3 Different Ways To Install WordPress Plugin

Different Ways to Install WordPress Plugins

WordPress is a full fledge software, and there are a couple of technical how to involve when you start using WordPress. Installing WordPress plugins is one of such thing that every self-hosted WordPress blogger should know. WP Plugin Installation can be done in two ways, but here we will talk about most common and easy way and will talk about FTP way in brief. Technically, WordPress offers two ways to install WordPress plugins on your blog:

  • Search and install
  • Upload and install
  • FTP
In FTP method, you upload the plugin using a FTP software such as FileZilla or Cyberduck, and activate and configure it. Whereas, in dashboard method, you search, find, install and activate the plugin.

Search and Install Plugin from WordPress Dashboard:

WordPress dashboard is one of the easiest ways to search, find and install WordPress plugin. If you know the name of the plugin, you can directly search from the dashboard and install it. Login to your blog dashboard and click on Plugins >Add new. You will see a screen like this and for example sake, we will install WP optimize plugin. So, in this case, I searched for plugin WP optimize, and I got following results:

Install new WordPress plugin

If you are searching about any new plugin, you can click on Details to see more information about that plugin. Make sure to see the compatibility score with your version of the plugin. If you know about the plugin, simply click on Install and activate the plugin as shown in next image. If the plugin that you are searching for is already installed on your blog, you will get a result showing already installed in front of the plugin.

Install WordPress Plugin

So now next step is to go to the setting panel of that plugin and make all necessary changes. As a blogger most of the time we make a mistake by installing plugins, but we miss out on properly configuring the plugin, which makes it useful.

Tip: Whenever, installing a new WP plugin, make sure you read the documentation before installing.

Install WordPress plugin downloaded from 3rd party sites:


Upload New plugin

If you have downloaded WordPress plugin (Mostly premium), you can upload the .zip file and install it from WordPress dashboard.  Click on Add new plugin, there is an option to upload. Click on that and upload the plugin folder. Do remember, at this moment WordPress only accept .zip format for WordPress plugins and themes upload.

FTP method to Install WordPress Plugin:

This is another method that is very useful when you couldn’t install WP plugin using WordPress dashboard. You simply download the WP plugin from WordPress plugin library, unzip it and upload it to your WordPress plugin library using FTP software or cPanel. Normally, plugin upload folder us located under wp-content/plugins. Once you are done uploading the file in unzipped format, you can simply go to WordPress plugins folder under WP dashboard and activate the plugin. This is very useful for those who don’t have access to install plugins or themes from dashboard due to server restriction.

Personally I prefer using dashboard search and upload feature and only in specific cases, I needed to use FTP method.  Anyways, I assume if you just started with WordPress or if you planning to start with WordPress, this guide to install WordPress plugin will be handy for you. If you have any concern or question regarding WordPress plugins, Do let me know via comments.

Managing WordPress plugin is also easy, all you need to do is go to plugins folder under WP dashboard and activate or deactivate the plugin. Some time, after installing a plugin you might face issue while accessing your dashboard, in such cases you should simply log in to your FTP account and disable that plugin by either renaming it or deleting it. This happens, because of some faulty of plugins conflicts.

If you are completely new to WP or planning to start with WordPress, you should check out our WordPress guide. For quickies, you should read:

Here is a list of WordPress plugins that I use at ShoutMeLoud.  Do let us know if you face any issues while installing a WP plugin?

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Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.


COMMENTs ( 17 )

  1. says

    Recently i started new wordpress blog, and using free apostrophe theme so unable to see plugin in my dashboard even though i login as wp-admin for this blog. Any suggestions on this or is it that since it is free we wont have access to wordpress plugins.

  2. jagraj says


    I’m planning to start a self hosted WordPress blog relating to financial education. I want to ask whether is it required to have any knowledge of programming or using FTP for that? as I do not know much about these things.

  3. Saad says

    I was struggling with installing WP plugins a few days ago as due to some reason I was unable to connect WordPress with my FTP credentials and I had to manually install plugins using the FTP method. Thank you so much for the insight

  4. Sourav Ghosh says

    Hi Harsh. I faced some issues while trying to install some plugins. For example, when I tried to install easydigitaldownloads from WordPress dashboard, it gave some error like “Upload max size reached in php.in” . Can I upload these plugins through FTP? Actually I didn’t take the risk.

    I tried to search for the php.ini file using FTP, but couldn’t find. I edited one earlier while testing offline using Wamp. Any solution?

    Thanks for sharing so much valuable info. Learning a lot and learning fast.

  5. Sachin says

    Thanks Harsh…I have been waiting for some time to know more about WP plugins but you tell some plugins about who safe web site to hacker and spam ….

  6. Manish says

    Hi Harsh, could you please tell me that what is the best plugin to insert google adsense in my wordpress blog.


  7. jayaar says

    Hello Harsh,
    thanks a lot for this particular article. I have been waiting for some time to know more about WP plugins and their implementation.
    Your presentation has made me better informed about the same.

  8. KBharath says

    I prefer FTP method is easy to install some paid and premium plugins or themes because if they give any error while direct installing it will create a problem. so first i transfer the plugin/theme via ftp and then i will check in the plugin/themes section for that app if the app is there then i will activate and use it.

    • says

      @Kbharath That usually happens because of packing the file. Most of the premium themes keep the actual Zip file below one level as they add psd and other important files..!!
      In such cases, using FTP method is always good….Thanks for your comment.

  9. Tony says

    It’s great for a newbie, but nothing beats using a good ftp program. There are some really good (free) ones out there, Filezilla for example, that once you learn how to master is a total life saver.

    • says

      You are right Tiny , file Zilla if certainly the best. Though for installing plugin I prefer using WordPress dashabord. It is much easier this way.

    • Vikas SN says

      @Tony Ofcourse Filezilla is the best, but Somehow installing it from the WordPress Dashboard is much more easier.