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How To Install A WordPress Plugin

by Kevin Gabeci 5 months ago in how to

Learn how to Install the most important thing on a WordPress website.

Photo by Stephen Phillips - Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

What is a Plugin?

The short answer and the easiest way for everyone to understand is this, plugins are like apps for your WordPress site. They add different functionalities that vary from a shopping cart to slideshows. Most of the time your site does not feel complete if there are no plugins installed. So take your time to do some research on what does your website needs and try to find them on the plugin store available under your dashboard items after clicking ‘Plugins’ -> ‘Add New.’

There can also be plugins that help with utility, such as ‘Autoptimize’ as the name suggest it does optimization on your site for it to load faster. It optimizes JavaScript code and also fixes CSS and images. It’s a really great addition to the fleet of plugins and does work wonders. You can check the difference this one plugin does by checking your site’s speed on the PageSpeed Insights by Google.

Why use Plugins?

As a beginner, that is an excellent question to ask. You may feel like you have found a fantastic theme that has everything you need. So you ask now why use plugins when you feel like you don’t need to add anything else to your site. Well, let me tell you how wrong you are.

A site without plugins is like a car without options at all it’s just boring and not really good. Plugins are not only to help your website feel complete and fully featured but also, there are ones that help protect from attackers or to see the stats like ‘Jetpack’ which does both of those things.

Plugins give you more control over your site and by having that you can improve your product tremendously. I talked earlier about ‘Autoptimize,’ which is a really helpful and powerful utility plugin at the same time. There also are a lot more utility-type plugins such as ‘Easy SSL’ that help you keep the SSL Certificate on your site and fix the redirects error you’d frequently get. These are all amazing and help make your life running and maintaining a website a lot easier.

Not to leave without mentioning is ‘WooCommerce,’ a plugin really powerful that literally turns your site into an online store in just a few minutes. Yeah, you heard it right in just about ten to fifteen minutes of setting up the plugin you can have an online store ready for you.

This plugin handles everything from product inventory to payment and everything online business needs. It would not be a wise thing for you to do to have all these tools at your disposal and not use them. Do your research find what’s wrong or what’s missing from your website and install a plugin to take care of it. Having more options is never a bad thing.

Install a Plugin using WordPress Plugin Search

Installing a plugin via the Plugin Search is really simple and intuitive. It’s super fast to do, and you could even figure out how to do it without searching or learning anything before. Anyway, I’ll show you how to do it you just have to follow the steps below.

You should already be at your Dashboard or site admin panel which is found like this: http://your-domain.com/wp-admin/

Once you are there you should search in the sidebar menu for a tab named ‘Plugins’. You can click it and find the ‘Add New’ button on that page or hover over it and find it on the side like in the picture below.

Now you can search for a Keyword, an Author, or even Tag of the desired Plugin. You could also browse the Featured content, Popular plugins, Recommended for you also you can search for the Favorite plugins of another WordPress.org user.

After finding the plugin that you want to install on your site, what you have to do is click on the ‘Install Now’ button. That will download the plugin and install it, but that’s not the last step.

Now after the installation took place, which it depends on how long it takes if the plugin is of a large file or not. You have to click ‘Activate,’ which, as you might have guessed it activates the plugin on the site.

That was the final step now your plugin is installed and activated on your website. All you have to do after that is to tweak the settings and enjoy the feature that comes with it. This is by far the easiest and fastest way to install a plugin.

Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload

Uploading a plugin and installing it through the Admin Plugin Upload is not as complex as it sounds but definitively worth your time to learn. This is usually done if you have bought a premium or pro plugin, and you have gotten a file to install it manually since most of them are not found in the plugin store.

The file should come as an installable zip archive. It’s a powerful tool but be careful it could hurt your site by invoking a critical error that would make your site unusable and only a backend admin would be able to log you back in or restore it.

It has happened to me multiple times most of them because of compatibility issues but that’s not the point I’m just warning everyone that it could happen.

Once again, you should already be at your Dashboard or site admin panel which is found like this: http://your-domain.com/wp-admin/.

From there, find the ‘Plugins’ tab.

You can click it and find the ‘Add New’ button on the new page that opens or hover over it and find it on the side and click it from there.

Once you are there in the top left, there should be a button ‘Upload Plugin,’ Click it.

The next screen would allow you to browse through your computer files in search of the zip archive with the plugin inside of it. Once you have found and selected it now, it should start uploading the plugin to the site.‎‎‎‎

After successfully finishing installing, make sure that you activate the plugin and do the necessary tweaks of the settings to feel more complete.

That was it now you have learned how to install a plugin from the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload. It wasn’t as intimidating as the name suggests it is, and you can complete this task fast too after you’ve had some time to practice it. It’s a powerful method of installing plugins and definitively, someday you’ll need to use this method so it’s better if you learn it either way.

Manually Install a WordPress Plugin using FTP

Installing a plugin in WordPress using an FTP or File Transfer Protocol program is not a usually used technique. But in some rare cases, you might have to use this method since your hosting provider might have some restrictions that don’t allow you to install a plugin with the two methods mentioned above. The FTP manager method is not the easiest nor the friendliest for beginners, so bear with me on this one take things slow to understand what is going on.

Just like in the last method, you’ll need the plugin in the form of an installable zip archive. However, to install it on your website, you first need to extract the zip file, and that will produce a folder with the exact file name. That’s the folder that you will use to upload it to your website file directory.

You should open your hosting provider’s FTP manager. If you don’t have it or haven’t used it before trying to contact them to receive the username and password.

Open the FTP client and login with the credentials given by your hosting provider. From there, navigate to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder and select it.

Upload the folder that you extracted from the archive.

After uploading is finished you still have to navigate back to your Dashboard -> Plugins -> Installed plugins and find the one that you already installed and Activate it. After activation makes sure to edit the settings, and then you are done.

Those are all the steps to completing uploading a plugin through an FTP manager. This is a bit hard for beginners to understand and complete the first try successfully, but it’s a powerful tool in the hands of veterans. What makes it so useful is the ability to have the entire site structure and files at your hand and you can make any change you want from there. It’s not advised to make these changes and edits there if you are not a professional, though.

Closing Thoughts

By now, it should be crystal clear to everyone that using a plugin is beneficial to the website and to them. There are a lot of reasons why plugins should be available and installed on your website and almost none against why they shouldn’t. I personally don’t see why I shouldn’t install at least five of them immediately after creating my first site, let alone not installing any.

They are useful tools that help make our life easier and I’m not going to say no to that anytime soon. The faster you get into the mindset of using them as much as possible without affecting the page speed and performance of the site, the better it will be for you in the end.

You should learn all the methods of installing a plugin as you might need to use them someday if you are going to pursue this path. Like you saw from the methods above, the steps are not that hard and generally simple to follow through. I hope this article helped you learn how to install WordPress plugins and also the importance that they have to your site.

how to
Kevin Gabeci
Kevin Gabeci
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