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How to Install a WordPress Plugin – Step by Step for Beginners

After installing WordPress, the first thing every beginner needs to learn is how to install a WordPress plugin.

WordPress plugins can be described as apps for your WordPress website. They allow you to add new features to WordPress like a contact form, slideshow, shopping cart, and more.

WordPress has thousands of plugins, both paid and free. This step-by-step guide will help you install a WordPress plugin.

Before You Start

If you are using WordPress.com, then you cannot install plugins.

Users often complain that they cannot see the plugins menu from their WordPress dashboard. It is because you are using WordPress.com, which has its limitations.

WordPress.com plugins cannot be installed unless you have upgraded to their business plan. On the other hand, you can install any plugin you want on your self-hosted WordPress.org website right out of the box.

If you want to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, then read our tutorial on how to properly move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

Let’s now take a look at how you can install a WordPress plugin to your website.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

If you are not interested in following text instructions then you can read our step-by-step tutorial on how to install WordPress plugins.

All three methods have been covered: uploading a WordPress plug-in, manually installing it using FTP, and installing it using search.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Install a Plugin using WordPress Plugin Search

The plugin search is the easiest way to install a WordPress plugin. The only downside of this option is that a plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory which is limited to only free plugins.

The first thing to do is visit the plugins >> Add New Page from your WordPress admin area.

Searching for plugins to install in WordPress admin area

The screen will look like the screenshot. Enter the name of the plugin or the functionality that you are searching for to locate the plugin. You will then see a lot of listings, such as the one below.

Plugin search results

You can choose the best plugin for you. We searched for WPForms, the best WordPress contact forms plugin. So, we click the “Install Now” button.

WordPress will now download the plugin and install it for you. After that, the ‘Install now’ button will be replaced by the ‘Activate button.

Activating a WordPress plugin

You can install a WordPress plugin on your website, but it won’t work unless it is activated.

This is it! You have now successfully installed your first WordPress plug-in.

Next, configure the plugin settings. We won’t be covering these settings as they will differ for each plugin.

Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload

The WordPress plugin directory does not include paid WordPress plugins. These plugins can’t be installed by the first method.

WordPress provides an upload option to allow you to install plugins. This article will demonstrate how to install WordPress plugins via the upload option within the admin area.

You first need to download the plugin directly from the source (a zip file). Next, go to WordPress admin and visit Plugins >> Add NewPage.

Next, click the “Upload Plugin” button at the top of the page.

Upload plugin button

This will open the plugin upload form. Click on the button to choose the file that you have downloaded previously to your computer.

Select plugin zip file to upload and install in WordPress

Once you have selected the file you will need to click the “Install Now” button.

WordPress will upload the plugin file to your computer and then install it for you. After the installation is complete, you will receive a message similar to this.

Activate plugin

To activate the plugin, click on the Activate Plugin button.

The settings will need to be adjusted to your specific needs. We won’t be covering these settings as they will differ for each plugin.

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.

This is where FTP is the best option.

FTP manager is not the best option for beginners.

You will first need to download the source file for the plugin (it will be in a zip file). Next, extract the zip file to your computer.

The plugin zip file can be extracted to create a new folder. This is the folder that you need to manually upload to your website using an FTP client.

Access to your host would be done through the FTP manager. If you do not have your FTP username and password, then contact and ask your WordPress Hosting provider.

Open FTP client on your computer. Use the login credentials provided to you by your web host to connect to your website. 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.

Uploading a plugin via FTP

After you have uploaded the files, go to the WordPress admin area and click the plugins link in the admin menu. Your plugin will be successfully installed on the plugins pages.

Activate installed plugin

To activate the plugin, you will need to click the activate link.

After activating the plugin, you might need to set up the settings. Each WordPress plugin has its own settings. We won’t be able to describe them all here.

FAQs About Installing WordPress Plugins

You may have a few questions regarding installing WordPress plugins if you are a beginner. We have all the answers as the largest WordPress resource website.

These are the top questions regarding installing WordPress plugins.

1. How do I find the best WordPress plugins to install on my website?

The free WordPress plugin directory contains more than 55,000 WordPress plug-ins. Many more are available as premium plugins. It can be difficult for beginners to choose the right plugin for their specific feature.

2. What is the difference between installed and active plugins?

WordPress allows you to install plugins and then not use them. You must activate a plugin to make it work on your site.

Visit the WordPress admin area’s Plugins page to see all active plugins. These plugins will be highlighted on a blue background.


The plugins with a white background are not activated but installed on your site.

3. Should I delete inactive plugins?

It is recommended that you delete plugins from your website if they are no longer being used.

4. How many plugins I can install in WordPress?

There are no restrictions on how many WordPress plugins you can install. The quality of the plugins is what will affect the speed of your website.

5. How do I uninstall a WordPress plugin?

The WordPress plugins page can be uninstalled by going to the WordPress admin area. You will first need to deactivate the plugin that you wish to delete. To remove the plugin from your site, click on the delete button.

Uninstall a WordPress plugin




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