A large number of websites today are powered by WordPress but they are all unique in a sense. They look unique with the help of themes. But only having a different look is not enough. The functionality should also be unique to cater to different audiences. To extend the functionality in WordPress, we use plugins.
There are a large number of free plugins available for download and install at the official WordPress plugins directory. Those can be installed in any self-hosted WordPress website to increase its functionality and purpose. The easiest way to install them is using the plugins manager and installer present on-board WordPress powered websites. But in total, there are 3 different ways or methods that you can use to install them.
Method 1: Add New Plugins Directly from WordPress Admin Dashboard
This is the easiest and the most popular way to install new plugins to a WordPress website. Just use the on-site administration tool for direct installation. There’s no need for manual download and upload. It is all handled by WordPress.
Here are the steps:
- In the admin area, point to the top level menu that says Plugins and then click on Add New.
You will be shown featured ones with the ability to browse popular, recommended and favorite.
- Find the plugin that you want—use either the search box or browse it in the page itself.
- Once you find what you want, click on the Install Now button.
- WordPress will automatically install it and you will have to activate it by clicking Activate Plugin.
You will be able to see it in the Installed Plugin page. Depending upon how it is designed, it can be accessed using a new top-level admin menu, or from links in the admin like Settings, Tools, Appearance or even media.
Method 2: Manually Downloading and Uploading
This method is popular for those plugins that are purchased or downloaded -outside from the official WordPress directory.
Once you have a downloaded .zip file in your computer, follow these steps:
- In WordPress admin, go to Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin.
- Click on Choose File to browse to the downloaded archive.
- Click on Install Now to continue the upload and installation.
- Activate it and you are done.
Method 3: Using FTP to Upload to /wp-content/plugins/ directory
This method requires you to upload files using an online file manager present in your cPanel or other web space management console. You can also access the directories using FTP clients like FileZilla.
- If you have downloaded a plugin file separately, outside of WordPress—unzip it.
- Upload the folder to /wp-content/plugins/ directory using a File Manager or FTP.
Note: You can even upload the zip archive and decompress it online using cPanel File Manager, if it is possible.
- Once the upload is complete, in WordPress admin go to Plugins > Installed Plugins and you will find the new one in the list.
- Click on Activate and it is ready to be used.