How to install a WordPress plugin?

Do you want to know how to install a WordPress plugin? After installing WordPress, one of the first things everyone wants to do is add a plugin to WordPress.

In this guide, we’ll show you three pre-checks, followed by three ways of installing a plugin.

IN THIS GUIDE:

A quick note before we start: WordPress.com users cannot install plugins unless they upgrade to the Business or Ecommerce plans. Check out this article to see the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

What is a WordPress Plugin?

WordPress plugins are additional software programs that extend and expand the core functionality of WordPress.

The scope of WordPress plugins is far-ranging. Some are small, simple programs, while others are larger and more intricate.

The scope of WordPress plugins varies significantly. For example, you can find free, simple plugins, such as:

And then, on the other hand, there are more advanced premium plugins, such as:

  • MonsterInsights – lets you track Google Analytics inside WordPress.
  • RafflePress – allows you to create giveaways, contests, and rewards easily.
  • Yoast SEO – helps optimize your WordPress blog for search engines.

Free plugins can be found in the WordPress Plugin Directory. Whereas premium plugins have to be purchased from the software vendor’s website.

3 Things to Check Before You Install a Plugin

3 Things to Check Before You Install a Plugin

Before you install a plugin on your WordPress blog, there are a few things to check to ensure that you’re choosing the right one.

You can find this information within the WordPress Directory alongside the plugin you want to install. For example, here are the details for the WPForms Drag & Drop Form Builder plugin:

wpforms-example 3 Things to Check Before You Install a Plugin

#1 – When was it last updated?

If it’s been more than a few months since the plugin’s last update, it might not be safe to install. Plugins need updating to remain secure and compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

In our example, you can see WPForms was recently updated 1 week ago.

#2 – What version is it compatible with?

Check which version of WordPress the plugin needs to function correctly and whether it matches the version of WordPress you have installed?

In our example, you can see Akismet needs WordPress version 4.0 or higher.

#3 – Does it have good ratings and reviews?

Make sure you read the reviews and ratings to see what people are saying. Sometimes you’ll find information that you may not have considered.

wpforms-reviews 3 Things to Check Before You Install a Plugin

In our example, you can see that WPForms has passed the 5,000 5-star review ratings.

You’ll find most plugins are safe to use, especially the premium versions. But these few pre-checks ensure you don’t install something on your blog that you don’t want.

Feel free to contact us in case you need some advice and guidance on issues that might confuse you.

Our support team is ready to help you getting started.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin via the Admin Dashboard

How to Install a WordPress Plugin via the Admin Dashboard

How to Install a WordPress Plugin via the Admin Dashboard

The easiest way of installing a free WordPress plugin is via your Admin Dashboard. This option connects to the WordPress Plugin Directory, which is restricted to free plugins.

First, go to your WordPress Admin Dashboard and click on Plugins > Add New:

plugin-add-new How to Install a WordPress Plugin via the Admin Dashboard

On the next page, you can find a plugin either by entering its name or the functionality you want. For example, you might want a “social sharing” plugin:

plugin-search How to Install a WordPress Plugin via the Admin Dashboard

After that, you will see all the relevant plugins listed.

There’s an option to view more details about each plugin if you need to check. When you’ve decided on the plugin you want, click the Install Now button:

plugin-install-now-1 How to Install a WordPress Plugin via the Admin Dashboard

WordPress will now install the plugin for you. Once it’s completed, you’ll see the Install Now button changes to Activate:

plugin-activate-1 How to Install a WordPress Plugin via the Admin Dashboard

Although the plugin is installed, you have to activate it to make it function, so click on the Activate button.

Now, in your Admin Dashboard, you should see a welcome screen for the new plugin:

plugin-welcome-1 How to Install a WordPress Plugin via the Admin Dashboard

You may have to enter some more details to complete the setup, so follow the on-screen instructions. You’ll see a new menu option for the plugin on the left-hand side.

Note: Sometimes, the plugin gets added to an existing menu. For example, you’ll find Akismet in the Settings menu:

plugin-menus How to Install a WordPress Plugin via the Admin Dashboard

And that’s it! You’ve installed and activated a free WordPress plugin.

Let us know if you have liked our post. Also, feel free to hit the share button and share with your friends on your favorite social network platform.

Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

How to Upload and Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

Premium plugins are not listed in the WordPress Plugin Directory. You’ll most likely purchase a premium plugin from the vendor’s website or a third-party marketplace.

Once you’ve purchased a premium plugin, you download the software in a ZIP file to your computer.

Note: You can also download free plugins from the WordPress Directory and install them using this option. But the first option is the easiest method.

Now, you need to upload your plugin to WordPress.

First, go to your WordPress Admin Dashboard and click on Plugins > Add New:

plugin-add-new Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

At the top of the next page, click on the Upload Plugin button:

plugin-upload Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

Next, click on the Choose File button and select the plugin ZIP file you downloaded to your computer previously:

plugin-choose-file Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

Once you’ve located your file, click on the Install Now button:

plugin-install-now-2 Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

WordPress will now upload and install the plugin for you.

