What is a WordPress Plugin | How to Install a WordPress Plugin?

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What is a WordPress Plugin?

A WordPress plugin is a software program that contains the set of codes written in PHP language used to extend the functionality of WordPress websites.

Plugins add extra features to a CMS or theme. It improves flexibility without adding code bloat.

You can switch on or off plugins according to the website’s need to modify, enhance, and simplify the WordPress website’s existing functions.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

Adding plugins to the website is very easy. You can select the free or premium plugins either from the WordPress plugin library or from third-party developers.

Adding Plugins From WordPress Plugin Library

  • You must be logged in to your WordPress dashboard to add plugins from the WordPress plugin library to your website.
  • Once you logged in, visit the Plugins menu and select the Add New option from there.
Add a WordPress Plugin
Add a New WordPress Plugin
  • Search for the plugin that you want to install. You can use popular tags present at the bottom of the page.
  • Click on the Install Now button to add it to your site.
  • Activate the plugin.
  • Configure the plugins with the settings required to perform it smoothly from your dashboard. That’s it.

Adding Plugin From The Third-Party Developers

If you want to add the plugin from the third-party web developers, which is not present in the WordPress plugin library, you can follow the simple steps.

  • First of all, download the plugin from the developer’s site. You’ll need to pay the charge if you want to buy premium stuff.
  • From the WordPress dashboard, select the ‘Plugins’ menu and then the ‘Add New’ option.
  • On the top-left corner, you will see ‘Upload Plugin’ next to the ‘Add Plugins’.
  • Select the ‘Choose file’ option and upload the plugin in the ‘ZIP’ format, which you have downloaded previously.
  • Activate the plugin and configure it as per your requirements.

Manually Install a WordPress Plugin Using FTP

In some cases, your web hosting provider may have file restrictions that stop you from installing a plugin from the admin dashboard. 

In such cases, you can use the manual installation method using FTP. This method is the least friendly for newbies and seems a little complicated. 

You’ll need to follow the steps given below to install the WordPress plugin using FTP.

  • First of all, download the plugin (‘.zip’ format file) from the developer company’s website. After that, you’ll need to extract the zip file on your computer.
  • Extracting that plugin zip file will create a new folder on your computer with the same name. This folder you need to upload to your website using an FTP client manually.
  • Here, you’ll need to access your host through the FTP manager. In case you don’t have your FTP username and password, contact your web hosting provider and request the FTP username & password.
  • Open the FTP client on your computer and connect to your website using the login credentials provided by your web host.
  • After getting connected, get access to the path /wp-content/plugins/
  • Now, upload the folder you extracted before from the plugin (.zip file) to the folder /wp-content/plugins/ on your web server.
  • After that, take a tour of the WordPress admin dashboard and select the ‘Plugins’ menu. You’ll see your plugin has successfully installed on your website
  • Activate the plugin you have uploaded, and configure the settings as per your requirements.

I hope this will help you to install WordPress plugins. 

If you want to know which plugins you should install on your blog/website, see 10 Best WordPress Plugins For Blogs [2021 Edition].

You will find the list of essential WordPress plugins in that article, which I regularly update with new content.

FAQs About The WordPress Plugins

1. Do I need to download the plugins to add to my website/blog?

You can add plugins directly to your website/blog from the WordPress plugin library by following the aforementioned method.
However, you’ll need to download the plugins if you are considering one developed the third-party authors.

2. May I need to update/upgrade the plugins?

Most free WordPress plugin plugins have basic functions and features needed for regular use. However, some plugins need to be upgraded to pro-level for advanced functionalities and premium support. You can test them before buying the premium versions. Updating plugins is good practice because you can get better features and bug fixes.

3. May I consider to buy the premium versions of the plugins?

Not always necessary. It depends on your requirement. If you are happy with the existing features, there is no need to buy the premium version. However, you can buy the premium versions to get extra features and priority customer support from the plugin developer.

4. Do the developers provide support for the plugins?

It depends on the developer or a company that developed the plugins. You can get support from forums and sometimes from developers for free plugins. While in most cases, the developers provide support for the premium or upgraded versions of WordPress plugins.

5. Do plugins increase the website loading time or slow it down?

The plugins boost your website’s functionalities and performance, but adding unnecessary plugins may drain server resources and make your site slow.
Use lightweight plugins or plugins that can perform multiple functions like Swift Performance or Rank Math SEO.
Remove all other plugins from your website, and you’ll see the difference.
Use Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to check the performance of your site before and after.
Read my post on How to Speed up a WordPress site with a small effort.

6. How Do I select the best plugins for my website/blog?

This question is asked frequently by most people, especially the newbies. When you want to select the plugins for your website/blog, define your requirements, and install only required plugins. I recommend ten or fewer in typical cases.
You have to install some essential plugins for your website, including SEO plugins, security, lead generation, and social media plugins for the healthy growth of your WordPress website/blog.

7. Where will I get the best resources for the plugins?

The WordPress plugins library is the best resource for your plugin need. These plugins are tested by experts and users too. You can see the user rating, reviews, performance ratings, and issues for the particular plugins.
You can search for the particular plugin in the official WordPress repository and install it on your site. However, some plugins are not available in the WP plugin library, and you need to purchase them from third-party websites.

Last Few Words

Installing WordPress plugins from the official WP plugin library or uploading them directly to your dashboard are easy ways to extend your sites’ functionality. 

Uploading plugins via FTP is another way of WordPress plugin installation, but it’s not beginner-friendly and requires technical knowledge. 

I suggest you use the first two methods whenever possible.

If you have any queries or feedback, let me know via the comment box below.

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