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WordPress Plugins are the beauty and icing of websites built on WordPress. So, you need to install them efficiently like a Pro to get the best functionality.

Without plugin, WordPress powered websites would just be a dump. The expression it has today is not unconnected with the efficiency it derived from plugins created by countless of developers. So, you need to know how to install them properly if you want to tap from the beauty that makes WordPress distinct and special among other blogging platforms.

The installation of plugin on website or blog is important for the smooth running of sites on WordPress and it is also crucial for effective audience engagement. Plugin makes it possible to build custom website with ease. You need to really know how to install them properly for optimum performance.

What is WordPress Plugin?

WordPress plugins are simply add-on or features that guarantee intense functionality of website which otherwise would have been difficult to achieve through code. Plugins are written in PHP programming language which makes it integrate seamlessly with WordPress hooks.

They can help to bring about unique features that would make your site look as if it is custom built. However, care must be taken when installing them because they can affect the load time of your site adversely.

One of the primary reasons why I endorsed WordPress software for blogging and website development is because of the availability of thousands of plugin to choose from, most of which are incredibly free.

For instance, W3 Total Cache and Google Analytics among several others are plugins that still left me in surprise. All you need to do is search for the plugin, install them properly and then flow through the setting required for optimum performance.

How to install WordPress plugins on your website

Installing plugin on WordPress is similar to theme installation. If you know how to install themes, then you will find this process very easy.

If this post is too long for you to read now, you may download the eBook format here.

Okay, lets continue with this tutorial if you want to read it now. There are three major ways by which plugin can be installed.

1. Automatic installation through Admin dashboard
2. Manual uploading and installation
3. Installation from FTP program

Let’s dig into how plugin can be installed on WordPress powered website in three different ways mentioned above.

How to install WordPress plugins from WP admin dashboard

The beauty of WordPress is the ability to install plugins automatically within the back-end of WordPress admin panel. Follow the simple process below to do these.

Log in to your admin dashboard

From the admin panel, go to plugin tab. Click on ‘Add New’ from the three drop down menu.

Search for plugin

You’ll see a search box where you can look for the plugin you want by keyword. The result will present varied possibilities that best match your search query. Look for the plugin you want and click install.WordPress Plugins

Sometimes, I use the rating result in the form of stars to gauge a plugin performance and relevance among users if I don’t have a specific one in mind. So, I tend to go for the plugin with the highest vote.

Nevertheless, it is better to read the details of plugin prior installation to know about it compatibility with WordPress current version, updates, installation guide lines, etc.

Install plugin

Click the install button at the top right just beside the plugin name. After clicking the ‘Install Now’ button, a pop up message will appear almost abruptly wanting you to confirm if indeed you want to install the chosen plugin.

Click OK to proceed. At this point, WordPress will then commence automatic installation.

Activate plugin

Activating WordPress PluginAfter the completion of installation, you will be required to either activate or deactivate the plugin. Click on ‘Activate plugin’. That’s all about installing plugin on WordPress automatically.

However, most plugin require certain settings peculiar to their individual functionality before they are operational.

For example, W3 Total Cache needs to be set properly to achieve the best result. So, ensure the setting is properly done, otherwise leave the settings at default and hit the save setting button at the bottom of the setting page. You may also find out the setting from the plugin developer. Most of the time there is a documentation and support page you can refer to.

To access the setting page of a plugin, go to ‘Plugin’ on admin panel and click on ‘installed plugin’. Search for the plugin you want to update and click setting among the three menu options.

Sometimes, installed plugin could be accessed from the dashboard directly either as a tab among the dashboard menu or within the menu in the ‘Setting’ tab on the dashboard.

How to install WordPress plugins manually

Plugins can also be downloaded either from WordPress plugin directory or directly from the developer’s website. Also, there are some plugins that are not listed on the WordPress plugin repository. So, such plugins need to be accessed from the developer’s site.

Care should be taken when installing such plugins. This is a discussion for another post. I would want to talk about the plugins that have been endorsed by WordPress.

Search for the plugin

The first step is to search for the plugin you wish to install either on WordPress plugin directory or through search engine. It is advisable to have a specific plugin in mind or better still, you may use the keyword function of the plugin.WordPress Plugins search

Forum and WordPress support may be places to get insight about the best plugins and the functions they offer.

