Anyone who is getting started with WordPress needs to understand how plugins can benefit them and how to install them correctly to start reaping the benefits from them.

In this guide, we will be exploring what a WordPress plugin is and how it can benefit you whilst showing you a step-by-step guide to installing a WordPress plugin.

There are also times where it is necessary to understand how to uninstall a WordPress Plugin so I will also describe how to deactivate plugins and uninstall them.

What is a WordPress Plugin?

A plug-in is software that adds features and/or functionality to your website, whether it be to add a photo gallery to your website, or a social media plug-in that allows your visitors to share your content on Facebook or Twitter.

There are also the plugins that make it easier to get your content ranked with search engines using SEO (search engine optimisation).

There are a high number of free and paid ones available to cover any aspect you want to add to your website, but there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself before installing one as going for a free one does seem appealing but they tend to not come with technical support.

So, always check how long has the plug-in been in use and is it compatible with your version of WordPress, what is the rating it has been given by other users and does the support it offers respond to questions at all.

Plugins on WordPress.com sites

If you happen to have a free website on wordpress.com the you cannot install plugins unless you upgrade your plan to a paid one. If you do want more functionality in your site, it is probably best to transfer it to a self-hosted WordPress.org site. I use the SiteRubix platform, learn more here.

Step-by-Step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin

If it is a free plugin you can use the search function which will be described below. I will also cover how to upload a plugin as some paid plugins require you to upload it. This is relatively simple, but slightly different.

Using the Search function

Once signed into your administration account of your WordPress website, from the side menu you select plugins and select ‘Add New’.

adding a new plugin to a WordPress site

Using the search bar at the top right, you can search for your desired plugin. I am showing AMP for WP. This is a great plugin for making your website mobile friendly due to recent changes to Google. As more searches are being completed on mobile devices, it makes sense to make sure your site is mobile friendly.

Searching for a wordpress plugin

You can see it shows at the top of the search, it has had 10,000+ installs and is compatible with my version of WordPress.

The next stage is to click install, this will take a few seconds. After that the button will change from install, as per the example of minimal AMP to activate.

The button will change from install to activate

Now that is something key to remember, just because you have installed it doesn’t mean it is active.  Several plugins require you to complete some kind of setup, which will be unique to each plugin.

Now click activate, once complete your plugin is now installed and active on your site.

You can also do this from the plugin page, the example below shows how the option below is activate.

how to activate a plugin

The plugins page will show you the plugin, the way to know it is active is there is an option for you to deactivate it.

How to know you have an activate plugin

Installing a Plugin, you have downloaded

If you have downloaded a paid plugin, this will not show on the search bar, therefore you will need to upload it.

On the plugin ‘Add New’ page, next to the words ‘Add Plugins’ is a button labelled Upload Plugin.

how to upload a plugin

Click this button and it gives you the option to select a file, same as you would attach a document to an email.

The plugin you have downloaded will be a zip file, normally, and you select this file and click install now.

uploading a plugin

After this stage, you activate the plugin from the plugin list and you have now installed your plugin and it is ready and active on your site.

Things to think about with Plugins

However much plugins are great to increase functionality of your website, too many plugins or rather poor quality plugins that slow down your website can have a negative impact as visitors might get frustrated if your site takes ages to load and choose to navigate away.

Just something to think about when installing a high number of unnecessary plugins that could be slowing you down. So, that is why it might be necessary to uninstall a plugin. I had Google Analytics Master active, but then found that if I just added some code to the header of a site then I wouldn’t need it active at all.

How to Uninstall a WordPress Plugin?

Go to your admin area of your site and select plugins from your menu, click installed plugins.

list of plugins on a site

Underneath each plugin will be several options, if the plugin isn’t active it will display activate. If the plugin is active, it will display deactivate.

The first step is to deactivate the plugin. Click the word deactivate and that way it is deactivated, you can also then check if it has had an effect on your website. if you are replacing a plugin straightaway then the impact will only be for a minimum, but still worth a check.

how to deactivate a plugin

Now the plugin is deactivated you can either leave it there in your plugin list, in the case where you may plan to reuse it or you have deactivated it to review whether it is having an impact on your site speed before turning it on again.

Or you can choice to remove it. Once deactivated the plugin will now have the option to delete the plugin. You can always choose to reinstall it using the steps above later.

delete a plugin

Hope that you have found this useful? If you have comments or questions about installing or uninstalling a WordPress plugin, then please leave them in the comments below.

John

  1. WordPress is so awesome because of this awesome tool building a website and writing blogs is so awesome and while have and online business may present challenges at times wordpress is there to make your job so much more easy. Thanks for this breakdown of wordpress

    • Thanks Norman,

      WordPress can help you achieve anything you want your website to be, and what makes it better is it is so easy to use and get used to how it works for anyone wanting to get started with a website or online business.

      Thanks again

      John

  2. This is a clearly written post that is easy to follow along with, and it gives a very good explanation of what a plug-in is and how it is used. This is something that I would share with anyone who needed a basic knowledge of plug-ins and how to use them.

  3. Norman,
    Great post. I started reading it and about half way through I scrolled back to the top got a notebook and pen and read it again taking notes so many posts on the internet in the area of website development and working from home are useless hot air. This was very refreshing to get useful information from someone who is knowledgeable. Thank you for writing this and do you have a way that I could be notified of future posts?

    • Hey, thanks for the feedback. I am currently in the process of researching a good autoresponder to be able to have readers subscribe to the posts. So it will be shortly in place.

      But if you have any questions or need any support get in touch in the meantime.

      thanks John

      john@make-cash-from-home.net

  4. Thank you for this post. It makes it easy to understand what plugins are and how they work. Being a beginner it’s a bit overwhelming, but with post like this it takes me a step closer to understanding more on the subject. The fact you take the reader step by step is just awesome. Thank you once again, John, for this very informative post.

  5. Once upon a time, I have like 14 plugins running on my site. I thought the more ‘optimization’ I add, the better/more traffic I could get. After a year of not seeing any results plus several technical incompatibilities, I ditched almost 90% of them.

    Now I only have 4 core ones and spend most of my time building and sharing content. Knowing what different plugins do is great, but that doesn’t mean that you need to install everyone of it. Lesson learned.

    • Great Advice Cathy,

      Too many plugins can slow your site down, and knowing what a plugin does and the impact it can have is important.

      thanks again

      John

  6. Hello, it is just so amazing of how powerful and how wonderful wordpress really is, when I look at what can happen with this program it is just so amazing. you can build a entirely successful business from of the ground just by using this program. I have been using wordpress for almost 2 years now and I am loving it every step of the way. I am sure that you agree with me when I say that wordpress is so awesome, I am so glad that I got to find out about this program.

    • thanks Norman, it has all the tools for someone to start a successful business without the hefty price tag. it is so easy to use too.

      thanks again

      John

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