How to Install WordPress Plugins: The Beginners Guide

If you’re just getting started with WordPress and are looking to get your website up and running as quickly as possible, knowing how to install WordPress plugins can be an excellent way to enhance your website quickly, easily, and without any coding knowledge necessary. This beginner’s guide will show you how to install plugins in WordPress

How to install WordPress plugins

In simple terms, WordPress plugins are like apps for your WordPress website. They allow you to add features to WordPress like a contact form, slideshow, shopping cart, and many more.

There are thousands of WordPress plugins both paid and free. In this guide, we will be exploring two methods of installing WordPress plugins.

  • Install a Plugin using the WordPress Plugin Search
  • Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload

Install Plugins using the WordPress Plugins Search

The most common method of installing a WordPress plugin is to search for the plugin in the WordPress plugin directory. The only disadvantage of this option is that the particular plugin you want to install must be in the WordPress plugin directory which is limited to only free plugins.

So the first thing you need to do is to go to Plugins >> Add New page in your WordPress admin area.

how to install WordPress plugins

You will then see a screen like the one in the screenshot above. Find your desired plugin by typing the plugin name or the functionality you are looking for in the search bar. After that, you will see a bunch of listings like the example below:

For the purpose of this guide, we will be installing the Wordfence Security plugin. As you can see from the above image we searched for the wordfence plugin.

The next thing you want to do is to click on the install button, so WordPress will download and install the plugin for you.

After the plugin has been downloaded and installed, the install Now button will change to the “Activate” button.

Go ahead and click the activate button, to start using the plugin. Plugins can be installed on a WordPress site, but without activating it, there is no way you can use them on your site.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed your first WordPress plugin.

Next is to configure the plugin for use on your site, however, every plugin has its own unique setting, so we won’t be covering configuration in this guide.

Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload

Paid plugins cannot be installed using the first method. This is because paid plugins are not included in the WordPress plugins directory.

For the above reason, WordPress comes with the upload method to install such plugins. This section will cover how to install WordPress plugins using this method.

The first thing to do using this method is to download the plugin from the source, this comes as a “ZIP FILE”. Next, you need to go to the WordPress admin area and visit Plugins » Add New page.

You’ll see the “Upload” button at the top of the page, click it.

This will open the plugin upload form. Here you need to click on the ‘Choose File’ button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer.

The next thing to do after you have selected the file is to click on the ‘Install Now’ button.

WordPress then uploads the plugin file from your computer and installs it for you. A success message like this will appear after the installation is finished.

Haven installed the plugin, you need to click on the Activate Plugin button to start using the plugin.

You then have to configure the settings to fit your needs. These settings vary for each plugin therefore we will not be covering that in this Guide.

Finding the Right Plugins for your Website

Selecting which plugin is right for your site depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you want an image gallery on your website, there are plenty of plugins available that will allow you to do just that. Similarly, if you’re looking for a way to track social media mentions of your brand or highlight important posts on your homepage, then there are plugins that will give you those functionalities and more.  

There are hundreds of plugins available, so you may find it difficult at first to identify which ones are right for your site. To help you get started, here is a list of five of our favorite WordPress plugins. Each one offers something different and will give your website extra functionality that might otherwise be missing. The best part? All of these plugins are free!

  1. WPForms is an easy drag & drop WordPress form builder which allows you to create contact forms, online surveys, donation forms, order forms, and other WordPress forms in just a few minutes without writing any code.
  2. WordFence leads the industry in login security controls, including brute force protection, XMLRPC protection, reCAPTCHA to block automated attacks, and IP access control.
  3. AIOSEO makes it easy to set up the proper SEO foundations in less than 10 minutes. The smart setup wizard optimizes your website’s SEO settings based on your unique profile.
  4. WP Mail SMTP: If you’re having issues with WordPress not sending emails, you’re not alone. With the rise of aggressive spam filtering, it’s tough to reach the inbox unless your emails are configured correctly. Once you’ve switched from the default WordPress email settings over to WP Mail SMTP, your email deliverability issues will be solved for good.
  5. UpdraftPlus is the most popular WordPress backup plugin available on the internet. It allows you to create complete backups of your WordPress site and store them on the cloud or download them to your computer.

We hope you enjoyed the guide and it has helped you learn how to install WordPress plugins.

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