Before we jump into how to install a WordPress plugin, let’s try to describe it in simple terms. It’s an app for your website; a thing that adds function. Whatever function or action your website does not perform, can be borrowed from a plugin by simply installing it.
If for example you wish to capture emails, book appointments or accept payments from a website that doesn’t do it on its own, you can install a plugin to do that. But the second you uninstall that plugin, its function will disappear.
And that’s not all.
Installing Plugins Is Not Without Risk
Some Plugins May Conflict With Each Other
When you install 2 plugins that do not agree with each other, it is possible for one to stop working. That’s why whenever you notice your website stopped doing something it used to, one place to look at is the last plugin you installed. Often, by simply disabling that plugin you will return everything to normal.
The Wrong Plugins Can Slow Your Website Down
We agreed above that plugins perform actions. To perform those actions, your plugins have to communicate with your servers, as well as read their own instructions on how they should look and operate, and make a bunch of requests to various sources.
All that takes time. And when its too much time, your web pages load slowly and send customers away.
The solution? It is important to only install plugins that are coded not to add too much time onto your load time. That is, plugins that do not make too many external requests or load up your database, and more. To learn the specifics about how to recognise them, read this article. Alternatively, if a plugin significantly slows down your pages, consider using a different one.
Vulnerable Plugins Pose a Security Risk
A little over half of all WordPress security issues come from vulnerable plugins. That is, plugins that are either:
- Outdated – and therefore not checked for security issues anymore.
- From non-reputable sources – these are sometimes modified by hackers to contain malicious code.
How To Reduce Your Plugin Security Risks
- Update your plugins as soon as an update is available (a notification circle will appear next to your plugins link).
- Only install plugins from the WordPress directory or reputable companies.
- Avoid Nulled/Free versions of premium plugins.
- Favour plugins with higher ratings.
- Look for plugins with high active installs.
- Only install plugins that are “compatible with your version of wordpress“.
- Uninstall plugins you do not use.
How To Install A WordPress Plugin
There are two methods:
- Through the WordPress plugin directory
- By uploading your plugin file to your website.
Method 1: Installation Through The WordPress Plugin Directory
- Within your dashboard, go to “Plugins” then “Add new“
- In the plugin search bar, insert the plugin you are looking for (for example, “Contact Form 7”)
- Locate your plugin of interest and click on “Install now“
- Once installed, click on “Activate“
- At this point, your plugin is active and visible in your installed plugins window (“Plugins” > “Installed plugins”). You may exit the window or click on “Settings” to edit your preferences.
Method 2: Installation By Upload
- Visit Google Search and enter the name of the plugin you’re looking for (e.g: Contact form 7).
- Choose the wordpress.org result (You could go through the developper’s website too!).
- On the plugin’s WordPress.org page, pay review the description and check for quality (using the guideline above).
- Locate, then click the “Download” button (usually at the top right corner of the page).
- Remember where your plugin is in your computer.
- In your dashboard, go to “Plugins” > “Add New“.
- Click “Upload Plugin” and in the next window, click on “Choose File“.
- After you select your previously downloaded plugin, click on “Open“, then “Install Now“.
- Once the plugin is installed successfully, click on the “Activate Plugin” button.
- You’re done!