We have a recommend plugins list for all WordPress blogs, but we never considered that something essential was missing from that tutorial. That something was a step by step guide to install a WordPress plugin. Few of our users requested this tutorial via email, so in this article we will show you three different ways you can use to install a WordPress plugin in WordPress.

UPDATE 4/10/2013 – A lot of users have asked us that they can’t see the plugins screen in their WordPress dashboard. It is because you are using WordPress.com which has its limitations. In order to use plugins, you would need to use self-hosted WordPress.org (See this article that explains the difference between Self Hosted WordPress.org vs WordPress.com). If you want to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, then read our tutorial on how to properly move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

Install a Plugin using WordPress Admin Panel Search Option

This is by far the easiest way of installing a WordPress plugin. The only downside of this option is that a plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory. Only free plugins that follow GPL and all WordPress guidelines are in this directory.

First go to your WordPress Admin Panel and click on Plugins » Add New

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You will see the screen like the one in above screenshot. Type in the plugin name or function, like we did. Then you will see a bunch of listing like the example below:

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You will 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 link. A popup would appear on screen, asking if you are sure you really want to install the plugin:

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Click on the OK button and WordPress will download install the plugin for you. After this you will see something like this on the screen:

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Make sure that you click on Activate the plugin, now you have installed the WordPress 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.

Install a Plugin using Upload Method in WordPress Admin Panel

If the plugin you want is not in the WordPress Plugin directory for some reason either because it was a paid plugin, or a non-GPL plugin, then this option is the choice for beginners.

First you would need to download the plugin from the source (which will be a zip file), then go to your WordPress admin panel. Click on Plugin » Add New. Then click on the Upload Tab.

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You will see a screen like the one above. Browse the file and upload it (zip files only). You will be taken to the activate a plugin page just like this one:

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Make sure that you click on Activate the plugin, now you have installed the WordPress 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.

Install a Plugin using FTP Manager

If you are very new to web and have no idea what an FTP Manager is, then this option is not for you. The FTP manager method is the least friendly for beginners out of the three method that we shared in this post. You would need to access your host through the FTP manager. Access the path (/wp-content/plugins/) And upload files there.

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The above screenshot is of a FTP software known as Ipswitch WSFTP Pro. You can simply drag and drop plugin files. You must make sure that you upload the unzipped folder. Once you have uploaded, then you would need to click on the Plugins tag in your WordPress admin panel.

You will see the plugin you just uploaded. Click on the Activate button and you are done.

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We hope that this guide was helpful. This was created using the screenshots of version WordPress 3.9. Since WordPress is constantly evolving, we will try our best to keep this guide up to date. If you notice that there is something missing feel free to let us know.