Immediately after installing WordPress, one of the first thing every beginner has to learn is how to install a WordPress plugin. Plugins enable you to add new features to WordPress like add a gallery, slideshow, etc. There are lots of free and paid plugins readily available for WordPress. In this step by step guide, we are going to show you how to install a WordPress plugin.
Before You Start
In case you are using WordPress.com, then you will not install plugins.
We generally get complaints from users saying that they can not see the plugins menu in their WordPress admin panel. It’s because you’re using WordPress.com, which has its limitations.
You can’t install plugins on WordPress.com unless you upgrade for their business plan. Alternatively, you will be able to install any plugin you want on your own self hosted WordPress.org website right out of the box (See the differences in between self hosted WordPress.org vs WordPress.com).
In case you would like to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, then read our tutorial about how to properly move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
There are 3 ways to install plugins in WordPress.
- Install a Plugin using WordPress Admin Dashboard Plugin Search
- Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin dashboard Plugin Upload
- Manually Install a WordPress Plugin using FTP or SFTP
If you are installing a plugin from WordPress Plugin Directory then the best way using the 1st option i.e. to search for the plugin from WordPress Admin Dashboard Plugin Search
If you are installing a plugin from which is not available in the WordPress Plugin Directory, either you have purchased the plugin or you have received the plugin from someone, perhaps maybe you have someone has created a plugin for you, then the 2nd option is the best way to install the plugin in WordPress.
3rd option requires you to have access to FTP for the WordPress website.
How to Install a WordPress Plugin
To make it simple and easy, we have created a video tutorial regarding how to install a WordPress plugin which you can watch below.
However in case you just wish to follow text-instructions, then you can follow our detailed tutorial about how to install a WordPress plugin.
We have covered all three methods: installing a WordPress plugin using search, uploading a WordPress plugin, and manually installing a WordPress plugin using FTP.
Install a Plugin using WordPress Admin Dashboard Plugin Search
The easiest way of installing a WordPress plugin is to use the plugin search. The only problem with this option is the fact that a plugin must be in the WordPress plugin repository that is limited to only free plugins.
First thing you’ll want to do is go to the WordPress admin area and then click on Plugins » Add New.
You will see a screen like the one in the screenshot above. Find the plugin by typing the plugin name or the functionality you’re looking for, like we did. After that, you will see a number of listings like the example below:
You will be able to select the plugin which is best for you. Since in our search, we were looking for Floating Social Bar which happens to be the first plugin, we’ll click on the ‘Install Now’ button.
WordPress will now download and install the plugin for you. Following this, you will see the success message with a link to activate the plugin or return to plugin installer.
A WordPress plugin can easily be installed on your own website, however it will not work unless you activate it. So go ahead and then click on the activate plugin link to activate the plugin on your WordPress website.
That is all, you have successfully installed your first WordPress plugin.
The next step is to configure the plugin settings. These settings will vary for each and every plugin therefore we are going not to covering that in this blog post.
Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin dashboard Plugin Upload
Paid WordPress plugins are not listed within the WordPress plugin directory. These plugins can not be installed by using the first method.
That is why WordPress has the Upload method to install such plugins. we are going to show you how to install WordPress plugins by using the upload option in the WordPress Dashboard area.
First, you have to download the plugin from the source (which will be a zip file). Next, you should go to WordPress admin area and visit Plugins » Add New page.
After that, click on the Upload Plugin button on top of the page.
This will bring you to the plugin upload page. Here you have to click on the choose file button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer.
Once you have selected the file, you should click on the install now button.
WordPress will now upload the plugin file from your computer and install it for you. You will see a success message like this just after the installation is finished.
Once installed, you should click on the Activate Plugin link to begin using the plugin.
You would have to configure the settings to fit your needs. These settings will vary for each and every plugin therefore we are not going to covering that in this blog post.
Manually Install a WordPress Plugin using FTP or SFTP
In some cases, your WordPress hosting provider may have file restrictions that could limit your ability to install a plugin from the admin area.
In this situation, your best bet is to install the plugin manually using FTP.
The FTP manager method is definitely the least friendly for beginners.
First you have to download the plugin’s source file (it’s going to be a zip file). Next, you have to extract the zip file in your computer.
Extracting the plugin zip file will create a new folder with exactly the same name. This is the folder which you need to manually upload to the website using a FTP client.
You would require to access your host through the FTP manager. In case you do not have your FTP username and password, then contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask them.
Open the FTP client in your computer and connect to your website by using the login credentials provided by your web host. Once connected, you must access the path /wp-content/plugins/
Next, upload the folder you extracted from the zip file to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder in your web server.
After uploading the files, you should go to the WordPress dashboard area and then click on the Plugins link inside admin menu. You will see your plugin successfully installed on the plugins page.
You have to click on the Activate link below the plugin. Upon activating, you might have to configure the plugin settings. WordPress plugins come with their own settings which differ from one plugin to another so we are going to not describe them here.
We hope this helped you learn how to install WordPress plugin. You might also like to see our plugins category where we write about the best WordPress plugins which you can use to accomplish whatever you are looking to do. Each of those articles come with step-by-step instructions regarding how to setup individual plugins. You can visit our blog to read more blog posts.