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How to Install WordPress Plugins: A Step-by-Step Guide

WordPress, a robust content management system, is favored by many for its flexibility and ease of use. A significant part of this flexibility comes from plugins – extensions that add functionality to a WordPress website. Whether you’re looking to optimize your site for search engines, add a contact form, or even create an online store, there’s likely a plugin available for that. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of installing WordPress plugins.

1. Preliminary Checks

Before you begin, ensure that:

  • You have administrative rights on your WordPress website. Only users with the role of ‘Administrator’ can install plugins.
  • You’re using a self-hosted WordPress.org site. WordPress.com users, especially those on free plans, have limitations when it comes to installing plugins.

2. Installing a Plugin from the WordPress Plugin Repository

The easiest way to install a plugin is from the WordPress Plugin Repository, which hosts thousands of free plugins.


  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. On the left sidebar, hover over ‘Plugins’ and click on ‘Add New’.
  3. Use the search bar to find a specific plugin or browse through featured, popular, or recommended plugins.
  4. Once you’ve found the plugin you want, click on ‘Install Now’.
  5. After installation, the ‘Install Now’ button will change to ‘Activate’. Click on it to activate the plugin and make it functional on your site.

3. Uploading a Plugin Manually

If you’ve purchased a premium plugin or downloaded a free one outside the WordPress repository, you’ll need to upload it manually.


  1. After purchasing or downloading, you should have a .zip file of the plugin.
  2. Go to your WordPress dashboard.
  3. Navigate to ‘Plugins’ > ‘Add New’.
  4. At the top, click on the ‘Upload Plugin’ button.
  5. Choose the .zip file from your computer and click ‘Install Now’.
  6. Once installed, click ‘Activate’ to enable the plugin on your site.

4. Installing Plugins via FTP

For more advanced users who prefer using FTP (File Transfer Protocol):


  1. Extract the plugin .zip file. It will result in a new folder with the same name.
  2. Connect to your website using an FTP client (e.g., FileZilla).
  3. Navigate to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory.
  4. Upload the extracted folder to the /plugins/ directory.
  5. Once uploaded, go to your WordPress dashboard.
  6. Navigate to ‘Plugins’, and you’ll see your new plugin listed there. Click ‘Activate’ to enable it.

5. After Installation

Once you’ve installed and activated your plugin, it’s a good idea to:

  • Check your site to ensure everything is running smoothly. Some plugins might conflict with others, so it’s crucial to ensure your site’s functionality remains intact.
  • Go through the plugin settings. Most plugins will have a settings or configuration page where you can customize their features.


Installing WordPress plugins is a straightforward process, but it’s essential to ensure you’re adding reliable, well-coded plugins to your site. Always check reviews, ratings, and the number of active installations when choosing from the WordPress repository. For plugins outside the repository, ensure they’re from reputable developers. With the right plugins, you can significantly extend the functionality and performance of your WordPress website.

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