How to install a plugin on WordPress

Gecko Gully Web SitesI wanted to write some instructions for beginners to WordPress to explain how to add a plugin.  Note that this applies to self-hosted WordPress sites like those I build for my clients, not the free ones on WordPress.com.  I figure I will be wanting to refer to this often, so I am making it a separate post.  In this example, we will be installing and activating the plugin iQ Block Country.

What is a WordPress Plugin?

A plugin is a set of programs that will allow your WordPress site to do more than it could before.  The basic out-of-the-box WordPress system is great for creating a simple web site or blog.  But by adding plugins, you can make it an eCommerce site, a membership site – heck the options are endless.

There are free plugins available in the WordPress repository, which can be browsed and loaded right from within your admin.  Or there are lots of external sites that sell premium (paid) plugins that are generally more robust and have a larger set of features.  Many free plugins in the repository also have a paid (“Pro”) version available for purchase from the developer, with the free version being a trial or cut-back version of the main one.

How Do I Install a WordPress Plugin?

First, after you have logged into your WordPress admin, hover over the word Plugins in your main menu, and then click on Add New.

add new plugin

You will see a page that includes this:

install wordpress plugin

If you have a plugin (in .zip file format) on your computer that you want to install, you would click on Upload and find it on your computer then click Install.  But for this example we are going to install a plugin from the WordPress plugin repository.  So we type the name of the plugin we want into the Search box.

install wordpress plugin

And click the Search Plugins button.  Note that if you don’t know the name of the plugin you want, you can type some keywords into that Search box, and the system will find some that match.

In this case, the search found only one result:

install wordpress plugin

Click on the blue words “Install Now”.  This will pop up…

Are you sure you want to install this plugin?

Click OK.  It will install automatically for you, then you should see this…

installing plugin

Now, click on Activate Plugin.  This will tell the system you want to start using the plugin.  Once you do this, you will be redirected to the Plugins page that shows all your installed plugins.

You will probably have to change some settings for your plugin.  Since every plugin is different, I’m not going to even try to tell you what to do to set them all up.  If you are not sure, go back to the Install Plugins screen about (this one…

install wordpress plugin

…) and click on Details.  Then you should see a tab labelled Installation.  That should give you some more instructions on how to actually set up the plugin.

That’s it!