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How To Install WordPress Plugins – Step by Step

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WordPress plugins extend the functionality of your WordPress sites. There are many types of plugins. There are some that help you build pages. While there are others that extend its functionality. Though optional, it is highly recommended to install plugins. This is true especially if a site does more than display standard content.

Installing a WordPress plugin is not difficult. It is also very similar to installing WordPress themes; and like installing WordPress themes, they may be done in multiple ways.

If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ll go through all the methods, step by step.

Method 1: Installing a Plugin through the “Add Plugin” Page

The first method to install a plugin we will look at is an install through the WordPress dashboard’s “Add Plugin” page

To be able to do this, we need to login to the WordPress Admin dashboard. Once there, hover over “Plug Ins” then click “Add New”

WordPress Dashboard: click Plugins - Add New

You will be redirected to the “Add Plugin” page. Here you can choose and pick among a variety of different plugins. Search for the plugin that you need. In our example, we will choose to install the ‘WooCommerce’ plugin. We will click on the “Install Now” button found in the plugin’s section to install the plugin.

Choose a plugin and click install now

Once it is through installing, click ‘Activate’

Afterwards click activate

Method 2: Installing a Plugin by Uploading It to the “Add Plugin” Page

Another way to install a plugin is by uploading it through the “Add Plugin” Page. This is useful for cases when we can’t find the theme in the Admin Dashboard’s “Add Plugin” page. To upload a plugin, It has to be downloaded first. In our example, we will search for a plugin in the WordPress Plugin Repository. Search for the plugin you need. For this tutorial, we will search and download the Contact Form Email plugin. After querying for the plugin and it is found, click on the plugin’s title

Search for the plugin you need.

It will redirect to the plugin’s page. Click ‘Download’ then save the file. Don’t unzip it.

Click download.

After the plugin’s file has been downloaded it can already be installed. To install the plugin, we first need to login to WordPress. On the Admin Dashboard, Hover over “Plugins” then click “Add New”.

Screenshot Admin Dashboard: Hover over "Plugins" then click "Add New".

This will redirect to the the “Add Plugins” page. Once there, click on the “Upload Plugin” button.

Click Upload Plugin

You will see be prompted to upload the plugin. Browse for the plugin zip file we downloaded, then click ‘Install Now’. It will install the plugin.

Click install now

To use the plugin click ‘Activate’.

Click Activate Plugin to use it.

Method 3: Installing a WordPress Plugin through FTP

The third method we will look at is an install of a WordPress Plugin through FTP. To proceed, download the plugin you need from the WordPress repository or from its source. To be able to install through FTP, FTP access to the server that will be connected to is necessary. Proper credentials are needed as well. Lastly, an FTP client is needed.

In our example, we have been given FTP access and the proper credentials to access the FTP server. For our FTP client, we will use Filezilla Client. We will be installing the ‘contact-form-to-email’ plugin. Unzip the plugin file in a directory.

We will now proceed to the installation.Open the FTP client and connect to the remote server.

Screenshot FTP client

Once connected, navigate the remote server’s directory to go to the remote WordPress site’s plugin folder.

Go to the remote WordPress site’s plugin folder.

Afterwards, navigate the local machine’s directory to the unzipped plugin folder.

Screenshot: Navigate the local machine’s directory to the unzipped plugin folder.

Right click on the plugin file. Click ‘Upload’. The file will be uploaded.

Screenshot: Right click on the plugin file. Click ‘Upload’.

To activate the plugin, log-in to WordPress on the remote server. Once logged-in, activate the plugin through the Admin dashboard. To do that hover ‘Plugins and click on ‘Installed Plugins’.

Screenshot: Hover over ‘Plugins’ and click ‘Installed Plugins’

Focus on the newly installed plugin and click ‘Activate’ on the theme to use it.

Screenshot: activate the plugin.

Method 4: Installing a WordPress Plugin Through a Local Installation

Plugins can also be locally installed. To do this, first download the plugin file then unzip it. Place the unzipped folder inside your local site’s “/wp-content/plugins” directory. Login to WordPress Admin Dashboard. Hover over ‘Plugins’ and click ‘Installed Plugins’

Screenshot: Hover over ‘Plugins’ and click ‘Installed Plugins’

Activate the plugin to use it.

Screenshot: activate the plugin.


Now we know how to install WordPress Plugins. We can now incorporate them into our sites.


Kristin Eitel

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