WordPress Plugins are PHP scripts that are used to extend the functionality of WordPress. They add many features to a basic WordPress installation as well as enhancing the features of WordPress. You can find free plugins at WordPress that you can download and install to your WordPress installation. You can also find them on the WordPress plugin repository on your WordPress installation.
In this post, we are going to discuss three ways you can install a WordPress plugin. They include;
- Automatic Plugin Installation.
- Uploading through the WordPress Admin Dashboard.
- Manually installing through an FTP client.
Automatic Plugin Installation
This is the easiest method to install a WordPress plugin. It is used when a plugin is available on the WordPress plugins directory and uses the WordPress built-in plugin installer.
Log in to the WordPress admin dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New. This will take you to the WordPress plugin directory.
On the WordPress plugin directory, type the name of the plugin you are looking for on the search field on the top right. For the part of the tutorial, I will be installing the Yoast SEO plugin.
If the plugin you are looking for is available in the WordPress plugin directory, it will be displayed on the results just below the search. Click on the Install Now button to install the plugin.
The step above might take a moment depending on the size of the plugin and how fast your internet is. When the plugin is installed, the Install Now button will change to Activate. Click on the Activate button to activate the plugin.
The plugin has been successfully installed and activated.
Uploading through the WordPress Admin Dashboard
This method is used mostly when you are not able to find the plugin you are looking for on the WordPress Plugin Directory. I am going to uninstall the Yoast SEO plugin we have installed above then install it again by uploading it through the WordPress admin dashboard.
We will first visit WordPress.org and search for the plugin that we want to install. In this case, we will be searching for the Yoast SEO plugin. Once you get the plugin, click on the download button. This will download a zipped copy of the plugin to your computer.
After the plugin is downloaded, log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and navigate to Plugin > Add New.
You will be taken to a page where we searched for Yoast SEO when using the automatic plugin installation. However, in the step, we are going to click on the Upload Plugin button on the top left-hand side.
On the next page, click on the Choose File button and navigate to where you have the downloaded zipped file of the plugin stored on your computer. After selecting the plugin, click on the Install Now button. This will start installing the plugin.
Finally, we will need to activate the plugin. When the installation completes successfully, WordPress will notify you. Click on the Activate Plugin button to activate it.
The plugin is now successfully installed and activated.
Manually Installing through an FTP Client
Sometimes, you might be forced to install a plugin through the use of an FTP client. However, this should be the last option for you to use. Use this method when the first two are not working for you or when your server is configured to not accept automatic installations. Again, I am going to uninstall the Yoast SEO plugin and install it back through an FTP client. My favorite FTP client is FileZilla.
The first step when installing a WordPress plugin using an FTP client is downloading the plugin to your computer. I will use the same plugin I downloaded when installing using the WordPress Admin Dashboard above.
The next step involves creating an FTP account on your host. This step might vary depending on the host you are using. My host uses the normal cPanel that is common with many other hosting companies.
To create an FTP account on cPanel, navigate to the Files section after logging in and click on FTP accounts as shown below;
You will be taken to another screen where you will need to fill in a few details to create the FTP account. Make sure to use a strong password. When you fill all the required fields, click on the Create FTP Account button at the bottom of the screen.
Some hosting providers come with FTP accounts already created. If you want to use those, scroll down to see a list of the already available FTP accounts and check the details to use to log in through FileZilla. The password is the same password you use to log in to the cPanel if you use the cPanel details.
Launch FileZilla. You will need to log into your web hosting server through the FileZilla client. To do that, you will need to fill in the host, username, password, and port as shown below. These are the details you used to create the FTP account in Step 3 above.
FileZilla will connect to your server if the credentials are correct.
Now, navigate to your computer where you have the zipped file of the plugin installed and unzip the file. Please note that we are going to upload the unzipped folder of the plugin, not the zipped folder.
Go back to FileZilla, and on the left-hand side, navigate to where you have the unzipped folder of the plugin. On the right-hand side, navigate to public_html > wp-content > plugins.
Click on the plugin folder on the local site (your computer) and then drag and drop the folder on the right-hand side – your server. This might take some time depending on the size of the plugin and your internet connection.
When the upload is complete, FileZilla will notify you. Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Installed Plugins. You will get a list of all the plugins you have installed. Look for the plugin we have just installed and click on the Activate link as shown below.
The plugin is now successfully installed and activated.
If you run a WordPress website, you will find in one way or another that you need to install a plugin to enhance the performance of your website. Those are the three ways that you can use to install a plugin. Please share with us if you face any problems when using one of these methods.