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How to Install a Plugin on Your WordPress Site

Plugins give your WordPress website more functionality. They are one of the driving forces behind the platform’s popularity. Because there are more than 45,000 plugins just in the database of WordPress.org alone, you can create just about anything you can think of.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to install WordPress plugins using the admin panel. It’s by far the easiest method and will get your site looking just like you want in no time.

Adding a Plugin From WordPress.org

WordPress receives all of its themes and plugin information from the WordPress.org website. Any component listed there will be available in your WordPress admin panel.

Go to Plugins and click, “Add New.”

Add New Plugin

In this page, you can browse through:

  • Featured
  • Popular
  • Recommended
  • Favorites

These lists are usually developed by the community either through actions or voting. The “Favorites” area is a collection of the plugins your marked as such and is connected to your WordPress.org username.

Also, you can enter terms to search in the field on the right.

Search Field

Once you find a plugin you want, click the “Install Now” button.

Install Now

The button will change once the installation is complete. Now, click the “Activate” button to turn the plugin on.

Activate

And that’s all there really is to it. Depending on the plugin, you may have new features in the left panel of WordPress or added settings controls. Some may even run in the background requiring no further input from yourself.

New Features

If you want to start creating good content for search engines to rank, I would suggest installing Yoast SEO. It’s a great tool for helping you create posts using the most common and current methods of search engine optimization.

You’ll also want to consider a good security plugin for your site. Even the smallest of websites can become a target for hackers and bots. It will protect your data as well as your visitors.

Adding a Plugin as an Upload

What if you downloaded a plugin from a third-party website? If you have the ZIP file available, you can install it without searching the WordPress.org database.

Go back to the Add Plugins screen and click the “Upload Plugin” button on the top.

Upload Plugin

The screen will expand and ask for the plugin file. Click the “Choose File” button and select the ZIP file from your computer.

Choose File To Upload

Click the “Install Now” button next to your file.

Install Now Button

Once the file has been installed, click the “Activate Plugin” button to turn it on.

Activate Button

The plugin will then be live and ready for use.

Using FTP

If you want to install a plugin manually using FTP, this is done by uploading the package directly to your “wp-content” folder. This cannot be a zipped file. Using programs like FileZilla, you can access the root folder of your website and add the files necessary for the plugin.

WordPress will then recognize the new feature and add it to your site. It may automatically be activated. If it’s not, go to the Plugins area and click the “Activate” link to turn it on.

Activate Link

Getting More Out of Your Site

WordPress hosting has a lot of potential for creating virtually any kind of website you can think of. From basic blogs to an eCommerce powerhouse, the system is ready and able. Find plugins that will improve user experience as well as how you work with the site. You never know what you’ll find when browsing the plugin database.

What kind of plugins are you most interested in? Have you checked features after installing themes, because some of them may have tools you might want?

Author: Josh Dargie

My name is Josh Dargie and I’m the Operations Manager at GreenGeeks. I’ve been with the company since 2009. I have over 16 years of experience working with and for various web hosting providers specifically in development, day-to-day operations and customer service.

Updated on September 20, 2017

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