How to install a WordPress plugin – A beginners guide

A beginners guide on how to install a WordPress plugin. Simple, uncomplicated and a step by step guide to help you master this everyday task.

Very early on when using WordPress you’ll find the need for plugins. In this guide we’ll show you how to install a WordPress plugin using the two most common methods.

What is a plugin and what do they do? Plugins are extensions to the basic WordPress content management system. They allow you to do much more with your WordPress website.

Method 1. How to install a WordPress plugin using the WordPress plugin installer

1. Hover over Plugins and select Add New. 

How to install a WordPress plugin

2. You will be greeted with the following page. It will show featured plugins but allow you to sort by featured, popular, recommended and favourite. Feel free to explore the different filtering options or search for something else using the search bar to the right

How to install a WordPress plugin

3. Using the search bar search for Yoast. Yoast will appear in both the popular and recommended filters. Yoast is the most popular SEO plugin available on WordPress and will help you in your quest for traffic from Google. Once entered it will automatically begin searching for your keywords and show the results as shown below. On this screen you can click on the author name which will take you to their webite, click on the more details link which will open a popup with deatails about the plugin, screenshots, how to install and configure, reviews and links. For now click on the install now button. It will begin installing

How to install a WordPress plugin

4. Once it has installed the install button will change to a blue activate button as shown below. Click activate.

How to install a WordPress plugin

5. The plugin is now active and ready to configure.

Method 2. How to install a WordPress plugin from a zip file

At some point, you’ll find that you have purchased a premium plugin and will need to install it on your website. Premium plugins need to be installed a different way as they are not hosted on the WordPress plugin repository. Thankfully, installing plugins from a zip file is easy.

1. Download the plugin file from the download area off the site you purchased the plugin from

2. Hover over Plugins and select Add New. 

How to install a WordPress plugin

3. You will be greeted with the following page. Instead of searching click on the upload plugin button at the top left next to the Add plugin text. The page will not reload

How to install a WordPress plugin

4. You will be greeted with the below screen. Select the downloaded plugin zip file and click install now

How to install a WordPress plugin

5. the plugin will upload and install. Once it has finished it will load the page as shown below. Click activate plugin

How to install a WordPress plugin

You have just successfully installed and activated a plugin. Now all that is left is the configuration of the plugin settings. As each plugin is different you will need to consult the plugin documentation to configure the plugin correctly.

if you happen to get an error stating that no plugin file exists this is an easy fix. Sometimes plugin authors will add the plugin zip file inside a folder which is then zipped during upload. Getting to the corect plugin zip file is easy.

  1. On a PC unzip the downloaded zip file
  2. Open the folder of the extracted zip file
  3. Begin searching through the few folders until you come across a zip file with the name of the plugin.
  4. Upload this zip file using the method above

Once you have managed to install plugins using both methods you have successfully covered our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin for beginners.

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How to install a WordPress plugin

Written by: John Cook

Author

About: As the founder of Swift Designs, WC Success Academy, Wiz Plugins and Learn Wp by Swift Designs, my goal is to empower website owners around the world to take full control of their WordPress powered websites. I've been developing websites for close to 10 years and have a deep understanding of WordPress and how it works. As an active plugin developer with several plugins in the WordPress plugin repository, this gives me a unique understanding of the inner workings of WordPress. My goal with Learn WP is to allow WordPress website owners the ability to discover the true potential WordPress has to offer in an uncomplicated and easy to understand way

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