Understudy the plugin

It is imperative to read through the details of a plugin before installing. Seek to know whether it is maintained regularly. The number of download and voting it get across users could reveal how efficient it is. Then read the review posted by users.

Download plugin

Haven’t satisfied with the plugin, it’s time to download the plugin either on WP plugin repository or on directly from the developer’s website. Ensure the version is compatible with WordPress current software version.WordPress Plugins Installation

Click on the download button. A dialog box appears, then click save and the file would be saved on the hard drive of your computer in .zip format.

Log in to WordPress Admin panel

From your admin panel, go to ‘Plugin’, click on ‘Add New’ from the drop down menu. Click on ‘Upload’ at the top of the new page that opened. This page would allow you browse the file on your computer in order to upload the file you downloaded.

Upload plugin

Click ‘Browse’ and you will see a pop up box that contain the files on your computer. Locate the downloaded plugin and click on it.Manual installation of WordPress Plugin

Note: Do not unpack or unzip the file before uploading. Upload it in .zip format.

Click on save and the pop up box will disappear.

On WordPress, click ‘Install Now’ and thereafter, you’ll be prompted to activate the plugin. Once activated, the plugin will become live on your site. The next task is to set it for optimum delivery just the way you want it to function.

How to install WordPress plugins through FTP program (File Transfer Protocol)

File transfer protocol is an application responsible for total management of files within a website when connected to the host server. It can be used in this case to upload, unpack, edit, delete and manage plugins. FTP, like File Manager has to be setup within the admin host panel of your website package before it can function.

Other FTP clients like FileZilla, Smart, and Cute could be setup as standalone on your computer. You can learn how to setup FileZilla. You may watch the view below. You also need to know how to use it for website file  management.

Okay, let’s get down to plugin installation.

Search and download the plugin of your choice

This process follows the one explained above on how to install WordPress plugin manually.

Unpack the plugin file

Plugin are in .zip file format as said earlier. So, you need to use 7-Zip, WinZip or other application to unzip it before uploading via FTP.  Alternatively, you may upload it in .zip format and then use FTP to unzip within the program.

Please, note the difference. You upload manually to WordPress in .zip format in the previous method, but here you must unzip the file either before or after uploading at least, before activating the plugin within WordPress.

I would rather have it unpack before uploading because you’ll have to delete the .zip format within the server. Most times people like me use to forget.

Log in to FTP client

File managerYou either log in to your cpanel and then locate and click on ‘file manager’ within your host panel or log in to other ftp client directly from your computer.

Locate where to Upload file

Click on upload or you may ‘Drag and Drop’ in the case of FileZilla and other FTP clients. The plugin file should be uploaded into ‘wp-content/plugin’ directory.FTP File Manager

What this means is that, you will have to locate the ‘wp-content’ of the site you intend to install the plugin. You need to also know where the files of the website are located, whether in the root directory or sub-folder.

I presume you know how to locate this folder. Open it and you’ll see ‘Plugin’ on the list of files contained in it.

Double click ‘Plugin’ and there you are. You’ll see other plugins you’ve installed previously in that folder.

Upload plugin

File Upload using File managerOnce you’re in the plugin folder, click ‘Upload’ at the top right of your file manager if you’re using cpanel. Click on ‘Browse’ on the new page that emerge. You may use the boxes below the browse button to grant permission on the site. This controls the type of people that can have access to the file uploaded.

Select the plugin file you want to upload on your computer. Click open and file manager will begin the upload process. You’ll see a progress bar at the base of the page.

After the file has been uploaded, go back to plugin folder and you’ll see the name of the plugin there.

Log in to your WordPress admin panel

On the dashboard, go to ‘Installed plugins’ under plugin tab. Look for the plugin you just uploaded via FTP. You must see it there if the file is uploaded to the right folder. There are two menu options at the base of the plugin.

Click on ‘Activate’, after which you can commence the process of setting the plugin to function the way you want. And that’s all about WordPress plugin installation.

Contact us should you need any assistance in this regard. We shall be glad to push you through. Don’t forget we can setup WordPress powered website  for you absolutely free. Yes. you heard me right. You may click the link and learn more to satisfy your curiosity.

Image Credit: Techfeb

Francis 'Toke

Creative Web Developer at Frandimore
Level headed individual, writing blog post for Frandimore when not engrossed on projects.
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