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3 Ways To Install a WordPress Plugin – Step by Step Guide

Plugins are the master tool for all WordPress Users, they extend the functionality of WordPress. They add more customization and functions to your WordPress site, you can use plugins to build contact form, social sharing buttons, managing SEO of your site etc. Plugins come in two formats – Free and Paid. There are plenty of free plugins available in WordPress Directory suitable for a beginner. In this step by step guide, I will show you 3 ways to install a WordPress Plugin.

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You can install a WordPress plugin on your blog in 3 different ways:

  • Direct search and install
  • Upload and install
  • Via FTP

Method 1: Install a WordPress Plugin Using Plugin Search

This is by far the best and most beginner friendly method to install a WordPress Plugin. All the free plugins can be installed by this method. If you are just starting out, this is the method you should use for installing a WordPress Plugin.

The first step is to log in to WordPress admin dashboard and click on Plugins->> Add New. You will see the below screen.

Install a WordPress Plugin

Use the search box to search for the plugin that you wish to install. It will show you all the plugins related to your search term. For example, if I search for WP Super Cache, it will show me the WP Super Cache plugin along with all the related plugins.

Use “more detail” option to see if this the right plugin for you and to make sure if this plugin is compatible with your current version of WordPress.

Once you finalize the plugin that you want to install, in our case “WP Super Cache” click on “Install Now” button, this will start the installation process. Congratulations, you have successfully installed WordPress Plugin on your site.

Before you can start using the plugin, you need to activate it. So, go ahead and click on Activate button to activate the plugin on your WordPress site.

Install a WordPress Plugin

And that’s how simple it is to install WordPress plugin on WordPress site.

Now the only thing left is to configure the plugin. Plugin configurations are different for different plugins. Choose the settings that you find useful for your site.

Method 2: Install a WordPress Plugin Using Upload Option

Most of the paid plugins are not listed in a WordPress Plugin Directory, these plugin needs to be installed using the second method.

For this method, you need to have the zip file of the plugin. First Download it from the source. If you have downloaded a WordPress plugin zip file, you can upload and install directly.

Now go to WordPress dashboard then click on Plugins->> Add New and click on “Upload Plugin” button.

Install a WordPress Plugin

Once you click on upload button, on next page click on “Choose File” button, select the downloaded plugin zip file. Now, click on Install Now.

Install a WordPress Plugin

Once you click on install now button, WordPress will upload this plugin file and will start the installation of the selected file. Once the installation is finished, you can activate the plugin by clicking on Activate Plugin button.

Install a WordPress Plugin

Method 3: Install a WordPress Plugin Manually via FTP

This method is not so beginner friendly and requires some knowledge of accessing the server via FTP.

Sometimes WordPress Hosting providers impose some restriction on your ability to install a plugin from Plugin Directory. In this case, you need to use FTP to install a WordPress plugin.

First, download the plugin zip file, unzip it on a local computer. You need to upload this unzipped file to wp-content/plugins folder manually via FTP client.

To access WordPress site’s folder and files, you need to have FTP account. If you don’t have one, contact your hosting provider for the same.

Once you have your FTP account, use any FTP client to log in and access WordPress files. Now upload the unzipped folder to wp-content/plugins folder.

Install a WordPress Plugin

After this, log in to your WordPress dashboard area, go to Plugins ->> Installed Plugins and Activate the Plugin.

Install a WordPress Plugin

Important Things to Remember:

  • Always check the plugin compatibility with your WordPress Site
  • Verify if this plugin will have any compatibility issues with other active plugins
  • Check if the developer is regularly updating the plugin or not.
  • Read the reviews to know if there are any issues with this plugin.

I hope this article helped you to learn how to install a WordPress Plugins. Personally, I prefer installing WordPress Plugins through search and upload method. But there are times when I need to use FTP method also. Its good to know all the three different ways.

If you find any issues with plugin after installing it on your site, you can deactivate that plugin via FTP. Though the FTP method is not so beginner friendly, its good know it.

You can also read the Top 10 Essential WordPress Plugins list to make your site ready to publish content.

If you are new to WordPress, you should check out Most Important WordPress Settings that you should do right after installing WordPress.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful for your WordPress site. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. I would be more than happy to answer your questions.

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About the Author: Swapnil Harpale

A programmer by heart and passionate blogger. Swapnil is a founder of WPWISER - A Blog for Bloggers.

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