How to Install a WordPress Plugin for Beginners

Last updated on December 05th, 2014 by Robert Abela. Filed under WordPress Security Plugins

As seen in our article An Introduction to WordPress Plugins, WordPress functionality can be extended by installing WordPress plugins. In this WordPress tutorial we will explain three different methods which you can use to install a plugin;  using the search option from WordPress Admin Panel, using the Upload option in the WordPress Admin Panel or using FTP to manually upload the WordPress plugin. If you are still in the process of choosing which plugin to installed, we recommend you to read our guide How to Choose the Best WordPress Plugins for your WordPress.

Note: In this WordPress Tutorial we will use the plugin Ultimate TinyMCE PRO as an example. Ultimate TinyMCE PRO is the ideal plugin for people who like visuals but are not used to HTML and CSS.

 

Install WordPress plugin using search in the Admin Panel

The easiest way to install plugins is by using the search option from the WordPress admin panel. Using such method you can only install plugins from the WordPress plugin directory. If you need to install a WordPress plugin which is not available on the WordPress plugin directory, refer to one of the two other methods in this WordPress tutorial, i.e. using the Upload option or via FTP.

WP White Security Security Tip: If you need to install a WordPress plugin which is not in the WordPress Plugin directory, make a background check about the developer and the plugin to ensure WordPress Security . If you need assistance in verifying if the WordPress plugin is safe, drop us a mail on help@wpwhitesecurity.com.

To install a WordPress plugin from the WordPress admin panel using the search option, follow the below procedure:

  1. Login to the WordPress admin panel using an administrator account and navigate to the Plugins > Add New menu option.
  2. Specify a search term for a plugin you are looking for and click on Search Plugins. In our example we will use Ultimate Tinymce.

Add a new WordPress plugin using the search option in the WordPress admin panel

  1. Once you submit your search query, a list of plugins which match your search criteria will show up. Choose the WordPress plugin which suits your needs and click on Install Now, which is highlighted in the below screenshot.

WordPress plugin directory search result in WordPress admin panel

  1. Once you click Install Now, the plugin is automatically downloaded and extracted to your WordPress installation. Click on Activate Plugin (highlighted in the below screenshot) to activate and start using the WordPress plugin.

Install WordPress plugin and activate it

Install WordPress plugin using the Upload method in the WordPress admin panel

This method is ideal for beginners who would like to install a WordPress plugin which is not available in the WordPress plugin directory. A plugin might not be available in the WordPress plugin directory because it is a premium plugin, or custom made plugin, or a non GPL plugin. Before you start, you must have the WordPress plugin files on your computer, which should be compressed in a single zip file. Then you can proceed with the procedure below:

  1. Login to the WordPress administration panel using an administrator account and navigate to Plugins > Add New menu option.
  2. Click on Upload and then the Choose File button to browse your hard disk and specify where the WordPress plugin zip file is. Remember that only ZIP files can be used to upload the plugin.

Upload WordPress plugin from the WordPress Admin Panel

  1. Once the WordPress plugin zip file is uploaded, the files are extracted on your WordPress installation. Once ready, click on Activate Plugin as highlighted in the below screenshot.

Install WordPress plugin and activate it

Install a WordPress Plugin using FTP

If you are new to FTP, we recommend you to first read our tutorial How to use FTP to upload files to WordPress. To upload a WordPress plugin using FTP, you have to manually upload the plugin files to your WordPress blog or website by following the below procedure:

  1. Download the WordPress plugin (in ZIP file format) and extract all the files. All the WordPress plugin files should be extracted under a single directory. The extracted directory name typically resembles the WordPress plugin name as seen in the below example.

WordPress plugin directory name

  1. Connect to your WordPress using FTP and navigate to the /wp-content/plugins directory.
  2. Upload the plugin directory including all the files as highlighted in the below screenshot.

Upload WordPress plugin directory using FTP

  1. Once the plugin is uploaded successfully, login to your WordPress admin panel and navigate to the Plugins > Installed Plugins node. As you can see from the below screenshot, once the plugin is uploaded to WordPress, it will show up in the list of installed plugins. Click on Activate Plugin to start using the new installed plugin.

activate a WordPress plugin from the Installed plugins in WordPress admin panel

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