Once it’s completed, you’ll see the success message with an Activate Plugin button or Return to Plugin Installer link. Although the plugin is installed, you have to activate it to make it function, so click the Activate Plugin button:

plugin-activate-2 Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

Now, in your Admin Dashboard, you should see a welcome screen for the new plugin:

plugin-welcome-2 Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

You may have to enter some more details, including a license key, to finish the setup, so follow the on-screen instructions. You’ll also find a new option for the plugin in the left-hand side menu.

And that’s it! You’ve installed and activated a premium WordPress plugin.

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Option 2 – How to Install a WordPress Plugin Manually

Sometimes it may not be possible to use the previous options, for example when your WordPress hosting provider has file restrictions or doesn’t allow automatic installations. In which case, you’ll need to install your WordPress plugin manually using FTP.

First, you need to download the plugin as a ZIP file to your computer. Then, you need to extract the ZIP file on your computer.

Extracting the ZIP file will create a new folder that you’ll need to upload to your website manually using an FTP client.

For the next step, you’ll need your FTP username and password. Your WordPress hosting provider will be able to provide these details if you don’t have them to hand.

Open the FTP client on your computer and connect to your server using the login credentials provided by your web host.

Once connected, you need to find the path /wp-content/plugins/:

wp-content-folder Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

Next, upload the plugin folder you extracted from the ZIP file to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your web server:

upload-folder Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

After uploading the plugin folder, you need to check if it installed ok.

In your WordPress Admin Dashboard, click on Plugins in the left-hand menu, and you should see your new plugin successfully installed on the plugins page:

plugin-check-install Install a Premium WordPress Plugin

Finally, you need to click on the Activate link below the plugin. Once it’s activated, you may have to enter some more details, including a license key, to finish the setup, so follow the on-screen instructions.

That’s it! You’ve successfully installed your WordPress plugin manually using FTP.

Steps to follow when changing hosting provider

Steps to follow when changing hosting provider

image001-29 Steps to follow when changing hosting provider

Steps to follow when changing hosting provider

Step 1: Order a new hosting account

  • Begin the hosting transfer process by ordering a hosting account from Credible Hosting.
  • Once your hosting account has been set up and activated you will be sent your account login details.
  • You are now ready to proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Download a full backup of your account

  • Login to your old hosting account and navigate to ‘Backups’ under the Files panel.
  • Click ‘Download or Generate a Full Website Backup’ under Full Backup. This will contain all your website files, databases, and email accounts (this can take a while depending on how big your files are).
  • You have the option to receive an email once your full backup is complete.
  • Download your backup file to a folder on your computer when the backup process has completed.

Step 3: Upload and restore your files

  • Login to your new hosting account at Freshspot Hosting by going to mydomain/cpanel (Use your actual domain name e.g. www.example.com/cpanel).
  • Use the username and password you received when you signed up.
  • Go to ‘Backups’ and select the full-site backup file that was downloaded from the old web hosting company to begin the upload process.
  • After the file is completely uploaded, the webpage will refresh and file-specific details will be displayed on a line-by-line basis as each file is moved into place. When this second page stops loading, the process is complete.
  • Locate the browser’s “back” button to return to the previous page and begin the database restoration process is pretty much the same fashion.

Step 4: Restore databases

For websites that contain databases, you will need to restore your databases.

  • The database backup files you have uploaded do not contain information about the usernames, passwords, and permissions for each MySQL database. This information will need to be entered within the MySQL Databases interface within cPanel.
  • The prefix assigned to each database within cPanel needs to cleared of discrepancies, (e.g. “freshspot_wordpress” vs “fs_wordpress”), the prefixes will need to be changed in the configuration file of each software application that connects to that database.
  • Add all of the relevant database users, passwords, and permissions, and then make any necessary edits to system files via FTP using the website’s IP address.

Step 5: Restore email accounts

  • You will need to set up the email accounts that you had at your old host to ensure you don’t miss any important emails.
  • Do this by moving your backup folders containing mail and mail user settings, these are located here:
    /home/USERNAME/etc
    /home/USERNAME/mail
    so, just uploading them, etc and the mail folder should recreate all the email accounts.
  • Confirm a successful restoration by checking under ‘Email Accounts’.

Step 6: Make changes to your DNS

  • Before taking this step please ensure that your website is working properly.
  • Preview your website using the server’s IP address that you received in the hosting welcome email you received when you signed up.
  • Once you are satisfied that everything is in order you can now proceed to change your DNS.
  • You can now proceed to point your domain’s nameservers to our nameservers.
  • This is pretty simple if you personally registered your domain.
  • If your old host registered your domain then you can ask them to change the nameservers for you.
  • DO NOT CANCEL your hosting account as yet

Step 7: Cancel your old hosting account

  • Nameserver changes usually take between 24 to 48 hours to propagate across the whole internet.
  • During this time your website will load from both your old hosting account and your new hosting account depending on which location you are accessing it from.
  • We recommend waiting at least 3 days to be sure that everything is working ok. If you are satisfied then you can proceed and inform your old host to cancel your account.