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How to Install a WordPress Plugin – Step by Step for Beginners

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How to Install a WordPress Plugin – Step by Step for Beginners

After installing WordPress, the first thing every beginner needs to learn is how to install a WordPress plugin. Plugins allow you to add new features to WordPress such as add a gallery, slideshow, etc. There are thousands of free and paid plugins available for WordPress. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to install a WordPress plugin.

How to Install a Plugin in WordPress

Before You Start

If you are using, then you cannot install plugins.

We often get complains from users saying that they can’t see the plugins menu in their WordPress dashboard. It is because you are using, which has its limitations.

In order to use plugins, you will need to use self-hosted (See the differences between self hosted vs

If you want to switch from to, then read our tutorial on how to properly move from to

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

To make it easy, we have created a video tutorial on how to install a WordPress plugin that you can watch below.

However if you just want to follow text-instructions, then you can follow our step by step tutorial on how to install a WordPress plugin.

We have covered all three methods: installing a WordPress plugin using search, uploading a WordPress plugin, and manually installing a WordPress plugin using FTP.

Install a Plugin using WordPress Plugin Search

The easiest way of installing a WordPress plugin is to use the plugin search. The only downside of this option is that a plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory which is limited to only free plugins.

First thing you need to do is go to your WordPress admin area and click on Plugins » Add New.

Searching for plugins to install in WordPress admin area

You will see a screen like the one in the screenshot above. Find the plugin by typing the plugin name or the functionality you are looking for, like we did. After that, you will see a bunch of listings like the example below:

Plugin search results

You can pick the plugin that is best for you. Since in our search, we were looking for Floating Social Bar which happens to be the first plugin, we will click the ‘Install Now’ button.

WordPress will now download and install the plugin for you. After this, you will see the success message with a link to activate the plugin or return to plugin installer.

Activating a plugin

A WordPress plugin can be installed on your site, but it will not work unless you activate it. So go ahead and click on the activate plugin link to activate the plugin on your WordPress site.

That’s all, you have successfully installed your first WordPress plugin.

The next step is to configure the plugin settings. These settings will vary for each plugin therefore we will not be covering that in this post.

Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload

Paid WordPress plugins are not listed in the WordPress plugin directory. These plugins cannot be installed using the first method.

That’s why WordPress has the Upload method to install such plugins. We will show you how to install WordPress plugin using the upload option in the admin area.

First, you need to download the plugin from the source (which will be a zip file). Next, you need to go to WordPress admin area and visit Plugins » Add New page.

After that, click on the Upload Plugin button on top of the page.

Uploading a plugin from WordPress admin area

This will bring you to the plugin upload page. Here you need to click on the choose file button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer.

Plugin upload page

After you have selected the file, you need to click on the install now button.

WordPress will now upload the plugin file from your computer and install it for you. You will see a success message like this after installation is finished.

Activate plugin

Once installed, you need to click on the Activate Plugin link to start using the plugin.

You would have to configure the settings to fit your needs. These settings will vary for each plugin therefore we will not be covering that in this post.

Manually Install a WordPress Plugin using FTP

In some cases, your WordPress hosting provider may have file restrictions that could limit your ability to install a plugin from the admin area.

In this situation, your best bet is to install the plugin manually using FTP.

The FTP manager method is the least friendly for beginners.

First you will need to download the plugin’s source file (it will be a zip file). Next, you need to extract the zip file on your computer.

Extracting the plugin zip file will create a new folder with the same name. This is the folder that you need to manually upload to your website using a FTP client.

You would need to access your host through the FTP manager. If you do not have your FTP username and password, then contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask them.

Open the FTP client on your computer and connect to your website using the login credentials provided by your web host. Once connected, you need to access the path /wp-content/plugins/

Next, upload the folder you extracted from the zip file to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your web server.

Uploading a WordPress plugin files using FTP

After uploading the files, you need to visit the WordPress admin area and click on the Plugins link in the admin menu. You will see your plugin successfully installed on the plugins page.

Installed plugins

You need to click on the Activate link below the plugin. Upon activating, you may need to configure the plugin settings. WordPress plugins come with their own settings which differ from one plugin to another so we will not describe them here.

We hope this helped you learn how to install WordPress plugins. You may also want to see our plugins category where we write about the best WordPress plugins that you can use to accomplish whatever you’re looking to do. Each of those articles come with step-by-step instructions on how to setup individual plugins.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Keith says:

    I would like to ask for help on plugins. I’m new to this area and I’m currently taking an online course. However, I haven’t gotten an answer from them yet.

