How to install a WordPress plugin properly

in Software Development, WordPress

How to install a WordPress plugin properly ?

WordPress plugin are the main reason to become most widely use CMS (Content Management System). Plugin installation is very easy. That can be done with following methods.

  • Install plugin from WordPress plugin directory
  • Upload plugin from Admin dashboard
  • Manually upload plugin files via FTP

Install plugin from WordPress directory

WordPress directory is the official plugin manager in WordPress. WordPress plugin developers can upload their plugins to the store. It is very easy to install plugin via plugin directory.


1. Login to Admin dashboard
2. Then go to “plugin menu
3. Select “add new”

You will see following interface. By default there will be populer plugins comes in the top of the list.

But you can search any plugin in the directory using search bar in the right side top of the grid. Every plugins show their ratings and how many downloaded and developer details. By clicking on the plugin name you can see the more details of the plugin. Screenshots of the plugin interfaces, how it works, installation manual, reviews and versions etc..

WordPress plugin directory
WordPress plugin information view

4. Click on “Install Now” to install the plugin.
5. To use the plugin features “Activate” it.

That’s all you have to plugin will automatically install to you WordPress system with latest code.  This is the most recommended way to install plugin to the WordPress system.

Upload plugin via Admin dashboard

Some situations we may purchase plugins from another buyer or we me need to upload our own plugin code to the WordPress system. At that scenarios use upload plugin as ZIP file.  Plugin should be as a “ZIP” file format.


  1. Go to add new plugin page.
  2. Click on “Upload plugin” button
  3. Browse the plugin zip file or drag and drop to Browse folder.
  4. Once file selected click on “Install Now” button
WordPress plugin upload form

They automatically upload the plugin to the WordPress system and let you to active once uploaded completed.

Manually upload plugin files via FTP or Hosting file manager

Using FTP or CPanel file manager go to your website file directory. Navigate to wp-content folder. There is folder call “plugins” is the root directory of the plugins. All the plugins must have it is own directory inside plugins folder.

Upload your plugin files to the plugin folder.

WordPress wp-content folder
Uploading files to plugin folder via FTP client

Once uploaded completed the plugin will be visible in the installed plugin list. You just need to “Activate” it for use.

We recommended to use official plugin directory for installed free plugins. That is the most secure way to install a plugin. WordPress has more flexibility to change any plugin you have installed. But we don’t recommend to change plugin by changing source code.  WordPress has ability to change functionality of any plugin using hooks (Action and Filters). We will talk about Action and Filters in another post.  

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