How to Install WordPress Plugins

Without plugins WordPress is just a simple blogging platform. Plugins allow users to add various new features – from e-commerce modules to admin area enhancements. 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.

What you’ll need

Before you begin this guide you’ll need the following:

  • Access to WordPress Administrator area
  • A plugin downloaded to your computer (Option 2)
  • Access to FTP (Option 3)

Option 1 – Installing Free WordPress Plugins From Official Plugins Directory

There are more than 46 000 plugins in plugins directory and all of them can be downloaded free of charge! Follow these easy steps in order to install plugins:

  1. Access your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins section.
    WordPress Plugins Section
  2. Click on Add New button, it is located at the top of the page.
    WordPress Plugins Add New Button
  3. You can browse plugins using Popular, Featured or Recommended tags which are located at the top of the page or use search field. If you already know what plugin you want to install, enter its name or related keyword into Search field and hit ENTER button. In our example we will install WP Super Cache Plugin – it helps speed up the WordPress blog.
  4. Now press Install button near the plugin you want to install.
    WordPress WP Super Cache Plugin Install Button
  5. Newly installed plugins are deactivated by default. In order to proceed and activate the plugin, hit Activate button.
    WordPress WP Super Cache Activate

That’s it, you have just successfully installed and activated your first plugin!

WordPress Plugin Activated

Option 2 – Installing WordPress Plugins Manually

Official plugins directory is not the only place to download plugins. There are plenty of premium plugins directories as well, for example CodeCanyon offers more than 4 000 paid plugins. Before following the steps listed below, you should already have a plugin downloaded to your computer.

  1. Navigate to Plugins section and press Add New button.
    WordPress Add New Plugin
  2. Press Upload Plugin button.
    WordPress Upload Plugin Button
  3. On a new page you’ll be asked to upload a plugin archive. Press Choose File, select the plugin archive from your computer and hit Install Now button.
    WordPress Plugin Choose File and Install Buttons
  4. In order to activate the plugin and finish installation process, press Activate.
    WordPress Plugin Activated

Congratulations, you learned how to manually install a WordPress plugin.
WordPress Plugin Activated

Option 3 – Using FTP To Install WordPress Plugins.

Yet another way to install WordPress plugins is to use an FTP client or File Manager. It can help if your current hosting provider is limiting PHP upload size and you cannot install plugins via administrator dashboard. It is more complicated as some knowledge on how to use FTP or File Manager is required. Therefore, it’s not recommended for beginners. Steps listed below show how to upload a plugin using FTP client:

  1. Extract the plugin archive on your local computer.
  2. Connect to your hosting account using FTP client and navigate to WordPress directory. In our example WordPress is installed on public_html.
    WordPress public_html Folder
  3. Navigate to wp-content.
    WordPress wp-content Folder
  4. Open plugins folder.
    WordPress plugins Folder
  5. Upload extracted plugin folder directly to plugins folder.
    WordPress plugins Upload
  6. Login to WodPress administrator dashboard and navigate to Installed Plugins section.
    WordPress Installed Plugins
  7. You need to manually activate uploaded plugin. Press Activate button in order to proceed.
    WordPress Activate Plugin

That’s it! You should see green success message at the top of the page.
WordPress Plugin Activated


By finishing this tutorial you learned 3 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.

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