Installing WordPress Plugins: The Beginner’s Guide (2019)

After you set up WordPress, you will very soon want to install WordPress plugins. Plugins expand the functionality of your WordPress site in every conceivable way.

Everything is possible, from a simple contact form to an interactive menu.

Before installation

You don’t need any technical knowledge to install a WordPress plugin. Before you start, you should go through the following checklist.

  1. Make sure your user is an admin of your site.

    Your WordPress user has the required rights if you use the side menu bar of your WordPress backend plugins see menu item.

  2. Make sure your WordPress installation is not on WordPress.com.

    In a self-hosted WordPress installation, which you can get from almost any German web host, you can install plugins without restrictions.

    However, if your site is on WordPress.com, you may not be able to. Even as an administrator, you will plugins Menu item then can not see.

Install a plugin via the WordPress plugin search

You can use the plugin search to install any plugin that is offered in the WordPress plugin directory for free.

You can find the search in your WordPress backend under the Plugin » Install menu item.

You are now on the Add Plugins page. In the right corner you will find a search field with three filter options:

  1. keyword
    Keywords include any search term, such as “Yoast SEO”.
  2. author
    If you know the author of a plugin, you can search by its name.
  3. keyword
    Authors can tag plugins with additional tags. These are not translated, which is why you will hardly get any hits with German search terms.

All in all, you will get the most results with the default keyword search.

Add plugin page - keyword Yoast SEO

Once you have found a suitable plugin, click on the “Install now” button. WordPress will then download the plugin for you and install it.

Add Plugin Page - Activate Installed Plugin

In order to be able to use an installed WordPress plugin, you have to activate it afterwards. To do this, click on the “Activate” link.

Congratulations, your plugin is now ready to use! From now on you can configure it as you wish. However, this process differs from plugin to plugin and is therefore not part of this article.

Upload a plugin via the WordPress backend

Wondering why you would want to upload a plugin yourself? chargeable WordPress premium pluginsthat you get from third party sources will be installed like this.

After a purchase, you first download the plugin to your computer as a ZIP archive. Then click on the in your backend Plugin » Install menu item.

Add Plugin Page - Upload Plugin Selection Box

Right next to the heading you will see the “Upload Plugin” button. If you click on it, a form will appear that you can use to upload the ZIP archive to WordPress.

Add plugin page - Plugin installation from file dialog

After installation, all you have to do is activate the plugin with one click.

The subsequent configuration differs from plugin to plugin and is therefore not part of this article.

Now you are ready to go and design your website according to your wishes. If you’re undecided about which WordPress plugins to install, take a look at the WP-Styles blueprint.