If you’re planning to launch a WordPress website or blog, one of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to install a WordPress plugin.
While it’s technically possible to launch a WordPress website or blog without installing a single WordPress plugin. But in this modern age, plugins are often required to make your website or blog a better place for you as well as for your visitors.
In fact, as your WordPress website or blog grows over time, the need for WordPress plugins will keep on increasing.
So, it’s better to learn how to install a WordPress plugin when you’re just starting out so that you don’t make any mistakes later when you’re website or blog has reached a critical stage.
And in this article, I’ll teach you guys 3 easy methods to install a WordPress plugin.
But, before we dive in, let’s go through the basics first!
A WordPress Plugin is basically a utility that allows WordPress users to add extra features/functionalities to their websites or blogs.
In fact, when it comes to WordPress plugins, the blogosphere is nowadays full of “get this plugin” and “get that plugin” advice.
Even my last article is about best WordPress Security plugins, which by the way you must take a look at if you’re starting a WordPress website or blog.
By installing different WordPress plugins, you can add new features to your WordPress website/blog such as a shopping cart, contact form, membership subscription, image slideshow, and so on.
And the best part is, today there are literally thousands of WordPress plugins available in the market.
That being said, let’s dive into the process of how to install a WordPress plugin.
WordPress Plugins are available as both, free and paid. And the installation process of free and paid WordPress plugins is a little different than each other.
In this post, I will show you the installation process for both, starting with the process of how to install a free plugin.
The process of installing a free WordPress plugin is easier than installing a paid WordPress plugin.
First of all, open the WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New as shown in the screenshot below.
WordPress basically offers an in-built WordPress Plugin Directory from which you can directly download and install any free WordPress plugin.
Now, as you click on the Add New button, you’ll be redirected to the Add Plugins page as shown below.
On this page, you can find any Free WordPress Plugin by either directly typing its name or functionality that you want to integrate into your WordPress website or blog.
As you can see in the above screenshot, I’ve typed Social Sharing functionality and it has returned all the relevant Free Social Sharing WordPress plugins in the Cards View.
Now, in each WordPress plugin’s card, you’ll see two button options. – Install Now & More Details.
Click on the More Details button if you want to check a plugin’s details.
And once you’ve finalized a plugin from the available options, click on the Install Now button to install a particular plugin.
As you click on the Install Now button, WordPress will start downloading and installing the plugin.
Once the installation process is completed, you’ll notice that the Install Now button will be turned into the Activate button as shown in the below screenshot.
Now, remember that even though the plugin is installed, you’ll have to click on the Activate button to integrate its functionality into your WordPress website or blog.
So, click on the Activate button after the installation process is completed.
After that, go back to your Admin Dashboard.
Here, you’ll notice a welcome screen for the new plugin that you just installed.
Now, depending on the plugin, you might have to add some details in order to properly configure the plugin on your website or blog.
You’ll find all the instructions on the welcome screen.
Also, on the left-side panel in your WordPress Dashboard, a new menu option for the plugin will be added as shown below.
NOTE: Many times, a newly installed plugin gets added to an existing menu in the left-side panel of your WordPress Dashboard. For instance, the Akismet plugin menu option is added to the Settings menu.
And it’s done!
You’ve now finally learned how to install a Free WordPress Plugin.
Let’s check out the process of how to install a Paid/Premium WordPress Plugin.
As I mentioned earlier, the installation process of a paid WordPress plugin is a bit different than installing a free WordPress plugin.
So, once you’ve purchased a premium plugin and downloaded its .zip file, follow the below-mentioned steps to install a paid/premium or a third-party WordPress plugin.
First of all, you’ll have to upload your purchased plugin on WordPress.
For this, open your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New.
After that, click on the Upload Plugin button given at the top of the Plugins page as shown in the below screenshot.
Now, click on the Choose File button as shown in the image below, and select the .zip file of the purchased plugin that you downloaded earlier.
Once you’ve selected the downloaded .zip file of the purchased or third-party plugin, click on the Install Now button to begin the process.
As you’ll notice, WordPress will start uploading and installing your premium plugin.
Now, once the process is completed, you’ll be prompted with an installation success message along with two button options. – Activate Plugin & Return to Plugin Installer.
