When starting a new WordPress website, one of the first tasks you should complete is installing the basic plugins typically required to improve the site’s funcionality. One of the most frequently asked questions we hear from people that reach out to us through our social media channels is, How do you install a WordPress plugin? We thought it would be great to share that with you today.
Plugins are a critical component of any WordPress websites. They allow you to achieve some of your site’s most important functionalities. Therefor it is important that you familiarize yourself with plugins and know how to install them!
There are both free plugins and premium (paid) plugins. While the installation process is similar, there are a few differences that you should be aware of, as well as a couple of basic hiccups you could run into. Here’s a quick tutorial that you should be able to easily follow along so that you install your first free WordPress plugin. At the end we included a short video as well that shows you exactly the steps to follow.
How to install a WordPress Plugin that is free
Installing a free WordPress plugin is fairly straightforward and a bit easier than installing a premium/paid plugin. In the written tutorial we will cover both. Let’s start with the version of the free plugin:
1. Login to your website’s admin panel and go to ‘Plugins’ in your dashboard
You can get to your site’s admin panel by typing the following URL on your browser, https://your-domain.com/wp-admin/. Once your admin panel the left sidebar menu click on ‘Plugins’
2. Click the ‘Add New’ button
You will find the button towards the top of the page.
3. Search for your plugin
When the ‘Add Plugins’ windows open will see a list of plugins in square tiles. You want to look for search bar toward the top right hand corner of the page. Click on the search bar, type the name of your plugin, and press enter. The name of your plugin should auto fill, so it’s ok if you don’t know the exact spelling of the name.
4. Install your plugin
Once you find the plugin you have been looking for all you have to do is click on ‘Install’. Once you do WordPress will run the installation process.
5. Activate your plugin
Once the plugin has installed, the text on the ‘Install’ button will have changed to ‘Activate’. Now click on ‘Activate’ to basically turn on your plugin and make it live. Once the plugin has been activated you can head back to your plugins window by clicking on ‘Plugins’ on the right sidebar. You will find your new active plugin on the list now and you can adjust any of it’s setting if necessary.
How to install a premium or paid WordPress plugin
Installing a paid WordPress plugin requires a bit more work than a free plugin. Premium plugins typically cannot be found by searching the WordPress panel directory as we did on step 3 above. A paid plugin is offered directly by the plugin developer and you will have access to download it once you have purchased it and they have either e-mailed a download link or giving you access to it through their website.
1. Download your plugin
Once have the download link to get your plugin it is time to download it. You might download your plugin to your desktop or our recommendation would be to create a plugin folder, that way you can keep all your plugins in one place should you need to re-install one sometime in the future.
Note: In order for your file to install properly on WordPress it must be in ZIP format. If your file does not download in .zip format the first time you can always right click the download link and select ‘Download Linked File As”. That should download the file as a ZIP. If for any reason that does not work, you can always right click on the un-compressed folder and select ‘Compress’. Compressing the file will give convert into a ZIP and it will be ready to install.
2. Head to your ‘Plugins’ in your WordPress admin panel
Once you have a ZIP file ready head to your WordPress admin panel and on the right sidebar find and click ‘Plugins’. Once you are in the ‘Plugins’ area you should see a list of all the plugins installed on your website. Click on ‘Add New’, located towards the top of the page.
3. Select and ‘Upload Plugin’
You should be in the ‘Add Plugins’ window at this point, now click on ‘Upload Plugin’. Next click on ‘Choose File’ and select the file from your desktop or plugins folder. Once you selected your ZIP file click on ‘Install Now’.
4. Activate your plugin
Once the plugin has been installed all there is left to do is activate the plugin. Click on ‘Activate Plugin’ and after a few moments your plugin will be live and ready to use.