Tutorials

How to Install WordPress Plugins

How to Install WordPress Plugins

It’s easier than changing the clock in your car.

Okay, maybe not but it really is easy once you learn how. There are a couple of methods for installing plugins on your WordPress site. The search method is the easiest and safest, so let’s start there.

Add by searching

Step 1: In your dashboard, scroll down on the left until you see “Plugins.”

Step 2: Mouse over Plugins and you’ll see a flyout menu. Click “Add New.”

Plugin Menu Flyout Screenshot

Step 3: You’ll see a bunch of featured plugins. Ignore them for now and look for the “Search Plugins” box in the upper right. Type in the name of the plugin you want, and the results will show up below.

Add Plugin Menu Screenshot

Step 4: Select the plugin you want. Tip: Sometimes plugin names can look similar. Make sure the one you select is the right one. Click “Install Now” and let it do its thing. When it says it’s installed, click “Activate.”

Step 5: You’re done! There may be some configuration options that come up after you activate, so be ready to set things up.

Add Manually

The other way to install a plugin is to download it off the developer’s site and install it yourself. It’s still pretty easy, but let’s go through the steps.

Follow steps 1 – 3 above. There’s a new Step 4 for this method.

Step 4: You should have a zip file of the plugin you want, downloaded from the plugin creator’s site. Don’t unzip it! Unless you like staring at PHP code, you don’t need to see what’s in there.

Step 5: At the top left of the Plugins screen, there’s a button that says “Upload Plugin.” Click it.

Step 6: A window opens up and asks you to browse for the file. Find it on your hard drive and click “Install Now.”

Step 7: That’s it! It should be installed. You can activate it and do any configurations necessary.

Bonus Step: Now dance around and tell everyone within earshot that you know how to install plugins. Yay! You are one step closer to mastering your WordPress website.

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A word of caution about plugins!

Okay, so now you know how to get and install plugins. It’s tempting to go plugin shopping and just install all the cool-looking stuff like they were apps on your phone. Don’t go wild here. Too many active plugins can slow down your site.

If you find a plugin on a website, look into the developers to see if they’re legit and make sure it’s safe. Some plugins can do weird things to your site, even if they’re coded well. Some plugins don’t play well with each other or your theme, and that can make things go wonky when you least expect it.

Be judicious about the plugins you install and go slow. Install or activate one at a time and make sure your site still looks and functions like you want it to.

Don’t know what plugins you should have for your site? Learn my Top Five Essential & Free Plugins for your WordPress Website and relax. Get the free PDF!

Questions? Comments? Hit me up! Paste your comment below, tweet at me, or get in touch.

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By D.J. Billings

I love to help bloggers and small businesses with their WP websites.

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