A WordPress plugin is essentially a bit of code that “plugs in” to your self-hosted WordPress site. In lay terms, that means a WordPress plugin is something that adds new functionality to your WordPress site or extends existing functionality on your site.
One of the benefits of WordPress is that enterprising developers have written tens of thousands of WordPress plugins that you can add to your site.
Plugins can make everything from small tweaks to massive changes to your site. For example, some plugins can even turn your WordPress site into a fully functioning eCommerce store, social network, or forum.
Or, they can also add smaller features like an Instagram feed. Some WordPress plugins don’t even have front-facing effects. For example, you can install plugins to improve your site’s performance or help it rank better in search engines like Google.
Okay, so the web is full of “get this plugin, get that plugin!” advice when it comes to WordPress.
Plugins indeed are one of the key things that make WordPress awesome, and you certainly shouldn’t avoid new plugins!
However, before you can reap the benefits that some cool plugin brings, you need to have the thing installed. Here’s the easiest way to install a WordPress plugin:
How to install a WordPress plugin that’s free
Start by going to your admin panel – http://your-domain.com/wp-admin/ and click on “Plugins” in the sidebar menu:
Then, click on the “Add New” button that’s at the top:
What you’ll see next is a page that shows you a short list of featured/recommended plugins, and a handy search field on the right – this is the one we’re going to use:
Input the name of the plugin that you want to install in that search field. In my case, I’m going to demonstrate how to install our Revive Old Post plugin.
Now, the great thing here is that you don’t even need to input the plugin’s whole name. For example, I’m just going to use “revive” and press the enter key on my keyboard.
Just a second later I see this:
The plugin I’m looking for is the first one on the list. All I need to do now is click the “Install Now” button. When I do that, WordPress is going to fetch the plugin and have it installed on my site. It works much like installing a new app from the App Store.
But there’s one additional step. When the installation is complete, I’ll see this: This is where I need to activate the plugin by clicking the “Activate Plugin” link that has just appeared.
At this stage, it’s done. The plugin has been activated, and WordPress will let you know about this fact through a small note at the top of the page:
How to install a premium / paid WordPress plugin
The process of how to install a WordPress plugin that’s premium or paid is a bit different. Purely because premium plugins are not available in the official plugin directory – the one you can access via the search option in your wp-admin panel.
So, the first thing you need to do is somehow obtain the plugin itself. This step you need to handle on your own. Most commonly, this involves going to a marketplace or a plugin store, and buying a copy of the plugin from there.
Long story short, as a result of your purchase you should have the installable plugin file saved as a ZIP archive. Like so:
I for example, have our own Intergeo Google Maps plugin to experiment with here.
Once you have your ZIP file, go back to your WordPress wp-admin panel, click on “Plugins” in the sidebar menu, and then on the “Add New” button:
Once there, click on the “Upload Plugin” button visible at the top:
On the next screen, you will be able to upload your plugin’s ZIP file straight to your WordPress:
Just select the ZIP from your desktop and confirm the upload by clicking on