How to Install WordPress Plugins and How to Choose Them

How to Install WordPress Plugins: Step-by-Step Guide for All Methods

Final: How to Install WordPress Plugins

One of the things that makes WordPress so popular is that it has a ton of plugins you can install on your website. WordPress plugins are a great way to add features and functionality to your website without writing any code.

You can add all sorts of functionality to your website using plugins— from social sharing buttons to contact forms to SEO tracking.

There are basically two ways to add plugins to your WordPress site:

  • Through the WordPress admin panel
  • By manually uploading the plugin files

In this post, we’ll show you how to add plugins to WordPress using either of these two methods to enhance the functionality of your website and make it more versatile.

If you have all the required background on WordPress plugins and just want to get to the point, then learn How to Install WordPress Plugins.

 

Key Takeaways

Here are the key takeaways from this article:

  1. You can only install WordPress plugins on a wordpress.org site and not on wordpress.com.
  2. WordPress plugins are available on the official WordPress plugins directory or third-party directories like CodeCanyon.
  3. You can find several free plugins for your site, although premium plugins are better and more secure.
  4. You can install plugins through the WordPress admin panel or manually upload plugin files.
  5. When selecting a plugin, ensure it’s regularly updated and meets your specific needs. Install only one plugin at a time and one plugin for each function.

 

What are plugins?

WordPress plugins are software programs that extend the functionality of WordPress websites. You can add them to your site to provide additional features, such as contact forms, social media integration, and e-commerce functionality.

There are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available, making it easy to find one that meets the specific needs of any website.

Find out more about What is a WordPress plugin and how to manage them on your WordPress website.

 

Before Installing a Plugin

Before you can install any WordPress plugin, there are a few things you need to consider:

First, ensure you have a wordpress.org site, not a wordpress.com site. Plugins are only available for wordpress.org sites for free. However, if you have a wordpress.com site, you’ll need to upgrade to a business plan, which costs $299 per year for you to start installing plugins into your site.

Alternatively, you can move your site from

 to

 to start using WordPress plugins.

Second, check if the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress and ensure you have the correct file permissions set on your WordPress site.

If you need help with how to confirm this, contact your web host or review the WordPress documentation.

 

Where to Find WordPress Plugins?

If you’re looking for WordPress plugins, there are a few different places you can check out:

  • WordPress plugin directory: First, try the WordPress plugins directory. This is a great place to find plugins compatible with your WordPress version.
  • Google: You can also search for plugins on Google or specific plugin websites like CodeCanyon.
  • WordPress developers: Finally, you can always contact a WordPress developer to create a custom plugin for you.

Once you’ve found a plugin, you want to use, download it and then follow the instructions for installing and activating it on your site.

 

Which plugins should a WordPress user consider? Free Vs. Premium

With so many plugins available, it can take time to decide which ones to use. Should you go with free or premium plugins?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.

1. Free plugins

There are a few advantages to using free WordPress plugins. The most obvious is that they’re free! If you’re on a tight budget, free plugins can help you stretch your dollars further.

Additionally, because there are so many free plugins available, you’re sure to find one that meets your specific needs.

The main downside to free WordPress plugins is that they tend to be less reliable than premium plugins. This is because they need to be supported by a paid team of developers to keep the plugin up-to-date and bug-free.

Also, because anyone can create a free plugin, there’s no guarantee that the code will be well-written or secure.

2. Premium plugins

Premium WordPress plugins come with a price tag, but they also come with several advantages.

First, they are usually more reliable than free plugins because they’re developed and supported by teams of professional developers. This means that they’re more likely to be kept up-to-date and bug-free.

Premium plugins also have more features than free plugins, giving you more bang for your buck. And finally, because premium plugin developers want to protect their investment, they tend to write better code and include security features that free plugin developers often overlook.

Of course, the biggest downside is the cost. Paying for premium plugins can be a hassle if you’re on a tight budget.

Tip
Expert tip: Premium plugins will save you money in the long run by preventing issues like website downtime and data loss.

 

How to Install a WordPress Plugin: Choose Your Favorite Method

If you are ready to install WordPress plugins to enhance the functionality of your website, there are two main methods you can use:

  1. Installing plugins through the WordPress admin panel
  2. Manually uploading plugin files (zip file, SFTP, or WP-CLI)

We’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to install plugins using each of the mentioned methods so you can choose your favorite method.

 

How to add a plugin to your WordPress website from the dashboard

Adding a plugin to your WordPress website from the dashboard is simple.

