A WordPress plugin is a piece of software written in PHP programming language that contains a group of functions developed to perform specific tasks.WordPress repository is rich with thousands of useful plugins. The availability of a variety of plugins is one of the primary reasons for the immense popularity and success of WordPress.
After installing WordPress on your site, it is necessary to learn how to install a WordPress plugin. Plugins allow you to add new features to your WordPress site. If the theme you are using lacks the features you want, you can easily find a plugin for that.
In this guide, I will take you 3 different ways to install a WordPress plugin.
The process of installing the plugin is simple. Once you install a plugin for the first time, you can install any plugin in the future.
The three methods are:
- Installing a Plugin by Search from Plugins Page (easiest)
- Installing a Plugin by upload from Plugins Upload Page
- Installing a Plugin through FTP
This is the most straightforward process among the three methods, and most of the time, you will be using this method. This method allows you to install only free plugins available in the WordPress repository.
To install the plugin, follow the below steps:
From your WP Dashboard, click on Plugins > Add New.
It will take you to the WordPress plugin directory search page (as pictured below). Here, you can type the plugin name or keyword(s) related to a plugin in the search bar. In this example, I am installing Contact Form 7 (a popular contact form plugin).
Next, you will see the Plugin search result for your query keyword(s) just like in the screenshot below.
In the search result, you can find your desired plugin. WordPress provides details of a plugin like active installs, user ratings, name of the publisher, compatibility, last updated date, etc. for your reference.
Once you see your desired plugin in the search result, click on the Install Now button to initiate a plugin installation. It will take some time depending upon the plugin file size and your internet speed.
After the plugin is installed, you will see a screen like below with the option to activate it. Click on the Activate button to activate the plugin.
As soon as the plugin is activated, you will be redirected to Plugins Page. At the top, you will see the message Plugin activated(as pictured below).
This process is useful when you want to install the plugin that is not available in the WordPress repository. This method is applicable for installing Premium plugin or plugins from any third party site.
You need to download the plugin file in .zip format from the source. Once you have downloaded the plugin and ready to install, you can follow the below steps.
From your dashboard, click on Plugins > Add New. Then, click on the Upload plugin button, as shown in the screenshot below.
Now, you will see a screen like below. Click on Choose File to select the plugin you want to install or drop the file on this button. After that, click on the Install Now button.
After the plugin is installed successfully, you will see a similar screen, as shown below. Click on the Activate Plugin button.
Once the plugin is activated, WordPress will notify with a small note at the top of the page.
You can also directly upload a WordPress plugin to your web hosting server where your site is hosted. You need an FTP client like FileZilla and your web hosting credentials (username, password, hostname, etc.).
You should use this method if the other two methods mentioned above don’t work. The other scenario to use this method if you encounter any problem like a restriction of files or permission from your web hosting provider.
Follow these step to upload a plugin via FTP:
- Log in to your web hosting account using an FTP client.
- Navigate to wp-content > plugins folder
- Extract the plugin .zip file on your computer
- Upload unzipped folder of plugin to wp-content> plugins folder using FTP.
- After the completion of upload, go to WP Dashboard > Plugins > Installed Plugins.
- Here you will see the recently uploaded plugin. Click on Activate link to activate the plugin.
With plugins, you can add different functionalities on your site. But do not install too many plugins as it has adverse effects on your site loading speed.
I hope this guide will help you to install a WordPress plugin on your site. If you have questions or encounter any issues during installation, feel free to let me know in the comments below. I will be happy to help.