Installing and Managing Plugins

Plugins are one of the things that makes WordPress great. Plugins add new features to your website easily, without needing to write code or hire a developer. The first step however, is to install the plugin.

Before you start, please note that:

  1. You must have Administrator privileges to install plugins
  2. If you are on WordPress.com, you must upgrade to the Business plan or higher to be able to install plugins.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

Your WordPress website can automatically download and install plugins hosted on the WordPress plugin directory. The directory only lists non-commercial, free plugins.

  1. Navigate to the Plugins → Add New screen

    Start by navigating to the Add New Plugins screen. This screen shows you free, non-commercial plugins from the official plugin directory.WordPress menu – Add New plugins

  2. Search for the plugin

    You can search for the plugin name if you know it, or just type in a few keywords and WordPress will show you results from the official plugin directory.WordPress add plugins - Search bar

  3. Install the plugin

    Click Install Now. WordPress will now download the plugin to your website.
    WPForms plugin card - Install Now

  4. Activate the plugin

    The final step is to click the the Activate button. The plugin is now ready to be used on your site.

How to Install a Premium or Paid WordPress Plugin

Some plugins like premium or paid plugins will not be listed on the WordPress plugin directory. However, you can still install it manually by uploading the plugin file to your website.

Start by downloading the plugin file to your computer. The file should be in a zip format. If the plugin you downloaded results in a folder instead of a zip file, please adjust your browser settings.

WPForms website - download plugin
Download the plugin file from the plugin’s website

Return to the Plugins → Add New screen. Click the Upload Plugin button, then select the plugin file you downloaded.

Click Install Now, and WordPress will upload the plugin to your website. Finally click Activate to complete the installation.

Many premium plugins like WPForms require a license key to activate automatic updates and support. You can find the license key from the plugin’s website, or in an email that was sent to you when you purchased the plugin.

Some plugins like WooCommerce don’t use license keys, and instead require that you sign into your account from your WordPress website to activate the license.

WooCommerce Connect Account
Some plugins require that you link your account to your website to activate its license

WARNING! You must never install pirated / nulled / cracked plugins on your website. These are premium plugins that have been modified so you don’t need the license key. Doing so is a huge security risk that may allow hackers to gain control of your website.

Read more: Pirated WordPress Plugins Bundled with Backdoors

Managing Plugins

You can find all the plugins installed on your site from the Plugins → Installed Plugins screen. Here you can update, deactivate and delete plugins from your website.

Read our guide to Keeping Your Website Hacker-Free and Running Smoothly for more info on how to update your plugins safely and confidently.

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