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Install a Plugin using WordPress Plugin Search
The easiest way of installing a WordPress plugin is to use the plugin search. The only downside of this option is that a plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory which is limited to only free plugins.
First thing you need to visit the Plugins » Add New page inside your WordPress admin area.
You will see a screen like the one in the screenshot above. Find the plugin by typing the plugin name or the functionality you are looking for. After that, you will see a bunch of listings like the example below:
You can pick the plugin that is best for you. Since in our search, we were looking for WPForms which is the best WordPress contact form plugin, we’ll click the ‘Install Now’ button next to it.
WordPress will now download and install the plugin for you. After this, you’ll notice the ‘Install Now’ button will change into the ‘Activate’ button.
A WordPress plugin can be installed on your site, but it will not work unless you activate it. So go ahead and click on the activate button to start using that plugin on your WordPress site.
That’s all, you have successfully installed your first WordPress plugin.
The next step is to configure the plugin settings. These settings will vary for each plugin therefore we will not be covering that in this post.
Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload
Paid WordPress plugins are not listed in the WordPress plugin directory. These plugins cannot be installed using the first method.
That’s why WordPress comes with the upload method to install such plugins. We will show you how to install WordPress plugins using the upload option in the admin area.
First, you need to download the plugin from the source (which will be a zip file). Next, you need to go to WordPress admin area and visit Plugins » Add New page.
After that, click on the ‘Upload Plugin’ button on top of the page.
This will reveal the plugin upload form. Here you need to click on the ‘Choose File’ button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer.
After you have selected the file, you need to click on the ‘Install Now’ button.
WordPress will now upload the plugin file from your computer and install it for you. You will see a success message like this after the installation is finished.
Once installed, you need to click on the Activate Plugin link to start using the plugin.
You would have to configure the settings to fit your needs. These settings will vary for each plugin therefore we will not be covering that in this post.
Manually Install a WordPress Plugin using FTP
In some rare cases, your WordPress hosting provider may have file restrictions that could limit your ability to install a plugin from the admin area.
In this situation, your best bet is to install the plugin manually using FTP.
The FTP manager method is the least friendly for beginners.
First you will need to download the plugin’s source file (it will be a zip file). Next, you need to extract the zip file on your computer.
Extracting the plugin zip file will create a new folder with the same name. This is the folder that you need to manually upload to your website using a FTP client such as WinSCP or FileZilla.
You would need to access your host through the FTP manager. If you do not have your FTP username and password, then contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask them.
Open the FTP client on your computer and connect to your website using the login credentials provided by your web host. Once connected, you need to go to the
/wp-content/plugins/ folder on your website.
Next, upload the folder you extracted from the zip file to the
/wp-content/plugins/ folder on your web server.
After uploading the files, you need to visit the WordPress admin area and click on the Plugins link in the admin menu. You’ll see your plugin successfully installed on the plugins page.
You need to click on the Activate link below the plugin to start using it.
Upon activating, you may need to configure the plugin settings. WordPress plugins come with their own settings which differ from one plugin to another so we will not describe them here.
FAQs About Installing WordPress Plugins
As a beginners you may have few questions about installing WordPress plugins. As the largest WordPress resource site, we have heard all of them.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about installing WordPress plugins.
1. How do I find the best WordPress plugins to install on my website?
There are more than 55,000 WordPress plugins on the free WordPress plugin directory alone. Many more are available as premium plugins. This makes it a bit difficult for beginners to find the best plugin for the feature they need.
We have compiled a list of all the essential WordPress plugins that most WordPress websites need.
We also have a detailed tutorial on choosing the best WordPress plugin where we show you what to look for when looking for a plugin.
2. What is the difference between installed and active plugins?
WordPress allows you to install a plugin and not use it at all. In order to use a plugin on your site, you need to ‘Activate’ it.
You can see active plugins by visiting the ‘Plugins’ page in the WordPress admin area. They will be highlighted with a blue background.
Plugins with the white background are installed on your website but not active.
3. Should I delete inactive plugins?
If you are not using a plugin, then it is recommended to delete it from your website.
4. How many plugins I can install in WordPress?
You can install as many WordPress plugins as you need. It is not the number of plugins that affect your website speed, but the quality of those plugins.
