How To Install WordPress Plugins: Complete Guide

how to install wordpress plugins

Not sure how to Install WordPress plugins on your website? Here is a guide on how to install WordPress plugins manually and through your WordPress dashboard.

By default, WordPress comes with only the basic features you need to get your site online. With plugins, however, you can add just about any feature you imagine to your WordPress site in addition to your WordPress theme.

Want to receive payments on your site? There are plugins for that. Want to turn your site into a social network? There are plugins for that too.

In essence, most (if not all) WordPress sites rely on plugins to function, which is why you need to know how to install a plugin on WordPress.


  1. What are plugins in WordPress?
  2. Can you install plugins in
  3. Install a plugin from your admin dashboard.
  4. How to install a plugin using the upload function in your admin dashboard.
  5. Manually install a plugin via FTP.

What are plugins in WordPress?

Plugins are applications that you can install into your WordPress website to add new features to it, and also extend it to perform more complex functions. Plugins come in different categories which include:

  • Free plugins: These are plugins that can be found on the WordPress plugin directory, made available to the public for free.
  • Paid or premium plugins: These plugins are not available in the WordPress plugin directory. You have to pay an amount to get them.
  • Custom plugins: If your WordPress website needs to have a particular feature, or you want it to perform a particular function, you can develop a custom plugin to meet that need, if you cannot find anyone that already exists.

Can you install plugins in

There are few limits to what you can do with plugins.

However, this is applicable to users with self-hosted sites. If you are on, then you cannot install them unless you are on the business plan, which costs $300/year.

Even then, there are limits on the plugins you can install as some are not compatible with the platform.

How to install a plugin from the admin dashboard

Go to your WordPress admin dashboard and click on Plugins, then click on Add New.

add new plugin

Note: You may search for the plugin of your choice using the plugin’s keyword or its author’s name.

In the ‘search plugin’ text box, type the name for the plugin you want. In this case, we are searching for a plugin named Preferred Languages. This brings up the plugin as shown below.

press install now

Next, locate the Install Now button and click on it to install the plugin. When the plugin is installed, the button label will change from Install Now to Activate.

activate plugin

Click on the Activate button to get the plugin activated. This will open the page with all the installed plugins. You can view your newly installed plugin from there.

view plugins in plugins page

Use the upload function in your admin dashboard to install it

To install a WordPress plugin, the first thing you need to do is to download the plugin of your choice. Then go to your WordPress dashboard, select Plugins, then click on the Add New button.


add new plugin on plugins page

In the “Add Plugins” page, click on Upload Plugin.

upload the plugin

Next click Choose File to select the plugin you downloaded from your computer.

chose file upload and install

When selected, click Install Now.

It will take some time before the plugin is installed. When it is done installing, you will see an Activate Plugin button.

install and active the plugin that is installed

Finally, click on this button to activate your plugin.

How To Install WordPress Plugins Manually via FTP

You can access your site files using FTP, and upload/install your plugins directly with our FTP method. Here’s how.

Download the plugins .zip file of the plugin to your computer and extract the files from the archive to a well-named folder.

Access your hosted site using an FTP client. In this tutorial, we are using FileZilla to upload a plugin named Featured Video Plus.

On the left side of FileZilla, search through the folders on your computer to locate the folder containing your new (extracted) plugin folder. In this case, it is in the Downloads folder.

extracted plugin folder - how to install wordpress plugins

On the right side, locate and double click to open the folder containing your WordPress site files. This is usually “public_html” folder.

open public html folder

Double-click to open the wp-content folder.

open wp content folder - install wordpress plugins

Then double click plugins folder to open it, and stay in this folder.

open plugins folder

Next, right-click on the extracted plugin folder in your local site on the left and select upload plugin using FTP.

upload plugin to the folder

The plugin will be uploaded to the plugins folder on your remote site. Finally, go to Dashboard > Plugins > Installed Plugins, locate the plugin, and activate it.

Yes! You have successfully install a WordPress plugin manually.


This tutorial has shown you the various methods to install WordPress plugins. Also, you can check our best WordPress plugins that we highly recommend for all sites.

Additionally, you can check our security plugins to secure your website. And we also highly recommend backup plugins so you can protect and backup your data.

When installing plugins, be careful to choose those that have good reviews, and that do not have known serious issues. Some plugins can break your site, so it is wise to spend some time learning about the plugin before installing. As a reminder, if you are making major changes to your site, whether with a plugin or some other means, it is wise to perform a backup first.

We hope beginners guide was helpful. Please, let us know what’s your favorite way to install your WordPress plugins in the comments below. For more WordPress tutorials, check our WordPress blog.