4 Different Methods to Install a WordPress Plugin – Step by Step

I hope by this time, you have already learned to set your own WordPress Blog, if not you can follow the links mentioned below to set your website in WordPress. In the below-given parts, I  have covered tutorials on Understanding WordPress.org and WordPress.com, Setting up a new Blog, Doing Essential Settings after installing a new blog, and Installing a WP Theme. In this tutorial, I will show you how to install a WordPress Plugin using 4 Different Methods. 

So, I would like you to read the following tutorials if you still have not read before as these guides are prerequisites to this article.

As a newbie, you probably have heard about tons of free and premium plugins. But before we head over to installing a WordPress Plugin, you must know What a Plugin is, and Which plugins are needed and are important for your WordPress Website. 

Plugins are utilities which provide additional functionality such as add a gallery, slideshow, etc to your website/blog. The main benefit of the plugin is to add new features to your WordPress Blog/Website in order to extend its functionality without knowing a single line of code.

There are around tons of plugin available free to download and many premium plugins to add more functionality without spending much money. Installing a WordPress plugin is one thing that every self-hosted WordPress blogger should know how to do.

In this tutorial, I will teach you with step by step way on how to install a WordPress Plugin on your WordPress Blog. There are 4 different methods to install a WP Plugin which are discussed below in detail. You can use any one of the following method listed below which suits you or which you find easy to follow.

Method 1: Install a WordPress Plugin from WP Dashboard

This is the easiest way to install a Plugin on your WP blog. You just need to log into the admin section of your blog and navigate to Plugins > Add New. You may automatically install plugins here from the WordPress Plugin Directory or upload a plugin in .zip format by clicking the button at the top of this page (which we will cover in next method).

how to install a wordpress plugin

You will see a screen like the one in the screenshot attached above. If you know the name of the plugin, you can find the plugin by typing the plugin name or the functionality you are looking for. In the above screenshot, I searched for Contact Form and the WordPress Plugin Directory provided me with the bunch of listings as shown in the above picture.

You can pick any one of the suitable plugins that fit your needs. In this example,  I am going to install the Contact Form 7 Plugin by clicking on the ‘Install Now’ button.

WordPress will now download and install the plugin for you. After this, you will see the success message with a link to activate the plugin.

activate new plugin

That’s it, you have successfully installed your new WordPress plugin.

The next step is to configure the plugin settings. These configuration settings will vary for each plugin, therefore, we will not be covering that in this tutorial.

Method 2: Install a WordPress Plugin by Upload Option from WP Dashboard 

The method covered above allows you to install the free plugins that are available in the WordPress Plugin Directory. But what if you want to install some paid or premium plugins which are not listed in the WordPress plugin directory. 

In order to install a paid or third party company plugin, you need to download the plugin from the source (which will be a zip file). You need to go to the WordPress Admin area and visit Plugins » Add New page.

Next, click on the Upload Plugin button to upload your plugin’s .zip file you downloaded earlier to your computer.

plugin upload method

After you have selected the plugin .zip 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 to activate plugin after the installation is finished.

Method 3: Install a WordPress Plugin using FTP or Cpanel.

Usually, I recommend using the WP Dashboard’s search and upload feature for installing a WordPress Plugin or Theme. But 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 these special cases, it is required to install the plugin manually using the Cpanel or FTP Method.

Beginners or new bloggers will find this method less user-friendly. But I will show step by step procedure to install a plugin using Cpanel as well as using FTP like FileZilla.

Case 1: When you want to upload/install the new plugin directly from cPanel

First of all, login to your Hosting cPanel Account, and navigate to File Manager and the look for wp-content/plugins folder of your WP Installation Directory. Once you are in the wp-content/plugins folder, you will see a list of all the plugins which are previously installed on your WordPress Blog.

Now to install a new plugin, click on upload button and choose your .zip file.

uploading plugin through cpanel

As you can see (Step 2 in above screenshot) your new .zip plugin file has been successfully uploaded in the plugins folder. Now in order to use this new plugin on your blog, you need to unzip/extract this file. Simply, right click on the .zip file and click extract. Your new file will be extracted in wp-content/plugins folder. After unzipping the file, delete the .zip file.

Now your new plugin has been successfully uploaded in your wp-content/plugins folder. 

Next, go to your WP Admin area and click on Plugins »Installed Plugins.

You should see the plugin that you uploaded using cPanel in the list of the installed plugin. To use this plugin click on the activate button.

Case 2: When you want to install a new Plugin using FTP-FileZilla

To get started with the FTP method to install the plugin, you need to have an FTP software like FileZilla. Apart from FTP, you need to have software like WinRAR to unpack the .zip file. Because in this case, you need to directly upload the unzipped version of the plugin to the wp-content/plugins folder. 

extract plugin file

Now login to your FTP manager using your FTP (SSH) Credentials and locate to wp-content/plugins folder and upload the unzipped file of plugin directly. So in case, I will directly upload Unzipped folder to my server using FTP Client FileZilla.

ftp plugin upload

Once you are in wp-content/plugins folder, Right click on your unzipped file (shown in left) and click upload. 

Your new WP Plugin will be successfully uploaded to your plugins folder. Now it’s time to preview and activate the plugin.

Go to Plugins> Installed Plugins, and you will see a list of all installed plugins on your WordPress blog. You can activate the newly uploaded plugin to use its functionality.

So, I have shown you all the 4 different methods to Install a WordPress Plugin. If you have any issues regarding installing, activating and deactivating plugins, let me know via the comments.

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