How to Install a WordPress Plugin

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After you have successfully installed WordPress for the first time, the next thing you should learn as a beginner is how to install a WordPress plugin.

This plugin is a portable tool or feature that you can attach or remove as you like, such as contact forms, slides, tables, and more.

There are lots of plugins that you can use when using WordPress, ranging from free ones and some paid ones.

However, you are a new WordPress user. You definitely don’t know how to install a plugin because you’ve never done it before. Therefore, I created this detailed guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Things You Need to Know When Using WordPress

If you are using a subdomain of WordPress.com. You will not be able to install plugins.

There are some users who say they can’t install the plugin and need to upgrade to the business plan first. That happens if you use the free WordPress.com which has its limitations.

But not with self-hosted WordPress.org, you can install any plugin you want.

In this guide we will be using a private, self-hosted site.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

There are several ways that you can use to install plugins on WordPress. That is :

  1. By searching for it from the plugin menu in the admin area.
  2. Uploading a plugin to WordPress.
  3. Manually install WordPress plugins via cPanel hosting.

Let’s discuss one by one the methods above.

Method 1: Install Plugin Using Search from Admin Area

The easiest way to install a WordPress plugin is to search for it from the Plugins menu in the admin area. But what you can find here are plugins that are free and have limited features.

To install a plugin this way, you can click Plugins > Add New on the WordPress admin side menu.

Plugin directory page

Search by typing the name of the plugin in the search field. After that, a list will appear as follows:

Search for the plugin by typing the name

You can install which plugin is the best, or based on the rating of each plugin. Here we are looking for the ‘Classic Widget’ plugin and we select it based on the most ratings, then click Install Now.

WordPress will download and install the plugin automatically. Once done, you will see the install now button change to an Activate button.

Click to activate the plugin

WordPress plugins are already installed on your site, but they don’t work unless you activate them. So please press Activate button to start using the plugin.

Method 2: Install Plugin By Uploading it to WordPress

Paid WordPress plugins are not available in the WordPress plugin directory. So it is certain that the first method will not work.

That’s why WordPress comes with the Upload Plugin feature to install the plugin.

In this second method, I will show you how to upload a plugin in the WordPress admin area.

Make sure you already have the plugin you are going to upload and the plugin must be in a ZIP file. Next, go to Plugins > Add New.

Upload plugin

After that, a plugin upload box will appear. Here you have to click the Choose File button and navigate to the place where you saved the plugin to be uploaded.

Select the plugin to upload

Once found, install the plugin by clicking the Install Now button.

WordPress will upload the plugin file and install it on your website. After the process is complete and see the success message, click the Activate Plugin button to start using.

Click activate plugin

Method 3: Manually Install Plugin Via Cpanel

Perhaps this is a rare occurrence, as hosting providers have restrictions on the files that can be uploaded thereby limiting the ability to install plugins from the WordPress admin area.

In this situation, the best way for you to do is to manually install the plugin via cPanel hosting.

Please log in to your cPanel account, then open File Manager.

Click on file manager in cPanel

By default the WordPress installation that you did earlier is in the public_html folder. So navigate to public_html > wp-content > plugins. Then click Upload on the top menu.

Upload plugins in cPanel

A new tab will open, click Select File to find the zip extension plugin that you have prepared. You can also drag and drop plugins onto this page.

The upload process will run automatically after you select the plugin, if the installation is successful a green color will appear as follows.

Select the file you want to upload

You can close the upload page and go to the previous page by clicking Go Back to at the bottom.

The zip plugin file you just uploaded will appear. Here you still have to extract the zip file for the plugin to work.

Right click on the zip file or you can use Extract on the top menu of the file manager. If a pop up appears, click Extract File to confirm.

Extract the plugin zip file

After uploading and extracting files is complete, you can go to the WordPress admin area and check the Plugins manu. You will see that the previously uploaded plugin has been successfully installed.

Click Activate under the plugin name to be able to use it.

Plugin installed successfully

Those are some of the ways that you can use to install WordPress plugins. If you still don’t understand the method above, you can leave a comment below.

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