want to install a premium plugin that you need to purchase and download from the developer’s site.
In that case, head over to your WordPress dashboard and click on Add New from the plugins sub menu as you did in Method 1.
This time, instead of searching for a new plugin using the search option, locate the Upload Plugin button on the top of the page.
When you click on that button, you will see the option of uploading a plugin.
You need to click on the Choose File button to upload a plugin. Make sure that the plugin you are downloading is in .zip format. That is the only format that you can use.
Once you select the file, click on the Install Now button. The button becomes active only after you choose the zipped file.
Once you click on the Install Now button, the plugin will start installing. Wait until the process completes.
After the plugin installation completes, you will get the option of activating the plugin. Click on the Activate Plugin button the plugin will become active. You can then use the plugin.
That’s it! You have successfully installed a plugin.
Method 3: Plugin Upload Through FTP
As I said earlier, you can skip this method. There is absolutely no need to take this route, because the above two methods are perfectly fine.
Still, if you want to learn this method, continue reading.
Step 1: Open FileZilla or any other FTP client that you have installed on your computer. If you haven’t already installed one, you need to do that.
I will be using FileZilla for this tutorial, and this is how the FileZilla interface looks like:
On the top you will notice the options called Host, username, Password, and Port. You need to fill in those details.
Usually, your hosting provider will give you all those details. Some hosting provides will even allow you to create new FTP accounts.
Enter the necessary details.
Usually, the host is the server IP address where your website is located. The username and password are provided by the hosting provider. The port is usually 22 when you are using SFTP or Secured File Transfer Protocol.
Enter the details and click on the Quickconnect button.
Once you connect, you will see the website files located on the remote server on the right site of the FileZilla client.
Navigate to the public_html folder >> wp-content >> plugins.
On the left side you can see the files on your computer.
Navigate to the downloaded zipped file on the left and right-click on the file to pull up the menu (make sure that the plugins folder is still selected on the right side).
From the menu, click on the upload option.
Once you click on the upload option, the zipped file will upload to the remote server’s plugins folder.
Now, disconnect the FTP client and go back to your WordPress site and look into Plugins >> Installed Plugins. You can see the plugin in the list of installed plugins. You can then go ahead and activate the plugin!
While all three methods are easy, the last one is slightly technical, and you should use it if you are facing some error while uploading or installing plugin through your WordPress site’s dashboard. Method 3 should always be your last resort.
FAQs About Installing WordPress Plugins
First thing first, you should not be installing every plugin you find. Install only the plugins essential for the proper functioning of your site.
You can find the plugins you need from the WordPress plugin repository through your WordPress dashboard. Alternatively, you can find them here in this URL.
This repository contains all the free plugins. There are 58,627 plugins available.
There are many more premium plugins that you can find using a quick Google search. You can find many through marketplaces like Envato (Code Canyon).
You can install as many plugins as you want. There is no limit. However, you should not be installing too many plugins because they can slow down your site, and they can cause conflicts that can render your website inaccessible.
Also, do not forget that not all plugins are frequently updated. Some plugins are no longer actively developed. You should stay away from those plugins.
Install only those plugins that are essential for proper functioning of your website.
If you are not using a plugin and you have deactivated it, you should remove the plugin to avoid annoyance and potential security breaches and conflicts.
Removing a plugin will first require you to deactivate the plugin. Once you deactivate the plugin, you will see the option for deleting a plugin.
The option for deactivating a plugin shows up in the list of installed plugins on your WordPress dashboard.
Yes, you can do that, but it is a cumbersome process. First you need to use your FTP client to navigate to the plugins folder. Select the folder and right-click on it and delete. Remember, you should be using this method only if you cannot delete the plugin from your WordPress dashboard.