What Is A WordPress Plugin? How To Install A WordPress Plugin?

What Is A WordPress Plugin And How To Install A WordPress Plugin: The word ‘plugin’ means a software add-on. Plugins are installed in a program in order to improve its capability and add additional features to it. A WordPress Plugin is an add-on that is written in PHP and is installed in your WordPress site to add features to it.

One of the reasons I love WordPress is that there is a plugin for anything and everything under the sun. You can add any kind of features to your site without knowing any programming language at all. There are thousands of free WordPress plugins in WordPress plugin repository to make things easier for you. You can also install third-party plugins in WordPress.

If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, you must know how to install a WordPress plugin and this is what this article will provide. So, read on to find out.

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How To Install A WordPress Plugin?

So, there are three popular methods to install WordPress plugins. Out of these three methods, the first two is about installing WordPress plugins from the admin dashboard. Let us look into these two methods first:

Installing WordPress Plugins Using Plugin Search

This is the most popular and easiest method to install WordPress plugins. However, this method works only for the free plugins available in the plugin repository of WordPress. Follow the steps as under to install a WordPress plugin from the plugin repository:

  • 1st Step: Login to your WordPress dashboard.
  • 2nd Step: From the navigation menu on the left side, go to Plugins > Add New.
  • 3rd Step: Type in the name of the plugin you want to install in the search box (located in the top right side of the screen). You can also search by functionality or feature that you want.
    I searched for Constant Contact Form, a plugin that adds a contact form to your site, to gather data from your visitors. It appeared on the screen.
  • 4th Step: Click on “Install Now”. For more information about the plugin, you can click on “More Details”.
  • 5th Step: Once the installation is over, you will see a new button in place of “Install Now”“Activate”. Click on it to activate the WordPress plugin.

That’s it. The installation is over. You need to configure the settings of the plugin which varies from one plugin to another.

Installing WordPress Plugins Using Plugin Upload

This method is for installing paid plugins that are not there in the plugin repository of WordPress. So, to install these plugins, you will have to upload them to your site.

Follow the steps as under to install third-party, paid WordPress plugins:

  • 1st Step: Download the plugin (zip file) to your system.
  • 2nd Step: Go to Plugins > Add New from the left side of the WordPress admin dashboard.
  • 3rd Step: Click on “Upload Plugin”. Refer to the screenshot below:
  • 4th Step: Click on “Choose File”, browse the zip file of the plugin from your system and upload it.
  • 5th Step: Click on “Install Now”.
  • 6th Step: After installing it, activate it and configure its settings.

Installing WordPress Plugins Using FTP Method

Some WordPress plugins may not be uploaded from the admin dashboard. This happens, usually, when your service provider (for hosting) has some file restrictions. In such cases, you can add this third method. However, this may seem a bit difficult compared to the first two, especially if you are a beginner.

Anyway, follow the steps as under to install WordPress Using FTP method:

  • 1st Step: Download the plugin from the source (zip file) to your computer.
  • 2nd Step: Extract the file. A new folder of the same name as the zip file will be created.
  • 3rd Step: Open the FTP client on your system.
  • 4th Step: Use your FTP Username and Password to connect to your website. In case, you do not have the login credentials, contact your hosting provider.
  • 5th Step: Access the path: /wp-content/plugins/.
  • 6th Step: Upload the folder that you had extracted from the zip file of the plugin to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder.
  • 7th Step: Now go to admin dashboard and click on “Plugins”. You will see the plugin installed already.
  • 8th Step: Activate it and configure its settings.

What To Consider Before Installing A WordPress Plugin?

So, before installing any WordPress plugin, you must consider the following:

  1. When was the plugin last updated? If it was last updated years back, do not install it.
  2. Does this plugin come with tech support? If there is no support, proper documentation or an active community, do not install it.
  3. Does the latest version of WordPress support it? Because not all plugins are compatible with all versions of WordPress.

I hope I have been able to explain how to install a WordPress plugin. If you have any confusion regarding how to install a WordPress plugin, drop your questions below and I will answer at the earliest.

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