This is a short little tutorial on how to install WordPress plugins. WordPress plugins can add a lot of specialized features to your site without you having to actually write the code yourself.

Plugins are great little pieces of code that can be installed with one or two clicks and can greatly enhance your website. When you first download Wordpress, you will notice that there are a few plugins already installed. Akismet, for example, is one plugin that comes preinstalled with WordPress.

Problems with WordPress Plugins

Exercise some caution when installing WordPress plugins. While all WordPress themes are written to be functional with plugins, themes and plugins occasionally don’t work. If you want to know how to install WordPress plugins, follow the tips below first to ensure that you have a trouble-free installation.

  • Make sure that your site has been previously backed up.
  • Be sure that you have the most up-to-date version of the theme you are running on your site.
  • Also be sure that you have the latest version of WordPress installed.
  • When researching plugins to install, make sure that the plugin is compatible with your theme.
  • If necessary, read through the documentation on the plugin BEFORE downloading and installing. You can do this by clicking on the More Details button.
  • Check that the plugin has a good rating and that the developers maintain the plugin. The More Details page also indicates what changes have been made over the life of the plugin.

How to Install WordPress Plugins

This tutorial presumes you already have WordPress installed and that you have an activated theme.

  • Log into your WordPress site
  • Click on Plugins on the left side of your screen. Then click Add New. You will then be redirected to the plugins page.
  • In the search bar, type in the name of the plugin you wish to install.  (Alternatively, if you do not know the name of the plugin, you can key in a few keywords in the search bar.)
  • Make sure the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress. You should see text that says “Compatible with your version of WordPress.”
  • Also check to see when the plugin was last updated.  It should be recently updated especially if there’s been a recent new release of WordPress.
  • Once you are sure you found the right plugin to install, click the Install Now button.
  • After you install the plugin, you need to activate it. Click on the Activation button on your plugins page.

Depending on the plugin, you may have to go into the settings on the plugin and configure a few things. After you’ve configured your settings, save your changes. Then check your website to be sure that everything is working properly. If there’s a problem that wasn’t there before you installed the plugin, chances are that the plugin is causing the problem. Go back into the plugins page on your site and deactivate the plugin. Then check your website again. If the problem is gone, then the problem lies with the new plugin you installed. You should then go back to the plugins page and uninstall the plugin by deleting the plugin while it is still deactivated. Note: you cannot delete a plugin while it is activated. Make sure it’s deactivated first. Also, delete any corresponding files that are connected to the plugin.

Also, try not to overload your website with too many plugins. In researching plugins, I have found that 25 plugins on a website is about the maximum you should have. Too many plugins can slow down your website’s loading time which means that visitors may not wait around and hit the back button!

In general, plugins don’t usually cause any problems and rarely would a plugin actually take a site down. But it is worth being cautious about installing them especially if you are new to WordPress websites. If you know how to install WordPress plugins, you’ll be able to quickly add all kinds of features to your website. Have you had any problems with plugins? Please let me know. I’d love to hear about your own experiences.

Don’t forget to check out my favorite FREE plugins. You can see the list by clicking here. You can find out more information on how to install WordPress plugins by visiting the WordPress.org site.

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