Sometimes what is simple for some, it can be hard for others. So it’s always good to collect basic topics that are sure to help those who are getting started with WordPress; and how to install WordPress plugins is one of them.
They may seem obvious things, but with a usage share of over 23% across the web, users who use WordPress are diverse and heterogeneous, with a range of ages and experience diverse. That said; let’s see what the plugins and different ways we have to install them in WordPress are.
WordPress Plugins: use them sparingly
Plugins are extensions installed in our WordPress to increase some core functionality. Like thems, there are free and premium plugins, and they are very diverses (plugins for contact forms, SEO, ecommerce, forums ….,) Practically everything.
But it is important to only install the necessary, because if we have no control, we can fill our web with plugins, and this can directly affect the behavior of the web negatively impacting on the user experience, which is not good.
These plugins are installed on our server, specifically in the wp-content /plugins / folder. Important: we always talk about plugins for wordpress.org, so remember that for wordpress.com you cannot install any plugin as I commented in this comparison (in Spanish).
How to install WordPress Plugins: Ways to install a plugin
Ways to install a plugin are very similar to the installation of WordPress templates. There are three main ways:
– Searching and selecting the plugin we want to install from our panel Plugins> Add new. There we have at our disposal all the plugins from the official repository, which are all free.
– Uploading the .zip of the plugin via Plugins> Add new. In the same location we have an option to upload the plugin in .zip format from our computer. This is the most usual way to install premium plugins.
– Installing plugins via FTP: If some of the above methods are not ideal for you, you can also install a plugin via FTP. It is the option used by developers, especially in plugin development phases, to update the changes quickly.
Install a plugin repository of WordPress.org
This is the simplest and easiest way for the user. We simply have to access to our administration panel to Plugins> Add new. In this screen we will see the most used plugins, but we can also use the search engine to find the plugin we need.
Be careful! It is important to install the right plugin compatible with our WordPress version. Moreover, the time of the last update of the plugin is also important. If it takes more than two years, it is understood that the plugin is abandoned and the installation cannot be at all recommended.
You can also use the plugin tab “favorites”, and make your own list of plugins to keep them always marked. It is very useful when you have to perform another installation of WordPress using the same plugins. Here is my list of favorites (in Spanish).
Install a premium plugin
This process is very similar to the themes. You need to previously prepare the files. It will require the plugin .zip, and you must also ensure that within this file is a single folder, which is to be installed. This process is also applies to the plugins downloaded from the repository.
Important: install only plugins from trusted sources, this is the best advice about how to install WordPress plugins. Installing plugins downloaded from other routes than the marketplace, the repository WordPress website or the web of the plugin author is not recommended because it can damage the installation for other purposes: spam, surreptitious advertising or worse.
Once verified, we will click on the tab “upload plugin” to get to the screen where we will upload the .zip file.
Once uploaded the zip, the plugin is ready to install. When the installation process is finished, we can decide whether to activate it or leave it off. So if we want to use it, it’s time to activate.
In closing: Keep updated your plugins
An important issue is to keep updated your plugins, as they are often one of the ways through we can have unwanted accesses in our system. In recent days we found some vulnerability in well-known plugins. So it’s always important to look and update them as soon as we can. A good rule may be to check once a week, although with less frequency the better.
And remember, even if you have a lot of plugins, your WordPress is not going to be better. Quite the contrary, a site overloaded of plugins can reduce your performance and decrease the site speed so important for SEO. So now you know, think before installing. 😉