  1. First, log in to your WordPress site and go to the Plugins page.
  2. Next, click on the “Add New” button at the top of the page. On the Add New Plugin page, you can search for a plugin by name or browse by category.
    Adding WordPress plugins
  1. Click on the search button and input the name of the plugin you’re looking for. If you don’t know the exact name of the plugin, you can input the function keywords (e.g., SEO), and you’ll get a list of the available plugins for that function.
    Search for the plugin
    You can also browse through the featured, popular, or recommended plugins to find the ones that best suit your website.
  1. Once you’ve found a plugin you’d like to install, click on the plugin icon to view more information about the plugin before installing.
    You can check the download reviews and ensure the plugin is regularly updated before installing it.
  1. To install the plugin, click on the “Install Now” button. WordPress will fetch the plugin and install it on your site within a few seconds.
    Install plugin
  1. After the plugin has been installed, you’ll need to activate it. To do this, click on the “Activate” link under the plugin’s name.

That’s it! Your plugin is now activated and ready to use.

How to install WordPress plugins from a zip file (Manually)

A second way to install WordPress plugins into your website is from a zip file.

You can use this method if the plugin you want to install is not on the WordPress plugin directory but is available in a third-party directory (e.g., CodeCanyon)

  1. First, download the plugin as a zip file from the directory it is found and save it to your computer.
  2. Log into your WordPress admin dashboard and go to Plugins>Add New.
  3. Select ‘Upload plugin’ from the top left corner of the page
    Upload plugin file
  1. Click Choose file and select the plugin zip file you saved on your computer. Then select Install now, and WordPress will begin installing the plugin into your site.
    Choose your plugin file
  1. Once installation is complete, select Activate plugin.
    Activate plugin

The plugin will be activated and ready for you to start using on your website.

How to Install WordPress Plugins via SFTP

You can also install WordPress plugins to your website via SFTP.

  1. Start by downloading the plugin as a .zip file from the WordPress directory or a third-party directory.
  2. Next, unzip the file. This will create a new folder with the same name as the zip file. Inside this new folder, you’ll find the plugin file itself. It will have a .php extension and be named something like “my-plugin.php.”
  3. You’ll then need to connect your site with an SFTP client that will enable you to transfer files from the host server.
    We recommend using FileZilla, a free and open-source SFTP client. You may need to obtain a username and password from your hosting provider.Connect to a SFTP client
  4. In the WordPress directory, navigate to /wp-content/plugins/ on your website and drag and drop the unzipped file into this directory. You can also do this by selecting the ‘Upload plugin’ and choosing the saved file.Upload plugin file to directory
  5. Once the file is uploaded, return to your WordPress admin area and click “Plugins>Installed” in the left sidebar.
    Plugins installed
  1. You should see your plugin listed there. Click “Activate” to turn it on. Your plugin will now be installed and ready to use.

How to Install WordPress Plugins via WP-CLI

Finally, you can install WordPress plugins into your website using the WP-CLI command.

  1. Log in to your WordPress server via SSH.
  2. Navigate to your WordPress installation directory. For example, if your WordPress installation is in /var/www/html/wordpress, you would navigate to that directory by typing the following command: cd /var/www/html/wordpress.
  3. Once you’re in your WordPress installation directory, type the following command to install the plugin: <wp plugin install [plugin-name]>.
  4. When the plugin has been installed, you can activate it by typing the following command: <wp plugin activate [plugin-name]>

That’s it! You’ve now successfully installed and activated your WordPress plugin via WP-CLI.

You can also install multiple plugins at once by passing a comma-separated list of plugin names: <wp plugin install {plugin-1-name},{plugin-2-name},{plugin-3-name} –activate>

 

What to Remember When Selecting a Plugin?

With so many plugins available, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Here are a few things to remember when selecting a plugin for your website.

1. Meets your intended purpose

The first and most important thing to consider when choosing a plugin is whether or not it meets your intended purpose. There’s no point in installing a plugin that doesn’t do what you need it to do.

Please research and ensure the plugin you’re considering has the features you need and will do the exact job you want it to do on your website.

2. Regular updates

Another critical thing to look for in a plugin is regular updates. If a plugin hasn’t been updated for a while, there’s a good chance it’s no longer compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

This can cause problems with your website, so it’s best to avoid plugins that haven’t been updated in a while.

3. Install one plugin at a time

It can be tempting to install multiple plugins at once, but resist the urge! Installing too many plugins at once can slow down your website and make it more difficult to troubleshoot if something goes wrong.

Instead, install one plugin at a time and see how it works before moving on to the next one.

4. One plugin for each function

Finally, try to use one plugin for each function on your website. For example, if you want a contact form, use a plugin specifically for that purpose instead of using a general-purpose plugin that includes a contact form feature.

