How to Install a WordPress Plugins – Step by Step Guide

After installing a WordPress, the first thing every beginner needs to learn is how to install a WordPress plugin.

In simple words, WordPress plugins are similar to apps for your WordPress website. They let you add new features to WordPress, such as a contact form, page builders, etc.

There are thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins available. In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how to install a WordPress plugin.

Note: If you are using WordPress.com, then you cannot install plugins. To install plugins on WordPress.com, you can upgrade to their business plan. However, you can install any plugin on your self-hosted WordPress.org website right out of the box.

How to Install a WordPress Plugins

Let’s go over the three methods for installing WordPress plugins, starting with the most basic: using the plugin search function in your WordPress dashboard.

Install a WordPress Plugin using Search Option

The plugin search is the easiest way to install a WordPress plugin. The only disadvantage of this method is that a plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory, which is limited to free plugins.

First, go to the Plugins » Add New page in your WordPress admin area.

Search Plugins to Install in WordPress

Next, find the plugin by typing the plugin name in the search box. After that, you will see a number of listings similar to the one below:

Plugin Search Results

You can select a suitable plugin for your needs. Since we were looking for OptinMonster, which is the best WordPress lead generation plugin, we’ll click the Install Now button next to it.

As of right now, WordPress will download and install the plugin. Following that, you’ll see that the Install Now button has changed into the Activate button.

Activating a WordPress Plugin

A WordPress plugin can be installed, but it will not work unless it is activated. So, go ahead and activate the plugin on your WordPress site by clicking the Activate button.

That’s it; you’ve successfully installed your first WordPress plugin.

Install a WordPress Plugin Using Plugin Upload Option

Paid WordPress plugins are not featured in the WordPress plugin directory. Therefore, you cannot install this plugin using the first method.

That’s why WordPress includes an upload option for installing such plugins. We’ll show you how to use the upload option in the admin area to install WordPress plugins.

First, you can download your plugin (which will be a zip file). Then, go to the Plugins » Add New page from your WordPress dashboard.

After that, click the Upload Plugin button at the top of the page.

Upload Plugin Button

This brings up the plugin upload form. Click the Choose File button and select the plugin file you previously downloaded on your computer.

Select Plugin Zip File to Upload and Install in WordPress

After selecting the file, click the Install Now button.

WordPress will now upload and install the plugin file from your PC. when the installation is finished; you will get a success message similar to this.

Activate Upload Plugin

Once installed, click the Activate Plugin button to start using the plugin.

Install a WordPress Plugin Manually Using FTP

Installing free and premium plugins from the WordPress dashboard is rather simple. However, the third approach requires the user to have some technical knowledge to install the plugin using FTP software such as FileZilla manually.

Before installing the plugin using this approach, a WordPress user must be comfortable with file transfer via FTP. This method is useful if you need to install a plugin from somewhere other than the WordPress admin area (Dashboard).

However, if you’re a newbie, make a backup before installing the plugin. Some plugins are incompatible with WordPress versions or are unsafe, and installing them could harm your site.

You can use UpdraftPlus to create a complete backup of your WordPress site. It also uploads your backups to Dropbox, Google Drive, S3, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, email, and several other cloud storage services.

See your list of best WordPress backup plugins.

First, you can download your plugin source file (it will be a zip file). Next, you can extract the zip file on your computer.

When you extract the plugin zip file, it will create a new folder with the same name. This is the folder you manually upload to your website via FTP.

You would need to connect to your host using the FTP manager. If you don’t know your FTP username and password, contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask.

Using the login details provided by your web host, open the FTP client on your computer and connect to your website. Once connected, go to your website’s /wp-content/plugins/ folder.

Uploading a Plugin via FTP

After you’ve uploaded the files, go to the WordPress admin area and select the Plugins admin menu. You’ll see that your plugin was successfully installed on the plugins page.

Activate Installed Plugin

Now, click on the Activate link below the plugin name to start using the plugin.

What Should You Consider When Selecting a Plugin?

There are over 59000+ plugins available in the WordPress plugin directory and even more on third-party websites. This number of options might be confusing, especially for newbies trying to choose what is best for their site.

Following are some crucial elements to consider when selecting a plugin for your website.

Install One Plugin at a Time

Remember to install and test each plugin separately when testing a plugin in WordPress. This way, you will quickly identify if it causes any problems to your site and if you can fix them.

Checking to See if It’s the Right Match

Check the developer’s claims before downloading and installing a plugin to your WordPress website. Read the plugin documentation, the support forums, and the reviews.

Only Use One Plugin For Each Function

Although WordPress plugins provide new features and improve website functionality, installing too many of them might cause your site to slow down.

Furthermore, adding WordPress plugins that perform the same functions can result in conflicts, potentially causing one or both plugins to break. As a result, it is best to install one WordPress plugin for each function.

For example, Yoast SEO and AIOSEO have the same feature sets; you must choose one to avoid plugin conflict.

Regular Updates

WordPress releases regular updates to maintain its system up to date. This is how they improve functionality, maintain security, fix bug problems, and add new features.

So, before you install a plugin, consider the following:

  • Last updated: Using a WordPress plugin that is regularly updated will help you avoid security issues. This also indicates that the developers still actively managed and improved the plugin.
  • Active Installation: This number indicates how popular the WordPress plugin is. Generally speaking, the more active a plugin’s installations, the higher the quality it offers.
  • Reviews: User reviews and feedback might help you weigh the pros and cons of a given plugin. This provides information on how the plugin works in real-time scenarios.
  • Compatibility: A plugin that is updated regularly by its developers is usually compatible with the most recent version of WordPress. Always check the description tab to know which version of WordPress is required to run the plugin.

Conclusion

We hope that you will find this guide helpful in learning how to install WordPress plugins on your blog or website. You may now improve the functionality of your website even if you have no previous tech knowledge or skills.

If you’re unsure which plugin to start with, analyze what your existing website lacks. Then, analyze the available plugins and compare key characteristics such as compatibility, reviews, and the most recent update.

Here are some of our top-recommended WordPress plugins to get you started:

  • OptinMonster: It helps you get more email subscribers and optimize website conversion rates with dynamic popups, modals, and other smart personalization features.
  • Elementor: Provides a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface to help you in building your website.
  • All in One SEO: This plugin improves the SEO of your WordPress blog posts and pages by using keyword optimization and meta descriptions.
  • WPForms: This allows you to add a contact form on your WordPress site.
  • WP Rocket: Increases website performance and decreases loading time by caching and integrating with CDN.

For more plugin suggestions, check out our list of the best blog plugins for WordPress websites.