Plugin Install Guide
Chris Hardee | | Comments closed
Here are some quick and easy beginner steps on installing a plugin, but first, some cautionary text:
Installing random plugins is a great way to break your site and leave it vulnerable to malicious scripts or hackers. Many of these plugins have not been updated in some time. They were not designed for the latest version of WordPress, which can cause them to break your site. Additionally, they might have security vulnerabilities that could expose your site to bad stuff.
The general recommended rule of thumb is: Have in mind a problem you want to solve, instead of a neat feature you would like to add.
If in doubt, check out our growing list of recommended plugins.
Finding a Plugin
Plugins are generally found via two ways: using the WordPress dashboard plugin browser, or downloading a zip file off of a website. The plugin browser has a large repository of free and open source plugins. Most non-free plugins are, instead, purchased from a plugin website and downloaded as a zip file onto your computer, which can then be uploaded.
To get to the plugin browser, you must first go to your WordPress dashboard, then go to Plugins -> Add New. This will bring you to a page like this:
Here you can browse Featured, Popular, and Recommended plugins that could solve your problem. You can also search for plugins via Keyword, Author, or Tag to find what you are looking for.
For plugins obtained outside the WordPress plugin browser, they will often have links to the WordPress repository where you can download the plugin as a zip by clicking on the Download button.
If the plugin is for purchase, you will need to follow the plugin author’s steps of purchasing it. Make sure to download a zip file of the plugin.
Using the WordPress browser, click on the Install Now button next to the plugin’s name. It will automatically download and install the plugin. You may then activate the plugin by clicking on the Activate button, which replaces the Install Now button once installed.
If you need to install a zip file, click on the Upload Plugin button at the top of the screen, next to the Add Plugins title.
This will show a button that will upload the zip file to your site. Click on the Choose File button, this will display your computer system’s Open File window; navigate to where you saved the zip file locally and click Open. The text No file chosen will now display the name of the file you just chose. Confirm that it is the correct file and click on the Install Now button to begin installation. Depending on the size of the file and your internet connection, this may take a minute or two. Once it has uploaded, it will display a status page with information on the install process. When it has finished, click on the Activate link if you wish to activate the plugin.
If you encounter an error upon installing a plugin, the main cause is usually a permissions error or your hosting server cannot upload a file over a certain size. In both cases, you will need to speak to your web administrator or your hosting provider for solutions.