How to Install a WordPress Plugin

If you’re new to creating a WordPress website, you may be wondering how to install a WordPress plugin.

Plugins are an essential part of WordPress that allows you to enhance your website with new features and functionality without coding.

In this beginners guide, we are going to explain step-by-step how to install a WordPress plugin. We will show you three different ways to achieve this, so you can pick the best method that suits your needs.

Additionally, we’ll touch on what a WordPress plugin is, what to look for when choosing one, and how to uninstall a WordPress plugin.

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If you’d like to jump to the section you’re looking for, a hyperlinked table of contents is available.

What is a WordPress Plugin?

A WordPress plugin is a software application created by third-party developers. Plugins can enhance WordPress with new features or change its functionality.

Things to Know Before Installing a WordPress Plugin

Before you start installing different plugins, here is a list of things that you should be aware of that will help you on your way.

  • Read ratings & reviews: Search for and thoroughly read reviews and ratings. This will help weed out a lot of the undesirables.
  • Last update: Verify when the plugin was last updated. This will tell us if the plugin is being actively developed.
  • Current version: Look and see what the current version of the plugin is. This will give us an idea about its history.
  • WP Compatibility: Is it compatible with the current WordPress version? You may want to stay away from plugins not compatible with the past three major releases.
  • Support offered: Whether it is a free or premium plugin, you will want to know what kind of support is offered. Things can and will happen.

For further reading, we recommend: What are WordPress Plugins? And How do they Work?

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

There are thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins available across the internet. This can sometimes make finding good ones difficult. Searching for the functionality that you want the plugin to have can often yield good results.

How to Install a Free WordPress Plugin

In this section, we will explain how to install a free WordPress plugin using the plugin directory located in the WordPress admin area.

Step 1. Go to Plugins > Add New

On the left side of the WordPress admin area, hover over Plugins, then click on Add New. Doing so will open the plugin directory.

WordPress add new plugin link

Step 2. Search for a Plugin

If you already know the plugin name you have in mind, type it into the search box at the top right. Or type in the functionality the plugin should have.

Search the WordPress plugin directory

Click the More Details button next to the plugin to see more information about it.

Step 3. Click the Install Now Button

Once you’ve found and reviewed the plugin you are interested in, click the Install Now button next to the plugin.

WordPress plugin install button

That’s it! You now know how to install a free WordPress plugin using the plugin directory. Now click the Activate button.

WordPress plugin activate button

And you’re done.

How to Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

In this section, we will explain how to install a premium WordPress plugin. This feature is for downloaded plugins. If you download a WordPress plugin from a website, you can install it using this method.

Step 1. Go to Plugins > Add New

On the left side of the admin area, hover over Plugins and click Add New. This will open the WordPress plugin directory.

WordPress add new plugin link

Step 2. Click the Upload Plugin button

At the top of the Add Plugins screen, click the Upload Plugin button.

WordPress upload plugin button

Step 3. Select Plugin zip file to Upload

Now click Browse, locate the premium or downloaded plugin zip file you want to upload and click Open.

WordPress plugin upload form

Step 4. Click the Install Now button

Finally, click the Install Now button.

WordPress upload plugin install button

Once the plugin has finished installing, click the Activate Plugin button.

WordPress installing a plugin from uploaded file

That’s it! You now know how to install a premium WordPress plugin or a plugin that has been downloaded.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin Using FTP

In this section, we will explain how to install a WordPress plugin using FTP (file transfer protocol), which is a standard way to transfer files between a client and a web server.

For this method, we will be using the free and open-source FileZilla client software, which is free and a great choice because of its simple interface.

Note: This is an advanced way to install a WordPress plugin and is not recommended for beginners.

Step 1. Get your FTP / SFTP Credentials

Before you can start uploading plugins to your website, you will need your FTP / SFTP credentials from your web hosting provider. You will have to look around in your web hosting account. If you have trouble finding it, you’ll need to reach out to your web hosting provider.

What you will need:

  • Host
  • Username
  • Password
  • Port

If you are using DreamHost, first log in to your account and click on Websites located to the left of the dashboard. Then click FTP Users & Files. This will take you to the File Management screen. On this screen, click Show Info on the right. This will show your credentials for using FTP/ SFTP.

So go to Websites > FTP Users & Files > Show Info.

Step 2. Enter Your Credentials into FileZilla

Once you have your FTP/SFTP credentials, go ahead and startup FileZilla.

Now enter your credential information into each box and click the Quickconnect button.

FileZilla Toolbar

FileZilla will then connect to your website’s web server.

Step 3. Upload WordPress Plugin Files

After successfully connecting to your website’s web server, you can install a WordPress plugin on your website.

The left side of FileZilla is how you will access your computer files. The right side of FileZilla is how you will access your website’s files.

To open up your website’s files, click on the folders in the right-side panel. Now look for the one labeled plugins. Go to wp-content > plugins.

Once you find and click on the plugins folder, any WordPress plugins that you have installed will appear under the file folders.

FileZilla remote site files plugins folder

Next, go to the left-side panel and find the WordPress plugin that you want to install. Once you find it, right-click on it and select Upload.

FileZilla local files upload plugin

Note: If the plugin you want to install is in .zip format, you will need to extract it first.

Once the plugin has finished uploading to your website’s web server, you will see the plugin folder in the right-side panel of FileZilla.

FileZilla WordPress plugin uploaded

Now log into your WordPress website and go to the Plugins screen. You will now be able to see the plugin you uploaded. The final step will be to activate your newly uploaded plugin. Find the plugin and click activate.

WordPress Plugins admin screen

That’s it! You now know how to install a WordPress plugin using FTP. Hopefully, it went smoothly.

How to Uninstall a WordPress Plugin

In this part of the guide, we will show you how to uninstall a WordPress plugin from your WordPress installation. We thought that since we are showing how to add plugins, maybe we should show you how to remove them as well. Uninstalling a WordPress plugin is really easy once you know where to look.

Step 1. Click on Plugins

From the main navigation on the left side of the admin area, click on Plugins. This will load the Plugins screen where you can manage the plugins you have installed.

WordPress Plugins link

The Plugins screen allows you to activate, deactivate, update, edit, and delete plugins.

Step 2. Deactivate and Click Delete

Now locate the plugin that you want to be uninstalled and deactivate it if it isn’t already. Once the plugin is deactivated, it will reveal the Delete link.

WordPress plugin activate and delete links

Note: You cannot uninstall an active plugin. It must be deactivated first.

That’s it! You now know how to uninstall a WordPress plugin.

Wrapping it Up!

In this beginners guide, we have explained 3 different ways to install a WordPress plugin and how to uninstall a WordPress plugin.

Chances are you may go through a few different WordPress plugins before you find the one you like most with all the features you need. Thankfully installing a WordPress plugin is not too difficult.

If you found this article helpful, let us know in the comments section, follow us on social media, or subscribe to our newsletter for more.

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JTartt
I am Jeff Tartt - a human and father of 4, with experience in many different trades, including development. I love family, tech, building things (with and without code), helping others, and ancient history.

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