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How to install a WordPress Plugin

3 Different ways to install WordPress plugin (Beginner’s Guide for 2019)

WordPress is a full-fledged content management system (CMS), and there are a couple of technical things to know about when you start using WordPress.

Installing WordPress plugins is one thing that every self-hosted WordPress blogger should know how to do. WordPress plugins can quickly extend your site and make it a better place both for you and the visitors. But what is a plugin, exactly?

Throughout this article, we are going to be basing our definition of WordPress plugins on the information provided in the WordPress.org:

Plugins are ways to extend and add to the functionality that already exists in WordPress.

– Source: WordPress.org

It’s pretty easy to understand, right? In short, plugins allows us to add new features to WordPress. There are thousands of free and premium plugins allowing you to customize WordPress the way you like it. This tutorial will show you 3 easy ways to install WordPress plugins.

Outline of this post:

  • Use WordPress search function to install WordPress plugin
  • Directly upload a plugin from WordPress
  • Upload a plugin via FTP
  • Final thoughts

Before installing a plugin, you should know that only self-hosted version of WordPress allows installation of new plugins. If you don’t have options for installing new plugins, you are probably using WordPress.com, or you don’t have the right user privileges.

Method #1: Use WordPress search function:

Installing a plugin from the WordPress dashboard is the easiest way. If you know the name of the plugin, you can directly search from the dashboard and install it. Simply log into your WordPress blog’s dashboard and follow the instructions.

Step 1: Go to Plugins -> Add New

Navigate to search WordPress plugin

Step 2: Find a plugin from the list or search for one. In our example we will install WP Super Cache Plugin – it helps speed up the WordPress blog.

Search for WP Super Cache Plugin

Step 3: Click on the “Install Now” button. Wait for a few seconds until the orange icons stops spinning.

Click on the "Install" button

Step 4: Click on “Active” button.

Click on Active button

The next step is to go into the settings panel of the plugin and make all of the necessary changes. Much of the time, we make the mistake of installing plugins without properly configuring them. After installing any plugin, always be sure to configure the settings.

Method #2: Directly upload a plugin from WordPress

Official plugins directory is not the only place to download plugins. There are plenty of premium plugins directories as well, for example CodeCanyon (Envato Market) offers more than 6000 paid plugins.

Before following the steps listed below, you should already have a plugin downloaded to your computer.

Step 1: Go to Plugins -> Add New

Navigate to search WordPress plugin

Step 2: On top of the page, click “Upload Plugin” button. If you have a plugin in a .zip format, click on “Choose File” button.

On top of the page click Upload Plugin button then click on Choose file button

Step 3: Select the .zip file from your computer, Click “Install Now” button. Wait for a few seconds for WordPress to complete the installation.

Select the ZIP file from your computer and click "Install Now" button

Step 4: Click on “Activate Plugin” button.

Click on “Activate Plugin” button

Method #3: Upload a plugin via FTP

This is another method that is very useful when you can not install a plugin using the WordPress dashboard.

You simply download the plugin from the WordPress plugin library, unzip it, and upload it to your WordPress plugin library using your FTP software. You can use FileZilla which is free and available for all major computer OS.

Step 1: Download and install FileZilla.

Step 2: Open the application, and connect to your site’s server using FTP.

Connect to your site’s server using FTP

Step 3: Navigate to WordPress directory (usually found in “www” or “public_html”) and open wp-content/plugins directory.

Open plugins directory

Step 4: Upload extracted plugin directly to plugins directory.

Upload extracted plugin directly to plugins directory

Step 5: Login to WordPress admin dashboard and navigate to “Installed Plugins” section.

Navigate to Installed Plugins section

Step 6: Find the new item on the list. Click the “Activate” button.

You need to manually activate uploaded plugin


By finishing this tutorial you learned three different ways to install WordPress plugins. Go ahead and add new features to your blog.

Customization possibilities are almost unlimited with thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins. If you have any issues regarding installing, activating, and deactivating plugins, let us know via the comments.

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Sunil Pradhan

Sunil is a front-end developer, illustrator and an online entrepreneur. He is the founder of "Hello Sunil" where he shares his love of technology with the world. He loves to write technical how-tos and tutorials. He is open minded and willing to explore beyond his knowledge.