How to choose & install plugins for WordPress
WordPress is very powerful and allows you to create an amazing website or blog. If WordPress doesn’t offer some sort of functionality you need, you can be sure there’s a plugin for it. Plugins add functionality to WordPress, and with so many WordPress plugins available, there’s bound to be one that’s exactly what you need. What should you pay attention to when choosing and installing new WordPress plugins?
Free & Premium WordPress Plugins: What to look for when choosing a plugin
WordPress is set up to make it easy for developers to create plugins. This is great, because it has led to the availability of plugins for pretty much anything you can imagine. But at the same time, there’s lots of badly coded plugins out there. They usually are made by inexperienced developers just starting their first plugin and/or are plugins that just haven’t been updated in a long, long time.
If you’re looking for plugins and don’t know which one you should use, pay attention to:
- Compatibility with the latest WordPress version
- Last updated date
- Amount of downloads
Also check if the plugin is actively supported by the developer.
There are tons of free plugins out there, and if you pay attention to these things, you’re safe to use them. Sometimes though, the free plugins just don’t cut it for the functionality you need. You can find a premium plugin, which costs money. It’s still important to watch for compatibility, updates, and reviews for these, but if they’re from well-known plugin developers or sites, you can be sure these plugins will be actively supported and regularly updated. Some well-known places to get premium plugins are:
How to install & activate plugins from the WordPress Plugin Directory
In your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New.
In the search bar on that page, type the name of the plugin you want. A whole list of similar plugins comes up, but it should be the first one if you use the name of a specific plugin.
If you don’t have the name of a specific plugin, just search for the general functionality you want like ‘gallery’ or ‘pin it button’. Then go through the results to see which one seems best for what you want (again, pay attention to compatibility, updates, number of downloads, and rating).
There are links underneath the plugin’s name: Details and Install Now. If you click Install Now, the plugin will be installed (a browser alert may come up asking you if you really want to install the plugin, click Yes). There’ll be a new page with the installation of the plugin. Once it’s installed (it says Successfully installed the plugin [pluginname] ), there’ll be links underneath that say Activate Plugin and Return to Plugin Installer. When you click Activate Plugin, the plugin will be activated, and you will see the page with Installed Plugins.
How to install & activate premium WordPress Plugins
For Premium plugins, you’ll have a .zip file that you need to upload to install it. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add new. Then right underneath the Plugins title (there’s several links: Search, Upload, etc.) go to the Upload page, select the .zip file of the plugin you downloaded, and click Install Now. When it’s installed, a new page shows up and says says Plugin installed successfully. There’ll be links underneath that say Activate Plugin and Return to Plugin Installer. When you click Activate Plugin, the plugin is activated, and you will see the page with Installed Plugins.
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