5. How do I uninstall a WordPress plugin
You can uninstall a WordPress plugin by visiting the Plugins page in the WordPress admin area. If the plugin you want to remove is currently active, then first you’ll need to deactivate it. After that, you can simply click on the delete link to remove it from your website.
We hope this helped you learn how to install WordPress plugins.
You may also want to see our plugins category where we write about the best WordPress plugins that you can use to accomplish whatever you’re looking to do. Each of those articles comes with step-by-step instructions on how to set up individual plugins.
Are you looking to install a WordPress theme?
There are thousands of WordPress themes available (both free and paid). As a beginner, you may want to try out a few of them on your site until you find the right one.
In this beginner’s guide, we’ll share detailed step by step instructions on how to install a WordPress theme. We’ll cover three different ways to install a WordPress theme, so you can choose the method that works best for you.
Before You Install a WordPress Theme
Installing a WordPress theme is easy but keep in mind that if you activate a new theme, then it will change how your website looks and functions.
If you are installing a WordPress theme on a new site, then you are good to go.
Install a Theme using the WordPress Admin Theme Search
If you’re looking to install a free WordPress theme from the WordPress.org themes directory, then the easiest way is by using the built-in theme search functionality.
The first thing you need to do is log in to your WordPress admin area. Next, go to the Appearance » Themes page and click on the Add New button.
On the next screen, you will have the ability to select from: Featured WordPress themes, Popular WordPress themes, Latest WordPress themes, search for a specific theme, or search for themes with specific features.
Clicking on the ‘Feature Filter’ button will allow you to sort themes based on features. For instance, you can sort themes by subject, specific features, and layout.
Based on your search, you will see a list of themes that met your criteria. In our case, we searched for the popular Astra theme.
When you see the theme that you want to install, simply bring your mouse on top of the image. This will reveal the install button, preview button, and details button.
Go ahead and click on the install button.
WordPress will now install your theme and show you a success message along with ‘Activate’ or ‘Live preview’ buttons.
Click on the activate button, and you’ve successfully installed and activated your WordPress theme.
Depending on the theme, it may add additional settings options that you may need to configure.
For instance, your theme may ask you to install the recommended plugins, download demo data, or review settings.
You can follow the on-screen instructions, or click on the customize button to start setting up your theme.
Install a Theme by using the Upload Method from WordPress Admin
The first method that we covered only allows you to install free themes that are available in the WordPress.org theme’s directory.
What if you want to install a premium WordPress theme from companies like StudioPress, Elegant Themes, Themify, etc.
Or what if you want to install a custom theme? Well, in this case, you would need to install the theme using the upload method from your WordPress admin.
Start by downloading the .zip file of the theme that you purchased from a marketplace or a commercial theme shop.
Next, go to the Appearance » Themes page in WordPress admin area and click on the Add New button at the top.
This will take you to the add new theme page showing featured free themes. Since you already have the theme you want to install, go ahead and click on the ‘Upload Theme’ button at the top.
You will be prompted to choose the zip file that you downloaded earlier. Select the file and click Install Now.
Once your theme is installed, you will see a success message along with the link to activate and preview the theme.
Click on the ‘Activate’ link, and you’ve successfully installed and activated your WordPress theme.
Depending on the theme, it may add additional settings options that you may need to configure either through the theme customizer or through a separate options panel.
Note: The theme upload functionality is only available for self-hosted WordPress.org users. If you’re using WordPress.com, then you will not see this option because it limits you.
Installing a WordPress Theme using FTP
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to take your skills to the next level, then you can learn about installing WordPress themes using FTP.
Remember, this is not for true beginners because it is a little bit more advanced.
First, you need to download the theme zip file to your computer. After that, you need to unzip the file.
This will create a new folder with the theme’s name on your computer. We downloaded the popular Divi premium theme.
Now that you have the theme files, you are ready to upload them to your website.
To do that, you’ll need to connect to your website / WordPress hosting account using an FTP client. If you need help, then see our guide on how to use FTP to upload WordPress files.
Once connected, you need to go to /wp-content/themes/ folder. Inside, you’ll see folders for all themes currently installed on your website.
Select your unzipped theme folder from your computer and then upload it to your website.
Once you have uploaded the theme, you would need to go to your admin area and click on Appearance » Themes.
You should see the theme that you uploaded listed there. Simply bring your mouse on top of that theme and click on the activate button.
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