How To Install a WordPress Plugin


January 30, 2010 | By: Adrian

As you might now, WordPress provides an easy and effortless way to extend your blog or website. Plugins do just that. It’s real simple, all you have to do is login to your WordPress site and go to your Administration Panel. From there you just click on the Plugs tab. Simply upload your plugin and activate it. Then follow the instructions on how to use it.

Now I know sometimes it may not be that simple. Even though WordPress developers make it as easy as possible,  there are some things you should know. Below I list some tips you might find useful when extending your WordPress website with plugins.

What You Should Know

Not rocket science here, just plain old bullet points for you.

  • Know before you install – Read the developers documentation on the website or the notes (called a Readme.txt) that come with the plugin.
  • Plugins require downloading and uploading to install – Some plugins come in a zip file and you should have an understanding on how to upload it in the Plugins tab or how to upload it to your website via FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Plugins are stored in the /wp-content/plugins folder from your website root.
  • Plugins may require modifying WordPress files and templates – Sometimes those really flexible or powerful plugins may require some modifications to your website theme files or even your web host. If you are using a plugin you don’t understand, it might be a good idea to consult your web developer.
  • Record modifications – Whenever you make changes to your wordpress theme files or plugins, you should either (1) create a backup before making changes, or (2) comment in the code where you made changes. This is good practice in case you have to go back and undo any changes you made.
  • Make frequent backups – If a plugin is making changes to your database or requires modifications to your content and files, you should most certainly make a backup before implementing the plugin.

Manual Plugin Installation

Here is the general process for installing a plugin. Remember, read the developer documentation and make a backup before installing!

1. Read through the “readme” file thoroughly that usually accompanies a plugin, or the website article from where you found the plugin. It is often helpful to print out the instructions so you can check off the installation steps as you complete them.

2. Upload the plugin to the wp-content/plugins folder in your WordPress directory online.

3. Make any changes to templates or files as required by the Plugin instructions including adding Plugin template tags.

Activate the Plugin:

1. Access the Plugin Panel in your Administration Panels

2. Scroll down through the list of Plugins to find the newly installed Plugin (if not visible, start from the beginning to check to see if you followed the instructions properly and uploaded the file correctly).

3. Click on the Activate link to turn the Plugin on.

4. Continue making any modifications necessary from the “readme” file instructions to make the plugin’s actions meet your needs.

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