How to install WordPress plugins

If you are ready to set up your first website and feel a little overwhelmed with how to get started, this blog post is for you. One of the easiest ways to set up your own website is to use the most popular content management system in the world – WordPress. Setting up a WordPress website is easy. 

Once you have set up your WordPress website, you will find that the platform offers various ways to add tons of functionality to your website without you having to code. WordPress does this through software components called ‘plugins’. A plugin lets you add greater functionality to your website without the need for any code. For example, plugins can help you with simple functionality such as adding a contact form to your website easily and quickly (with Contact Form 7) and with more complex uses such as tracking the analytics of your website, creating an online store for you (with the WooCommerce plugin), helping you with SEO (with the Yoast SEO plugin) and more. The number of plugins available is massive and there are several ways to install them to your website. My post explains exactly how to install WordPress plugins

 

How to install WordPress plugins:

There are 2 main ways to install WordPress plugins to your WordPress blog/website.

 

Method 1 – Installing free plugins available on the WordPress platform:

This is done through your WordPress dashboard and is the easiest way to install plugins.  All you have to do is:

  1. Login to your WordPress dashboard
  2. Navigate to ‘Plugins’ in the main menu
  3. Select ‘Add New’

Here, you will see a list of plugins in various categories such as ‘popular’, ‘recommended’, ‘favourites’, ‘featured’. You can also look for a plugin via a keyword, author or tag.

Before you install a plugin, be sure to look at the reviews, the rating, whether it is compatible with your version of WordPress(make sure that you first have the latest version of WordPress), the number of active installations. Click on the ‘More Details’ link to read more about the plugin.

For our example, we will install a popular plugin called Jetpack.

4.Once you’re ready to install, select the ‘Install Now’ button

5.After a few seconds, the button will change to ‘Activate’. Click on it.

For Jetpack, installation requires the creation of a wordpress.com account (unlike the self-hosted wordpress.org account that you have). Therefore, you will see the following message:

  1. You will need to create a wordpress.com account if you don’t have one already. Once you have logged in with your credentials, the installation is done.

 

  1. Log back into your main WordPress dashboard and you will see the plugin in your main menu.

 

  1. Select the new plugin from the main menu and follow their specific instructions.

 

Method 2 – Installing WordPress plugins from 3rd party websites (usually for paid plugins or those not found on the wordpress platform):

If you have downloaded a plugin from a 3rd party website (these are usually plugin marketplaces), you can upload it via your wordpress dashboard as well.

  1. Log into your WordPress dashboard and select ‘Add new’ from the main menu
  2. You will then see a button that says ‘Upload Plugin’

  1. Select the .zip file from your drive and upload it to your dashboard. Select the ‘Install Now’ button and you’re good to go!

 

We should also mention that plugins can also come pre-installed with purchase of a WordPress hosting package. For example, Jetpack comes pre-installed with our WordPress hosting product.

 

Before any WordPress plugin is installed, a key issue you need to deal with security. A few key things to keep in mind to minimize security risks through installation of WordPress plugins are to:

  1. Ensure you always have the latest version of each plugin. Plugins that are not updated regularly are open bait to hackers to gain access to your WordPress website.
  2. Read the plugin details carefully before downloading it. Look particularly at ratings and reviews.
  3. Only download plugins from credible websites
  4. Install website security software such as ‘SiteLock’ which immediately scans and removes any malware or threat present on your website.

 

We hope you found this blog post on  how to install WordPress plugins informative. Have you had any issues installing WordPress plugins? Let us know in the comments below.