Installing Plugins on your WordPress Website

If your website is hosted on WordPress.com, then you cannot install plugins.

People come to us and say they can’t see the plugins menu in their WordPress dashboard. If this is the case for you too, then It is because you are using WordPress.com, or you don’t have administrator access to your website.

In order to use plugins, you will need to use self-hosted WordPress.org install on an independent hosting server separate from wordpress.com.

There are three ways to install a WordPress plugin and we will go through them now in detail.

Install a Plugin via the WordPress Plugin Directory

The best and easiest way to install a WordPress plugin is to use the plugin directory. The only problem with this option is that a plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory which is only lists free plugins.

To start with, you need to do is go to your WordPress admin area and click on Plugins then Add New.

You will see a screen just like the one in the screen capture above. Find the plugin by using the search bar and typing the plugin name or the functionality you are looking for. You will see a list of results like the example below:

You can then pick the plugin that is best for your site. We did search Social Share, we were looking for a plugin that installs a social sharing bar on our blog. In this case the second one in these results will be perfect, we will click the ‘Install Now’ button.

WordPress will now download and install the plugin. You will then see the install now button switch to an activate button once installed.

Click on the activate plugin link to activate the plugin on your WordPress site.

That’s it, you have installed a WordPress plugin.

The next step is to setup the plugin. This is normally settings, which are different for each plugin. We will not be going into that in this post.

Install a Plugin via the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload Feature

To install a Paid WordPress plugins you will need to upload the plugin file. This is because paid plugins are not listed in the WordPress plugin directory. These plugins cannot be installed using the first method.

We will walk you through how to install WordPress plugin using the upload option in the admin area.

You need to download the plugin from the source (which will be a zip file). Then, you need to go to your WordPress admin area and visit Plugins then Add New page.

Then, click on the Upload Plugin button on top of the page.

This will give you the plugin upload page. Click the choose file button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer. These files are normally found in your download folder, if you didn’t choose a different place to save them.

Select the file, then you need to click on the install now button.

WordPress will now upload the plugin file from your computer and install it. You will see a success message like the one below after installation is finished.

Once the plugin is installed, click on the Activate Plugin link to turn the plugin on.

The next step is to setup the plugin. This is normally settings, which are different for each plugin.We will not be going into that in this post.

Install a WordPress Plugin via FTP

Sometimes, your WordPress hosting provider may not allow you to use the above methods.

If this is the case, it is better to install the plugin via FTP.

The FTP solution is not as friendly for beginners as the first two options.

You will need to download the plugin’s file (it will be a zip file), just like in the plugin upload method. Next, you need to extract the zip file on your computer.

Extracting the plugin zip file will create a new folder with the same name. This is the folder that you need to upload to your website via an FTP client. For both Mac and Windows users this could be FileZilla.

You would need to access your host through the FTP manager. If you do not have your FTP log in details (username and password), then contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask them. Normally you are sent this information in a welcome email, when you purchase your hosting package.

Open the FTP client and connect to your website using the login credentials provided by your web host. Once connected, you need to go to the folder /wp-content/plugins/

Then upload the folder you extracted from the zip file to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your server.

Once the all the files have been uploaded, visit your WordPress admin area and click on the Plugins link in the admin menu. Now you will see the plugin on the plugins page list.

You then need to click on the Activate link below the plugin. Once activated, you may need to configure the plugin settings. They are different for each plugin. We will not be going into that in this post.

We hope this helps you to install new plugins yourself. If you do need assistance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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