    I’m trying to activate/add my first plugin. I understand a plugin can be 1 file. In my case it’s a php file and its contents is just comments at this point.

    When I go to plugins in my admin site I dont see the file. so I’ve tried using the ‘add new’ link and I proceed to upload the file both as a singe file and as a zip file and here are the errors I get:

    Unpacking the package…

    Installing the plugin…

    The package could not be installed. No valid plugins were found.

    Plugin install failed.

    OR i get this error:

    Unpacking the package…

    The package could not be installed. PCLZIP_ERR_BAD_FORMAT (-10) : Unable to find End of Central Dir Record signature

    I’ve installed XAMPP and WordPress on my local host

    Why am i getting these errors and how do I correct it?

    How do I add my plugins that I develop myself to my site? I’m using my localhost with XAMPP to do testing

  2. Valerie says:

    Can you still install plugins on a template/theme you have already downloaded?

  3. Tess says:

    I also cannot see the plug-in menu on my dashboard. I’ve recently moved from to .net (which, I’ve been told, is essentially the same as .org, right?) How do I fix this? My site has not been hacked or anything.
    Thank you.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      If you cannot see the plugins menu, then most probably your site is still redirecting you to the dashboard. It is also possible that your site is still hosted with and you just added a domain name to your existing blog.

  4. Rajat insa says:

    i downloaded few slider plugins and activated.

    .where i place the shortcode ?.Thereby i can see the plugin in page div.

    Please help

  5. Randall says:

    Hi – I followed your tutorial on how to dump for

    I hosted my site on and downloaded wordpress on bluest (per another one of your tutorials… Thanks!)

    But now i am logging into wordpress as an admin through the bluehost cPanel and still no plugging tab showing on my dashboard… any ideas what I could have done wrong?

  6. John says:

    I do NOT have a “plugins” menu item between Appearance and Users! Why not?



    PS So how can and WHERE do *I* install any WP plugins?

  7. Mike says:

    I installed the lite version and now I want to enter the contest for the full version but I don’t see where. I tried putting in the address provided but it says “page not found”.

  8. Ingeborg says:

    Do you know if there are any way we may filter the search result? If I could filter out those plugins that are not updated to my version of WordPress, and sort by for instance grade or popularity, I might find the plugin I need!

  9. Neha says:

    I install plugin, but how can access it on wordpress theme or page or post.
    plugin name is easy randome quotes. How codes write and where write for calling this plugin.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Please refer to plugin’s page on, or plugin’s website for instructions.

  10. Luis Montes de Oca says:

    After upgrade wordpress its looking for and showing this errors:

  11. Nadia says:

    I don’t have the plugin option on my dashboard. Not sure how to work around that. Any ideas?

  12. Rachel says:

    I’ve installed and activated a plugin, but it’s not popping up on my dashboard the way others have, nor is it listed under Appearance. I get the sense I somehow need to register it in functions.php the same way I registered the nav menu, but I just can’t figure out what functions I need to call. Are there any general guidelines about how to start using a plugin that doesn’t appear on the dashboard after it’s been activated? Thanks!

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      No, you do not need to register a plugin anywhere. Not all plugins will add menu items into your WordPress admin bar. If there is a settings page for the plugin you are using then the most like position for it is under the Settings menu. Check the plugin’s website for screenshots.

  13. anilina says:

    I am new sto wordpress. i downloaded few slider plugins and activated.
    But how i can enable it on my favorite pages?

    it’s showing suggestions like below. where i have to keep this code?

    Add this Short code [display_fade_slider] from your page.

    For template

    • Ravi Verma says:

      Dear Anilina

      Add the given short code by the slider plugin into that page where you want to show the slider. Go to post or page> click on Edit > Paste it. Now it depends on you.

      Thanks and Regards

  14. Roxana says:

    How can install a plugin in wordpress for android i have not access to PC?

  15. C. Morway says:

    Hello, thank you for the step-by-step instructions. Unfortunately, I also do not have the “Add New” plugin as an option, and I am working from a site. My site has recently been hacked and I’m wondering if this has anything to do with it. I wanted to download the Sucuri scanner plugin, but I can’t do that without the plugin menu.

    Could you point me in the right direction to get this functionality back?


  16. muthu says:

    i like this how to add plugin details

  17. Edward Foye says:

    im confused becuase on my dashboard, I don”t see plug in as a option.

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