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WordPress Plugin Installation – Easy To Follow Guide For Beginners

You now know how to start a blog and how to select a new theme, so it’s time to enjoy the full potential of the WordPress ecosystem – plugins and see how great it is when you try to extend it! That’s why in this article we will focus on WordPress plugin installation.

In order to install a plugin on your site, you must be signed in. Please go to https://yoursite.com/wp-admin and log in.

The very first page that you see after you logged in is Dashboard (see screenshot below), which contains some information about your site and a few useful links.

It also gives you an option to create Quick Draft of a post and displays information about WordPress related News and Events. Nevertheless today we will give you some useful tips on how to install a theme in WordPress. Let’s go for it!

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to WordPress dashboard
  2. Multiple ways to install WordPress themes
    1. Install your plugin through the dashboard
    2. Install WordPress plugin by importing it
    3. Install your plugin by manually uploading it
  3. FAQ on How To Install Plugins in WordPress

Introduction to WordPress dashboard

A screenshot of the Dashboard page of WordPress

You may have seen our last post regarding adding a new theme to the WordPress dashboard, so if you already read it, you can skip this section. However, if you are new here, you can see this basic presentation of the WP Dashboard.

On the left side, you’ll see the WordPress admin menu, which contains all the post types, settings, tools, and much more. The Plugins menu is located on the main side menu.

How to Install a Plugin in WordPress: multiple ways of doing so

WordPress plugin menu

On the WordPress dashboard, you will see a menu item called Plugins. If you click on it, you’ll be sent directly to the Installed Plugins page, so you’ll be able to see all the plugins already included on your website – the ones installed, actives, and deactivated ones.

WordPress plugins installed

Also, you’ll have the Add New menu item, and when the user clicks on it, it will see some plugins available for installing and a search bar – but we’ll talk about it below.

WordPress plugin dashboard

WordPress plugin installation through the dashboard

The WordPress plugin repository is filled with more than 55k plugins that are available for your new super blog. You can check all the plugins in the WordPress repository or you can see them directly on your dashboard.

As an example, we’ll install the Akismet plugin, so you know how to do so.

In this case, Akismet is on the first page of the Featured plugins, but if you didn’t find the plugin you want on the homepage, you can click on Search plugin… and type what is the plugin you are looking for.

When you find the plugin you want, you can click on Install Now and it will start installing the plugin. It’s important that you stay on this page until the end of the installation, so you avoid any possible error.

WordPress plugin dashboard

After the install, there will be a button called Activate, which you can click to activate the plugin you installed just a few moments ago.

The process is simple:

  • Search the plugin by its name
  • Click on Install
  • and then Activate it.

Simple like that!

In order to make it easier to follow the steps above, we’ve have added a gif below showing how to search, install, and activate a new plugin.

Gif image showing how to find a new plugin

WordPress plugin installation by importing it

But let’s think: what if you get a plugin from a third party service and you receive a .zip file? How could you import it on the WordPress dashboard? Well, we are always here to cover your back!

In the Add New page you’ll see a button on the top called Upload Plugin. As soon as you click on the button, the upload section will be displayed and you’ll be able to select the .zip file you received.

It’s important to notice that it must be a Zip file, as WordPress says: “If you have a plugin in a .zip format, you may install it by uploading it here.”

WordPress plugin dashboard

For example, we’ll download Akismet from the WordPress repository and install it.

To get a new plugin you should:

  • Click on Choose File
  • Find the downloaded theme on your computer
  • Select it and click Install Now button
  • Hit the activate button

We’ve also recorded a quick gif, so you can see how to do it!

Gif image showing how to add a plugin by uploading it

WordPress plugin installation by manually uploading it

If you have FTP or (S)FTP access to your server you can also add your plugin manually. Here are simple steps for doing so:

  • Connect to your server
  • Go to wp-content/plugins/ folder
  • upload your theme manually from your desktop
  • Go to WordPress dashboard, click on Plugins > Installed Plugins and activate your theme

FAQ on WordPress plugin installation

How to further customize your WordPress plugin?

We discourage everybody from changing the plugin itself because if you update it in the future, you’ll lose all the modifications you may have done. If you need to customise it, we encourage you to create a new plugin for yourself and then use actions and filters to alter the way the previous plugin works – it may be hard, so you’ll probably need a developer.

Can I delete a plugin when I want?

You certainly can, anytime you want! However, make sure you do not need the data of that plugin anymore, as the plugins usually delete all its data when it’s uninstalled, so your database does not keep unuseful data.

Any plugin will work on my website?

Well, it really depends. When you access the WordPress repository there will be the minimum required PHP version for the plugin to run well.

Also, you need to make sure that the plugin will work correctly within you WordPress install, with your themes and with other plugins – sometimes you may face plugins conflict, which you will need to solve case by case.

Is there a limit to how many different WordPress plugins I can install?

No! You can have as many plugins as you like/need. Just make sure you have only the ones you really need.

For security reasons, we don’t recommend you to have too many plugins installed and not activated. If you do, please remember to always keep them up to date.

Premium or Free WordPress Plugins – Which one I should use?

The vast majority of Premium plugins work as freemium plugins, so you can have a lot of features using even the free version.

Therefore, you can start with the free version and, if necessary, you can buy the premium version.

There are thousands of free plugins in the WordPress repository, so surely you’ll find something amazing for you!

What kind of plugins do you advise me to use?

That’s a tricky question. Each project has its own requests, so we encourage you to decide on a per-case basis.

What we suggest is that you keep your plugins clean and tidy. DO not install a lot of things that you are not truly going to use. Remember that loading a lot of plugins may make your site to load slowly.

And that’s all!

And that’s all, folks! Now you know how to do a WordPress plugin installation through the dashboard, from the repository, or from a third-party service! If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to add a comment here and we’ll quickly get back to you!

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