Just like the free WordPress plugin installation process, you’ll have to manually Activate the paid plugin to integrate its functionality into your WordPress website or blog.
So, go ahead and click on the Activate Plugin button.
After you’ve activated the plugin, go back to the WordPress dashboard, and you’ll notice a welcome screen for the new plugin just like when we installed a free WordPress plugin.
Again, just like a free WordPress plugin, you might need to enter certain details such as Licence Key and other information to configure the plugin.
You’ll find all the instructions on the welcome screen for plugin configuration.
And that’s all!
You’ve now also learned how to upload and install a premium or third-party WordPress plugin.
Now, the only method that remains to learn is how to install a WordPress plugin via FTP.
Without wasting any time, let’s get into it.
Though most of the WordPress plugins can be installed using the above 2 methods, but sometimes your WordPress hosting provider might impose certain file restrictions that don’t allow automatic installations.
In this case, you can still install a particular WordPress plugin by using the manual FTP method.
Below is the step-by-step process to install a WordPress plugin manually via FTP.
First of all, download the .zip file of the WordPress plugin and extract the .zip file on your computer.
So, download an FTP client of your preference and install it on your computer.
Now, in order to upload the plugin folder to your WordPress website or blog, you’ll first need the FTP username and password.
If you don’t have the FTP credentials, you can simply ask your WordPress hosting provider to give you these details.
Next, open the FTP client on your computer and connect to your WordPress hosting server using the FTP credentials your hosting provider gave you.
After that, find this path – public_html/wp-content/plugins/
Then, upload the plugin folder that you extracted from the .zip file in the public_html/wp-content/plugins/ directory.
Once the upload process is completed, you need to check whether the plugin got installed ok or not.
For this, open your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Installed Plugins page.
On this page, you need to confirm whether your plugin was successfully installed or not.
If it’s been installed successfully, you’ll need to click on the Activate button to integrate its functionality into your WordPress website or blog.
Lastly, you might have to configure the plugin if needed just like the above two methods using the instructions given on your WordPress dashboard.
And there you have it!
You’ve now finally learned how to install a WordPress Plugin Manually Via FTP along with two other methods.
Now, before you start installing plugins into your WordPress site, I highly recommend you to learn how to identify a good WordPress plugin.
Because if you don’t, you might regret later in case you install a malicious plugin.
Here are the 3 main things you need to check to identify if a WordPress plugin is good or not.
The first thing you need to check before installing a WordPress plugin is its last updated metric.
You can find this information on both, the WordPress Plugins Directory website as well as in the Add Plugins page under in your WordPress Dashboard.
However, I recommend that you check the last updated metric on the WordPress Plugins Directory website.
For instance, here are the details of the Contact Form 7 WordPress plugin:
You should only consider installing a particular WordPress plugin if it’s been updated within the last 6 months.
You see, WordPress plugins need to be regularly updated to remain secure as well as compatible with the latest WordPress version.
So, prefer installing WordPress plugins that have been updated recently.
After you find a WordPress plugin that’s been regularly updated by its developers, the next thing you need to check is its version compatibility.
This is extremely critical because a plugin needs to be compatible with your installed WordPress version for it to function correctly.
In the case of Contact Form 7 WordPress plugin, you can see the recommended WordPress Version is 5.3 or Higher.
After WordPress version compatibility, the last thing you need to check before installing a WordPress plugin is its Ratings & Reviews.
So, check if the plugin you’re considering to install has good ratings and read the reviews to see what people are saying about the plugin.
Many times, reviews can be a good source of information that you might not have considered.
As you can see, the Contact Form 7 plugin has passed over 1,200 5-star reviews, which makes it a good candidate.
Although, you’ll find most of the WordPress plugins are good and safe to use, especially the paid ones.
But, performing these 3 pre-checks is still highly recommended to avoid installing malicious plugins.
With this, we’ve finally come to the end of this article.
I hope this article has helped you learn how to install a WordPress plugin.
While the first 2 methods were certainly easy to learn and are very beginner-friendly. The third method, however, requires basic knowledge of FTP.
But, whatever method you decide to use to install WordPress plugins, remember to perform the pre-checks before installing any plugin.
Now, it’s your turn to tell me which of these 3 methods is your favorite.
Let me know in the comments below!