How to Install a Plugin on WordPress

What I find nice about WordPress is that it’s really easy to navigate, manage and update. The same goes for installing a plugin and once you’ve installed one once, you won’t need help again. It’s very simple.

There are a few ways to go about installing a plugin. First, we’ll go with the easiest and most convenient method, which is through the WordPress admin panel (recommended). If you’re having trouble with this method for whatever reason, you can also install via cPanel or FTP.

In these examples, we’re going to install a plugin called “Contact Form 7.” This will enable us to add a page on our site that will allow a client/visitor to get in contact with us. Keep in mind, these instructions will work for any plugin you want to install.

How to install a plugin via the admin panel

This is the fastest and easiest method to go about installing a plugin on WordPress.

Step #1

Log into your admin panel by going to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin

install plugin via wordpress admin panel step 1

Step #2

Click plugins on the left hand side. Then click “Add New” on that page.

admin panel step 2

Then click “Add New.”

admin panel step 2.5

Step #3

In the search box on the left-hand side, type the name of the plugin you want to install. You can be vague here if you don’t know the name of a particular plugin. For example you can search for: “facebook share button”, “wordpress security”, “contact us”, etc. In our example, we’re going to type “Contact Form 7.”

admin panel step 3

Find the plugin you want to install and click “install” then click the same button again, “activate“.

admin panel step 3.5

If you don’t know much about the plugin you’re about to install, you can click on the name or “more details” which will give you some information about it.

Plugin details

I would suggest you only install those with thousands of active downloads and updated in the past few months.

Step #4

On the next page, we’ll want to click “Settings” under the name of the plugin you just installed or by finding the name of the plugin listed on the left panel (in this case our plugin created a new tab called “Contact”).

admin panel step 4

On that page, you will be able to configure the plugin you just installed.

admin panel step 4.5

In the future, you can get to the settings page by finding the plugin on the left side of your admin panel or if you can’t find the plugin, check under “Settings” (a lot of them can be found here).

How to install a plugin via cPanel

This method is the second easiest way of installing a plugin since you most likely have cPanel to help manage your websites.

Before we start, head over to WordPress’s plugin section (here) and download the plugin you want to install. In our example, we’re downloading “contact form 7.”

Step #1

Log into cPanel (you should be able to reach it from www.yourdomain.com:2082 or www.yourdomain.com:2083). Once there click on “File Manager.”

install plugin via cPanel step 1

Depending which template your hosting company is using, this page might look different than what you see in my screen shot. Simply look for “File Manager” within your cPanel.

Step #2

On the next page, you’ll want to click on “public_html.”

cPanel step 2

Depending on how many domains you have on your account, on the following page you will want to click on the domain you want to install the plugin. If you are only hosting one domain, you can skip this step.

Step #3

Navigate to wp-content > plugins. Now you should be in the plugins directory. Simply click “upload” (top left menu bar).

cPanel step 3

Step #4

Click “select file” and upload the zip file of the plugin you downloaded to your computer. In this example, we’re uploading the plugin, “Contact Form 7.”

cPanel step 4

After you have uploaded the file, click “go back” (at the bottom).

Step #5

Right click on the plugin you just uploaded and click “extract.”

cPanel step 5

Then click “extract files.”

cPanel step 5.5

You can close out of cPanel now (we’re done with that part).

Step #6

We need to activate the plugin and how you do that is by heading over to your WordPress admin panel (www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin). After logging in, click “plugins“.

cPanel step 6

Then locate the plugin you just uploaded. In our example, we’re looking for Contact Form 7. Click “activate” under the plugin name.

cPanel step 6.5

That’s it! You’ve done it! Now you can manage the plugin you just installed by clicking settings or the newly created button on the left admin bar. If it’s not there, check under the settings option.

cPanel step 7

How to install a plugin via FTP

If for some reason you cannot install a plugin from the admin panel (which you can fix with correct file permissions/ownership), we still have another option, FTP.

This is already assuming you have set up an FTP username and password.

Step #1

Go to WordPress.org’s plugin page (here), type the name of the plugin you want to download (in our case we’re installing a contact form), and download it to your computer.

Step 1 install via FTP

After you download it, you will need to uncompress/unzip the file. WordPress cannot read the zip file. It will need to be unzipped before you can activate it.

If you don’t know how to unzip a file, you can learn how to do so here.

Step #2

Log into your server using an FTP protocol and navigate to the root directory of your WordPress install. The file path should look something along the lines of /public_html/yoursite.com or /home/username/yoursite.com/public_html.

ftp step 2

Step #3

Navigate to your plugin directory (wp-content > plugins). Here is where you will upload the plugin you downloaded to your computer. Remember to NOT upload the zip file. It has to be a folder (which you get after unzipping the file).

ftp step 3

In this case, I am uploading the folder “Contact Form 7” to my plugins directory.

Step #4

Login to your admin panel (www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin) and on the left side, click “plugins.” On that page, look for the plugin you just uploaded and click activate.

ftp step 4

You can edit the plugin by finding it on the left side of your admin panel (a lot of them are found under settings).

Questions? Ask WeldWP

I’m not even sure how many times I have mentioned the word “plugin” during this tutorial. Forgive me! And like always, if you run into an issue, comment below and we’ll work it out together. I hope your project turns out perfect! Thanks for reading.

WeldWP.com