How To Install WordPress Plugins

Danilo Rizzuti /

You can install WordPress plugins on your site or blog in two ways:

Install Plugin From WordPress Dashboard

Go to your WordPress site’s dashboard. Go to the Plugins menu on your left and click on ‘Add New’.  Enter the name of the plugin or the kind of plugin in the empty search field and click on ‘Search Plugins’.  A list of one or more plugins will appear. Scroll through the list. You can click on Details, where you will find such information as the plugins website, the date of the last update, which WordPress version it’s compatible with (very important), installation instructions, and more.

Once you’ve selected your plugin, you can install from the Details page or from the plugin results list by clicking on  Install Now. WordPress will install and give you a successful installation message when it’s done. Then you must click activate when you are ready to use the plugin.


Install Plugin Via FTP

Plugins are not always available from WordPress’s Dashboard. Sometimes you have to dump the plugin directly into your site’s plugin folder located on your hosting provider’s server. You start by downloading the plugin to your computer so that you can then transfer it to your files on your server. If you have never done this before, don’t worry; it’s not as complicated or high tech as it may sound.

1)First download the plugin onto your computer

Once you’ve downloaded the plugin from the plugin’s website, take notice in which folder it’s stored on your computer. Open your FTP client such as CoffeeCup Free FTP and connect to your WordPress site files. If you need help with locating your site files, I push you to either go through your host provider’s tutorials or have the host’s support show you where these are and how to access them.  This skill will come in very handy. Nowadays, most popular hosts have a C-Panel, which serves the same function as your Dashboard on WordPress. From the C-Panel via the File Manager, you can access your site’s files. If you have never done this before, use the File Manager to access your files and have a look around. But don’t delete or change anything! Just explore to get familiar with your folders.

2)Transfer the plugin from your computer to your site’s plugin folder

So in your FTP window, connect to your domain/site folders on your host’s server. Again, if you are new at doing FTPs, use its help feature or follow a tutorial such as this one for CoffeeCup Free FTP. If you need additional help with setting the connection with your server (which you do only once), you can contact your host provider for help. In CoffeeCup FTP once your initial connection to your server is set-up, you simply click on ‘Servers’ (upper-left) and select your domain name to connect. Connected, you can transfer files back and forth between your server and your computer. When you want to disconnect, you click on ‘Disconnect’ (upper-right).

Now that you’re connected, the FTP screen will display both the folders on your computer and those on your host’s server (see snapshot). Find the folder on your computer for your new downloaded plugin, click on it to highlight it and drag & drop it into your plugin folder for your WordPress site on your hosts server.

Click on Server and connect to your domain/site

Your site’s plugin folder will be located in your wp-contents folder, which is in your site’s public_html folder or index folder (depending on your host). So the path for your plugin folder on your site’s server looks like this:


3)Activate your new plugin

Disconnect your FTP client, and click on Plugins on your WordPress Dashboard. Find the new plugin you just added to your site’s plugin folder among the list of installed plugins. Click activate and you’re done!

If you found this post helpful, you may also like to read about one of the most crucial but overlooked steps  in building and maintaining a website:  site backup.

Keep moving forward…

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