This will help keep your website running smoothly and reduce the chances of conflicts between plugins.

 

How to Use a Plugin in WordPress?

Most WordPress plugins are pretty easy to use. Once you install them, you can start using them immediately to pimp your website. However, some complex plugins may need you to configure them before using them.

Let’s say you’ve installed and activated the WPForms plugin. To use it, click on the “WPForms” link in the left-hand sidebar of your WordPress dashboard. This will take you to the WPForms overview page with an overview of all the forms you’ve created with WPForms.

To create a new form, click the “Add New” button. You’ll be taken to the WPForms builder, where you can drag and drop different form fields into place. Once you’re happy with your form, click the “Publish” button to make it live on your website.

HubSpot WordPress Plugin

HubSpot WordPress plugin

If you’re a HubSpot user, you know the HubSpot WordPress Plugin is a must-have. It allows you to easily connect your WordPress site to your HubSpot account to take advantage of HubSpot’s powerful marketing tools.

With the HubSpot WordPress Plugin, you can easily

  • Create forms
  • Get live chat support
  • Manage your advertising
  • Analyze your website performance
  • Manage your email marketing campaigns

The HubSpot WordPress Plugin is an excellent option if you’re looking for an effective marketing toolkit for your WordPress site.

 

How to Alter a Plugin’s Settings

While plugins are great for your website, sometimes they need a little tweaking to get them working the way you want.

After installing a plugin, you can always change its settings to suit your specific needs.

  1. Start by logging into your WordPress site.
  2. Once logged in, navigate to the “Plugins” link in the left-hand sidebar and click “Installed Plugins.” This will take you to a list of all the plugins installed on your site.
  3. Find the plugin you want to alter and click “Settings” under that plugin. This will take you to the plugin’s settings page.
    Here, you can change any of the default settings for the plugin. Make sure you read through all the options and familiarize yourself with what each one does before making any changes.
  1. Once you’ve made your changes, click the “Update settings” button at the bottom of the page.

 

Don’t Forget to Keep Plugins Updated

WordPress plugins are software that must be consistently updated. Once you install them on your website, make sure to update your plugins with every new version released.

Plugin updates often include new features, bug fixes, and security updates. This will keep your site safe and protected from security threats.

 

How to Uninstall or Deactivate a WordPress Plugin

You may want to uninstall or deactivate plugins that you no longer use on your WordPress website.

  1. To deactivate, log into your WordPress site and navigate to the Plugins menu. Find the plugin you want to deactivate and click the “Deactivate” link below the plugin’s name.
  1. If you want to remove a plugin completely from your site, you can uninstall it from the Plugins menu in your WordPress dashboard. To do this, click on the “Delete” link below the plugin name.
    You’ll be asked to confirm that you want to delete the plugin; once you do, the plugin will be permanently removed from your site.

 

Final Thoughts

Installing plugins is one of the easiest ways to add new features and functionality to your WordPress site. While thousands of plugins are available, it’s essential to do some research before installing any on your site.

Once you’ve found the plugin you want, you can install it directly from the WordPress admin panel or download the file from the developer’s website and upload it from your computer.

Read also What are WordPress Plugins and How to Manage them to learn more about the different plugins you can install on your website.

 

Next Steps: What now?

Now that you know what WordPress plugins are and how to install them on your website, here are a few practical steps you can take from this guide:

 

Further Reading (Useful Resources)

Here are other valuable resources you can read to learn more about how to add plugins to WordPress websites:

  1. What is WordPress? An Overview of the World’s Most Popular CMS
  2. How to install WordPress: Choose one of four methods
  3. How to use WordPress: A beginner’s guide to building a WordPress Website
  4. What Are WordPress Plugins And How To Manage Them?
  5. What Is a WordPress Theme: A Full Overview and How to Choose One
  6. How to Install a WordPress Plugin Using cPanel

FAQs
1. Can I Install Plugins on Free WordPress?

No. You can’t install plugins on the free version of WordPress. To start installing plugins, you’ll need to upgrade to a business plan or migrate your website from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.

2. What are the most popular WordPress plugins?

There are many popular WordPress plugins, but some of the most popular ones include Yoast SEO, Jetpack, and WPForms. Find out more about the most popular WordPress plugins.

3. How to install WordPress plugins in CPanel?

Login to your cPanel and navigate to Files>File Manager. Locate the “wp-content” folder and open it. Find the “plugins” folder and open it. Upload the plugin files to this folder using the “Upload” function in cPanel. Go to “Plugins” on your WordPress dashboard and click “Activate.” Learn more about How to Install a WordPress Plugin Using cPanel.

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