How To Add A Plugin In WordPress Without Pulling Your Hair Out

The success of your website starts with adding the functionality and features of WordPress plugins. One of the first things to learn with your own website is How To Install A WordPress Plugin.

How To Add A Plugin In Wordpress Without Pulling Your Hair Out 1


How To Add A Plugin In WordPress

Get ready to see how easy it is to install a word press plugin and 3rd party plugins in this step by step guide for beginners—with images.

  1. First I’ll show you how to search the directory for free plugins and add them to you website.
  2. Next you will see how to upload a plugin from your computer to WordPress.
  3. Finally I’ll show you how to upload a plugin via Filezilla, a free FTP program.
Adding a Plugin from WordPress Search Bar

Finding the right plugin for the job prior to starting. 

Sometimes you’ll know the name of the plugin you want to add. When you do, just follow the directions below.

Other times you know you need added functions for your website, but not which plugin to use?

Let’s say I need something for social sharing, however I’m not sure what to use. I just Google “Best social sharing plugin 2017” (Adding the year to searches will help you get the most up to date results)

Using the Add Plugins page

Now, I go to the Admin area of WordPress—on the left side is the dashboard.

Hovering your cursor over “Plugins” opens up a sub menu. Click  “Add New” and you’ll go to the Add Plugins page.

Just insert the name of the plugin, or a related keyword into the search bar.  I’ve typed in yoast seo which you will see after this image.


How To Add A Plugin In Wordpress Without Pulling Your Hair Out 2


When you insert the name of the plugin you requested WordPress will locate it for you. The image below is what I got when I searched for Yoast Seo:


WordPress add plugins results page


The image above has the word active in the Yoast plugin display because it is active on this website. If it were not active you would see a button to “install now”— which you click on to install the plugin.

When it’s installed the button will ask you to activate it.

You have successfully installed a plugin in WordPress.

Configuring the Plugin Settings Page

Some plugins will have a settings page where you configure it to your preferences.

Beware that the settings page can show up in different places. Sometimes it will have a link to it in the installed plugins page. Other times you will need to search for it in the WP dashboard.

The plugin settings page could be listed at the bottom of the black menu bar, in Settings, or in Tools.

If you can’t find the settings at all, go back to the Installed plugins page. Now locate the plugin and click on View details. Then look around under Screen shots and Installation to locate the settings page.

If you still don’t see it look for it under settings and under tools in the dashboard.

How to Install a Plugin using the WordPress Upload Feature

As your own blog progresses there could be times you purchase a plugin from a third party and receive it as a download to your own computer.

Uploading it to your website is just as straight forward as getting plugins from the WordPress repository from your wordpress website.

  1. First thing to do is to download the zip file to your own computer.
  2. Next go to the same Plugins >> Add New page as before.
  3. Now Click on Upload Plugin at the top left portion of the page.

Upload plugin page


When you click on upload plugins this will appear on the page:

Choose File wordpress plugin page

Just click on the “choose file” button, and it will open up a window with your computer files to locate your plugin zip file.

Anytime you upload a plugin from your computer to this page, it must be a zip file.

Now, locate your plugin file in your computer files—click on it—and you will see the name of your file appear between the button and the “Install Now” button.

Click the Install Now button and WordPress will take of the rest. When it’s finished you will be on a page that ask you if you would like to activate or return to the plugins page.

Using FTP to Install a WordPress Plugin

Sometimes a plugin will be too large or your connection too slow to upload a 3rd party plugin that you bought. Either the provider will advise you to upload it via FTP or the WordPress installation will fail.

It’s time to download your free Filezilla software. Filezilla is an open, safe and free file transfer protocol that moves files from one computer to another.

Even though this page is at Inmotion Hosting, it will lead you through the steps of setting up and using Filezilla on most hosting platforms.

You can also Google this (replacing  “your own hosting provider” with the name of yours) how to use FTP your own hosting provider—and get the instructions you’ll need.

Once you’re all set up, open your FTP program up and connect it to your own computer.

Before you upload the plugin, you must extract the zip file to your computer.  It’s the extracted folder you want to upload via your FTP program.

On the right side of the program are your website files. Navigate to the wp-content folder and double click it.

red arrow pointing to wp-content folder inside of filezilla files


When you open the wp-content folder you will see a folder named “plugins”. There’s no need to open it.

red arrow pointing to plugins folder in filezilla



Now locate the plugin folder on the left side (not the zip file, but the open folder you extracted) .

Move your cursor to it and with the mouse button down, drag it over to the plugins folder in the remote site and let go of it. The FTP client will do the rest.

Be careful with this step that you get it in the right folder. When the “plugins folder” is highlighted, drop it in.

Wait until it says it’s finished. Close the FTP program and go to your WordPress admin.

Next you’ll need to go to your installed plugins page in WordPress and locate the one you just uploaded via FTP.

Click on activate, and there you go.

How To Un-install a Plugin in WordPress

Plugins can severely reduce the time it takes to load your website in a browser, and make your site vulnerable to hackers.

You’ll do yourself a favor by un-installing plugins you aren’t using.

  1. Go to Plugins >> Installed Plugins and locate the ones no longer needed
  2. Click on Deactivate
  3. Click OK in the drop down that appears at the top of the page

It’s done.

Keep Your Plugins updated

Hackers can access your own website through outdated plugins so it’s important to keep them updated at all times. You’ll know when any one of them needs updated due to red circles appearing in the WordPress dashboard.

When you see the round red flags appear just click on the item and you’ll be taken to a page to keep everything updated and in good working order.

Understanding how to add, un-install, and keep your plugins in WordPress is important to getting the most out of your own website and business.

2 thoughts on “How To Add A Plugin In WordPress Without Pulling Your Hair Out”

    • Hi Nicole Valentin

      Yes! You should keep all plugins and themes updated. Hackers and other malicious parties watch release notes, and as soon as they learn of a vulnerability, they start exploiting it. Update as soon as possible to reduce the time that your site is vulnerable to hackers.

      I have read that 83% of blogs that are hacked were not updated?

      If more than one plugin is calling for an update; update them one at the time, instead of using the bulk updater.


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