The first step after installing WordPress in your domain is to learn how to install plugins. In this post, we are going to see how plugins work and know about how to install them in this step by step guide. So what are WordPress plugins? WordPress Plugins are tools which are used to extend the functionality of a WordPress site. To explain more clearly, consider the following considerations here
- Server – Computer
- WordPress – Operating System
- PLUGINS – Additional Softwares we install
When we purchase a computer from store we will get it installed with the OS of the choice we like and then we will be installing the Softwares we need, the Softwares installed in the computer are user-specific. Similarly, when we purchase our hosting from hosting service providers we get it with WordPress installed (sometimes we have to install WordPress manually) and then the next step to develop WordPress site is to add the plugins which are again user-specific and may vary from website to website depending on the end product we need. So, wordpress plugins are used for each type of functionality, for example, Woocommerce to add E-Commerce functionality, WP Rocket to boost website performance, Elementor to get drag and drop builder, Rankmath to improve SEO factors etc.
There are plugins for almost all the features we need in a website, you name a feature and there is a plugin for it. WordPress is the most used tool for building websites and it has vast community and developers who continuously try to add new features with plugins which work according to the need and priority of the developer. As of this time when I am writing this article, there are over 56, 212 plugins available directly in WordPress directory, other than those there are several other premium plugins which are developed and sold by companies directly from their website instead of WordPress directory. There are also many plugins which are having only demo versions in the WordPress directory and to access the premium features we have to purchase them from the original author.
How to install WordPress Plugins?
There are three ways to install plugins
- Install directly from WordPress Directory
- Upload plugins to Website
- Upload plugins to cPanel
Install directly from WordPress Directory
Once you login to your WordPress dashboard, look for plugins option in the right sidebar, hover on it to display Add New and click on it to enter WordPress plugins directory
Then you will be redirected to the WordPress plugins directory as shown in the below image
Here is the place where we can search for plugins and install them directly in our WordPress site. If you know the exact name of the plugin you want to install then enter it in the search bar directly or enter the keywords related to the desired plugin.
Upload plugin ZIP file to install
The second way to install WordPress plugin to your site is to upload the plugin directly into the WordPress dashboard. This method of installing is used when the plugin to be installed is acquired from the developer directly or uploading premium plugins. Premium plugins do not list in the WordPress directory, they are to be purchased from the website/ developer directly and then upload it into your site. For example, bloom plugin from elegant theme has to be downloaded from your account in elegant themes and then it has to be uploaded into the WordPress site.
Head to Plugins >> Add New and check fo the “Upload Plugin” button in the top left corner of the screen
Click on that upload plugin button to see the upload tab in the same screen as shown below
Click on choose file to upload the plugin directly to WordPress and then hit on install and there you go the plugin will be installed for you.
Upload plugin ZIP file to cPanel
This method of WordPress plugin installation is used when there is any problem encountered with the first two ways of installation i.e directly install from the WordPress directory or uploading plugins to WordPress.
cPanel is a web-based control panel which is used to store all the website files and all the parameters related to website can be controlled and managed from here, each domain has its own panel which contains all the data of the site, like media, plugins & themes installed in the website. When we install a plugin/ theme or upload media into WordPress website It actually installs/ uploads into cPanel of website.
To upload the plugin via cPanel, login to Cpanel account and head to File Managerpublic_html/wp-content/plugins. This is the path where all the plugins are stored. Upload the ZIP file of the plugin into cPanel and then unzip it in the same path. The plugin gets installed in your WordPress website, get back to your site and activate the plugin.
How to choose plugins in WordPress?
As big as uses are there with plugins an equal amount of negative shade also happens to occur with the WordPress plugins. Many plugins are not coded perfectly and have a lot of bugs which makes the website work slow and bring down the performance. There is no limit on plugins to be installed in WordPress website, there is a misconception that higher the number of plugins installed, slower the website would load and bring down the performance. Even if there are 10-15 plugins installed in your WordPress Website which are coded perfectly and has no bugs would not show any negative impact on your website, but a single poorly plugin along with them would completely disturb the performance of the site and may even make the website vulnerable for attacks.
Choosing WordPress plugins is very easy when considered the factors to be considered which makes the plugin look reputable. The main points to be considered while installing a WordPress plugin is to check for the author, reviews, active installs, last updated and if it is compatible with the WordPress version you use. To check all these details click on the plugin thumbnail displayed in the WordPress plugin directory.
If the author is a reputed guy then there are chances that he doesn’t want to destroy it and will publish only quality WordPress plugins for use. Reviews give the real-time sure experience of users who are currently using the plugin or used it, only minds with high likely or unlikely impression would spare time to leave a review and chances are high we get the frank experience there, good or bad depends on each plugin. Checking the last updated date of plugins gives you an idea of the frequency of the updates given by the author of the plugin so that there will be no issue that the current WordPress plugins becomes incompatible with future versions of WordPress.