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How to Install a WordPress Plugin.

install wordpress plugin graphic

Tutorial Overview.

This tutorial will explain what a WordPress plugin is, the different types of plugins, how to choose a quality plugin and three different ways to install a WordPress plugin. It will also explain free, freemium and premium plugins, how to install plugins through WordPress and via FTP and where to get WordPress plugins.

Quickies.

What is a WordPress Plugin?

A WordPress plugin is an application that you put in your website that adds or extends features and/or functionality. Some examples of plugins are photo galleries, slideshows, shopping carts, and social media feeds. The possibilities are absolutely endless as there are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available.

Are WordPress Plugins Free?

A lot of them are. There are basically three types of WordPress plugins when it comes to cost: free, freemium, and premium. You can use free WordPress plugins for no cost indefinitely. Freemium plugins are free with limited use and require a paid-for upgrade if you want to unlock premium features. Premium plugins cost money but they can be better quality and usually give you better features.

Where Can I Get Plugins for WordPress?

The best place to find free WordPress plugins is at WordPress.org or directly in the admin area of your website at: Plugins > Add New. Code Canyon is going to be your best bet for finding paid-for plugins. There are a few other places to get these but in my opinion, Code Canyon is the best. You can also find many WordPress plugins at places like GitHub.

Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Plugin?

  • Active Installations: I generally look for plugins with a higher amount of installations. Look at the plugin’s number of installations compared to other similar plugins. If it has a significantly lower number of installations it might be a lousy plugin or it could just be a new plugin.
  • Rating: Look at the stars and the number of ratings.
  • Last Updated: High-quality plugins are regularly updated so if the plugin hasn’t been updated in a while this could be a red flag.
  • Compatibility: Make sure the plugin is compatible with the version of WordPress that you are using which should be the latest.

ShortPixel Plugin Graphic

Note: This tutorial applies to WordPress.org websites not WordPress.com websites. If you need to install WordPress, Check out my detailed tutorial: How to Install WordPress Tutorial.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin.

This tutorial explains three different ways to install a plugin on a WordPress website:

How to Install a WordPress Plugin Directly in the Admin Area.

You will not be able to install premium plugins with this method.
1. Login to the admin area of your website.
2. Click on Plugins in the admin sidebar.
3. At the top left of the screen, click on Add New.
Install New Plugin Graphic
4. At the top right of the screen search for the plugin you want to install.
Search WordPress Plugins Graphic
5. Once you find the plugin you want, see tips above, click the Install Now button.
Install Plugin Screenshot
6. Wait while WordPress installs the plugin.
7. Click on the Activate button.
Activate Plugin Screenshot
Where are the plugin settings located?

How to Upload a Plugin to WordPress.

You will be able to install any plugin in the .zip format with this method.
1. Find the WordPress plugin you want to use. See tips above. This may be at WordPress.org, Code Canyon, GitHub, or anywhere else.
2. Download the plugin to your desktop.
3. Be sure the plugin is in the .zip format.
4. Login to the admin area of your website.
5. Click on Plugins in the admin sidebar.
6. At the top left of the screen, click on Add New.
Add New Plugin Screenshot
7. At the top left of the screen, click on Upload Plugin.
Upload Plugin Screenshot
8. Click on Choose File and upload your .zip file from your desktop.
9. Activate the plugin.
WordPress Plugin Upload Screenshot
Where are the plugin settings located?

How to Install a WordPress Plugin via FTP.

You will be able to install any plugin with this method.
1. Find the WordPress plugin you want to use. See tips above. This may be at WordPress.org, Code Canyon, GitHub, or anywhere else.
2. Download the plugin to your desktop.
3. If the plugin is in the .zip format, extract the plugin to your desktop.
4. Make an FTP connection to your server. Detailed instructions here: How to Make an FTP Connection with FileZilla.
5. Locate the directory that has your website in it. Most of the time it will be in the webroot directory but it could be in another folder if you have multiple websites.
6. Go to: wp-content > plugins and upload your plugin folder.
7. Login to the admin area of your website.
8. Click on Plugins in the Admin Sidebar.
9. You should see the plugin in the list of plugins.
10. Find the plugin and click on Activate.

Where Are the Plugin Settings Located?

Now that your plugin is active you probably need to find the settings for the plugin. This can be tricky sometimes but most of the time the link to the settings will appear in the admin sidebar or in one of the sub-menus. This might be under Settings, Appearance, or any of the other top-level menu items. If you can’t find it, click on Plugins, locate your plugin and click on View Details or find your plugin on WordPress.org for more information.

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