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Beginners Guide: How to install a WordPress plugin

by Johnson Daniel

You are new to WordPress, and just after installing WordPress, the first thing that you need to know about is how to install a WordPress plugin. Plugins help a WordPress site function much more appropriately as they add some unique features to every WordPress blogs. There are thousands of WordPress plugins, either free or paid for you to use. In this article, I’m going to show you how to install a WordPress plugin.

Oh! Before I forget, only self-hosted WordPress blogs can install plugins; blogs hosted on WordPress.com cannot install any plugin. The reason for this is that WordPress.com has its limitations.

How to install a WordPress plugin

In this article, we are going to look at three ways by which we can install any WordPress plugins of our choice. These are the only three available ways you can install a WordPress plugin on any self-hosted WordPress blog, they are;

  • Using the search feature.
  • I am uploading a WordPress plugin.
  • I am manually installing a WordPress plugin using FTP.

1. Using search feature

Using the search feature is the easiest way of installing a WordPress plugin on your blog. You don’t have to do much to install a plugin using this method, the major disadvantage of using this method is that the plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory and truth be told, the WordPress directory is limited to only free plugins.

The first thing you should do when using the search feature is to go to your admin dashboard area. On the left-hand side of your screen, locate and click on Plugins >> Add New.

Just like the screenshot above where both black arrows are pointing, then type in your search keyword for the plugin that you would like to install to your WordPress site. Immediately after doing that, a list of results will come out, install the particular one that you are looking for by clicking Install Now then Activate.

The plugin will be available for use immediately the page reloads. Please note that you need to activate the WordPress plugin before it can be able to start functioning on your site.

2. Uploading a WordPress plugin

The second way by which you can install a WordPress plugin is by uploading it to the WordPress site. You can install plugins that are listed on the WordPress directory using the method listed above, which are free of course.

For you to be able to upload a WordPress plugin, you need to download the plugin from the source (which will be a zip file). Next, you need to go to the WordPress admin area and visit Plugins » Add New page.

After that, click the Upload Plugin button on top of the page as this will bring you to the plugin upload page. Here you need to click on the choose file button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer.

After you have selected the file, you need to click on the Install now button. WordPress will now upload the plugin file from your computer and install it for you. After installation is complete, You will see a success message like this.

Once installed, you need to click on the Activate Plugin link to start using the plugin. You would have to configure the settings to fit your needs. These settings will vary for each plugin; therefore, we will not be covering that in this post.

3. Manually installing a WordPress plugin using FTP

This method is the most complicated method for most bloggers, as you need to use the FTP manager to install a plugin to your WordPress site.

First, you will need to download the plugin’s source file (it will be a zip file). Next, you need to extract the zip file on your computer. Removing the plugin zip file will create a new folder with the same name as this is the folder that you need to upload to your website using an FTP client manually.

You would need to access your host through the FTP manager. If you do not have your FTP username and password, then contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask them.

Open the FTP client on your computer and connect to your website using the login credentials provided by your web host. Once connected, you need to access the path /wp-content/plugins/

Next, upload the folder you extracted from the zip file to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your web server.

Uploading a WordPress plugin files using FTP

After uploading the files, you need to visit the WordPress admin area and click on the Plugins link in the admin menu. You will see your plugin successfully installed on the plugins page.

Installed plugins

You need to click on the Activate link below the plugin. Upon activating, you may need to configure the plugin settings. WordPress plugins come with their settings which differ from one plugin to another so we will not describe them here.

I hope that with this tutorial, you were able to install your very first WordPress plugin. We know that installing a plugin using the third method might not be that easy; that’s why we gave you three ways that you can use.

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