How To Install A WordPress Plugin

The fourth step to create a WordPress site is by installing a WordPress plugin. A WordPress plugin is a set of scripts that allows you to extend the functionality of your website. Which mean, with a plugin, you can alter, enhance, customize, remove or even add many features on your website. You may want to read how to create your own plugin.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin

Basically, there are three ways to install a WordPress plugin. You can install it via admin plugin search, upload method or using any FTP client.

Direct Install Through Admin Plugin Search

The most common way to install a WordPress plugin is by installing it through admin plugin search. Using this method allows you to directly install any plugin from WordPress plugin directory straight to your website. Not to mention, there are tens of thousands various kinds of plugins in available this directory.

However, please note that you can't install premium plugins using this method since it's not available in the plugin directory. To start installing, first, login to your WordPress admin area. Next, go to Plugins » Add New. Please refer to the image 1 below.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin
Image 1.

After that, you will reach to a new page where several featured plugins are listed. In this page, you will find a menu with few categories like Featured, Popular, Recommended, and Favorites. Moreover, there are also a search bar, so feel free to take your time to find any plugin that you need.

For the sake of this article, I will use a plugin called Akismet as an example. To start installing this plugin, simply click on the “Install” button. Please take a look at the image 2 below.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin
Image 2.

After you install the plugin, next, click on the “Activate” to activate it. Once your plugin is activated, next, go to plugin setting for further configuration. Plugin setting may vary depending on plugin type, so please refer to the plugin documentation for more information.

Installing Via Upload Method

The second method to install a WordPress plugin is by installing using the upload method. Compared to the previous method, this method not only allows you to install free plugins but premium plugin as well.

Assuming that you already have your plugin (.zip) file, let's start installing our plugin by going to Plugins » Add New.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin
Image 3.

Next, click on the "Upload Plugin" button. Please take a look at the image 4 below.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin
Image 4.

Then, you will be prompted to choose your plugin (.zip) file similar to the image 5 below. Select your plugin (.zip) file and click "Install Now" to start installing your plugin.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin
Image 5.

After you complete the plugin installation, next, click on "Activate" to activate your new plugin. Please refer to image 6 below.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin
Image 6.

Finally, feel free to go to plugin setting page for further configuration if necessary.

Installing Using FTP Client

In addition to the two ways above, you can also install a WordPress plugin using FTP client. However, I would not recommend it to a beginner although using this method have some advantages.

For example, it not only allows you to backup your current plugin before updating it to the latest version. But also allow you to revert it back to the previous version in case of incompatibility issue.

To start plugin installation using FTP, first read how to upload files and folders using FTP. Assuming you already know how to set up FTP client, next, go to /wp-content/plugins/ and upload all your plugin files and folder in the directory. Please don't forget to extract (unzip) your plugin file before uploading it or otherwise, it won’t work.

Once you finish uploading your plugin, login to your WordPress admin area and navigate to Plugins » Installed Plugins. You should see a list of your plugin(s) there. Simply search your newly uploaded plugin and click on "Activate" button to activate it.

Installing Via WP-CLI

If you have set up WP-CLI for your WordPress, then perhaps this is the easiest way to install your plugin. Let's say, for example, you want to install Akismet plugin, simply enter the following line will do the task. However, if you only want to install without activating the plugin, please remove the --activate and you are done.

Recommended WordPress Plugin

There are many plugins available to improve or extend your website functionality. Whether it is free plugins in the WordPress plugin directory or premium plugins sold by various developers. For your convenience, we have tried all these plugins listed below and would like to recommend them to you.

Other Things You Need To Know

Now, you already know how to install a WordPress plugin. Nonetheless, there are a few things you should always keep in mind:

  1. Always use the most recent version of the plugin. The latest version usually has less or no bug than the previous one, yet it also has the possibility for incompatibility issue.
  2. Do not forget to backup before updating your plugin. In any worst case scenario such as an incompatibility issue, you can easily revert back to the previous version.
  3. Never test your any of your plugin on your live site. Instead, consider to get a staging feature or test your new plugin on a dummy/demo site. This is to avoid any bad user experience for your visitors during your testing.
  4. If your current plugin is no longer maintained by the developer for a long time, please consider looking for another alternative. It may no longer be supported in the future because WordPress always evolve as well as web hosting companies always updating their hardware.
  5. If you found or have some code snippets you would like to use on your website, please consider to create your own site-custom plugin rather than save it in your theme functions.php.

Footer Note

As can be seen, you can install a WordPress plugin in many ways. I hope this article helps you to install your plugin. Apart from that, I also hope that our plugin list will help you to find the plugin you need.

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