What are PLUGINs
“Plugins” means extensions that are complement the functionality you need, such as adding features, gallary or slideshow to your site that don’t come built-in.
For example, you can easily install a free plugin for your websites to get functional displays related posts at the bottom of each article. You can use plugins to do everything from adding photo galleries and submission forms to optimizing your website and creating an online store.
There are over 25,000 different FREE plugins of plugins available for WordPress and similar to themes, there are paid plugins that bring unique features and useful to your website (price of these plugins depend on the complexity)
Note: If you are using WordPress.com you cannot install plugins.
How do I Install a new Plugin?
There are three different Ways To Install WordPress Plugin (For beginners using localhost, here we will talk about most common and easy way and will talk about FTP way in brief)
Search and install
To start installing plugins, you need login to your blog dashboard go to “Plugins -> Add New” and simply start searching by typing directly the plugins name or the functionality to “Search” box. For example, I am searching the plugin called “Akismet” which checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam.
Once you find a plugin you want, just click “Install” button, then you will see the success message with a link to activate the plugin or return to plugin installer. Now the plugin was installed but it hasn’t worked yet unless you activate it. So once you installed the plugin, you need to activate it by clicking on the “Activate Plugin” link.
Upload and install
The WordPress plugin directory doesn’t list paid WordPress plugins. It means that these plugins cannot be installed using the first method. That’s why WordPress has the “Upload Plugin” option to install such plugins.
First, after downloading the plugin (which will be a zip file) from WordPress plugin library, you need to go to “Plugins » Add New” page and click on the “Upload Plugin” button on top of the page.
Then you simply choose and upload the plugin folder, and the same as above method, the plugin will be installed and you need to activate the plugin to use.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
In FTP method, you download the WP plugin from the source, unzip and upload the plugin to your WordPress plugin library using FTP software such as FileZilla or Cyberduck, then activate and configure it. Whereas, in dashboard method, you need to search, find, install and activate the plugin.
Once you are done uploading the file in unzipped format, you can simply go to WordPress plugins folder under WP dashboard and activate the plugin.
The FTP manager method is the least friendly for beginners. However, this is very useful in some cases, your WordPress hosting provider may have file restrictions that could limit your ability to install a plugin from Dashboard.
Personally I prefer using dashboard search and upload feature and only in specific cases, I needed to use FTP method. Some time, because of some faulty of plugins conflicts, you might face issue while accessing your dashboard, you simply log in to your FTP account and disable that plugin by either renaming it or deleting it.
The most popular and useful plugins in WordPress (for free)
To save you some time, I’ve put together a list of the most popular and useful plugins that webmasters find useful:
#1 Contact form 7: It’s an awesome feature to have, as people (like you!) can fill in the form and send me an email without logging into their own email provider. If you want to do something similar, definitely get this plugin.
#2 Akismet: Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
#3 MailChimp for WordPress This plugin help you to adds various highly effective sign-up methods to your site.
#4: ReplyMe: Send a email to author automatically while someone reply his comment.
#5 Yoast SEO: If you want to make your WordPress site even more SEO-friendly, this plugin is a must-have. It’s free, and it’s awesome. You’ll be able to edit your title tags, meta descriptions and more, all from within the page itself – no more fussing with WordPress settings.
#6 Responsive Lightbox allows users to view larger versions of images and galleries in a lightbox (overlay) effect optimized for mobile devices.
- WordPress now only accept .zip format for WordPress plugins and themes upload.
- Whenever, you need to read the documentation before installing a new WP plugin.
Plugins are additional tools that you can add to your WordPress blog from third-party developers. There are hundreds of free plugins available that can do just about anything on your WordPress Website.
I hope this tutorial helped you know what plugins are and how to install Plugins in WordPress, you may also want to check out our guide on how to add new and manage users or other instructions in this series.
See you soon in next step!!