How to Install WordPress Plugins

1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.

2. Click on the “Plugins” tab in the left-hand menu.

3. Click on the “Add New” button at the top of the page.

4. Search for the plugin you want to install.

5. Click on the “Install Now” button next to the plugin you want to install.

6. Once the plugin has been installed, click on the “Activate” button.

7. The plugin is now installed and activated.

As one of the most popular content management systems (CMS), WordPress offers high flexibility and numerous customization options. It offers a wide variety of WordPress plugins, which allow you to tweak your website’s functionality. 

WordPress has its own plugin directory, which includes free and premium plugins. These plugins let you add various features, ranging from contact forms and custom newsletters to website caching and WordPress security. 

Some plugins can also alter your WordPress site to make it a functional online store with a WooCommerce plugin or an eLearning platform with LMS plugins. In fact, you can even create your own WordPress plugin.

In this tutorial, we will show the step-by-step process of installing WordPress plugins using three different methods. At the end of this article, we will also include a few tips you can follow when looking for new WordPress plugins to improve your site.

How to Install WordPress Plugins From the Official Plugins Directory

The easiest way to install WordPress plugins is by accessing the official plugins directory through your WordPress admin area. However, this WordPress plugin directory is limited to free plugin options only.

Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins -> Add New. Proceed to search the name of the plugin in the search bar. You can also browse the featured, popular, or recommended plugins by clicking on the provided tabs on the left.

Add Plugins Page on WordPress

For example, if you search for the MonsterInsights plugin, you will see it come up as the first result. Click on the Install Now button to start the plugin installation.

Wait for the process to finish and click the Activate button to start using the WordPress plugin.

Once you activate the plugin, check and configure the plugin settings by heading to Plugins -> Installed Plugins. 

How to Install WordPress Plugins Manually

Another way to install WordPress plugins is by manually uploading the plugin files through your WordPress dashboard. 

This method allows you to install a plugin that may not be in the official WordPress directory but available from third-party directories instead, such as CodeCanyon and Codester.

Before starting the plugin installation process, you need to first download the plugin ZIP file from your chosen source. 

Expert Tip

If you are looking for plugins, make sure you are downloading them from a trusted source. Plugins from untrustworthy sites may contain hidden malware or viruses.


Egidijus N.

Head of Cyber Security

Next, access your WordPress admin area and click Plugins -> Add New. Then, locate the Upload Plugin button at the top-left side of the page. 

Screenshot demonstrating where "Upload plugin" button is located

Select the plugin ZIP file from your computer that you want to upload, then click Install Now.

Screenshot demonstrating where "Install Now" button is located

Wait for the plugin installation to finish and press Activate Plugin.

Screenshot demonstrating how to activate plugin

Using an FTP Client to Install WordPress Plugins

There are several premium and custom WordPress plugins that require you to install them manually using an FTP client. For a beginner, the process might be slightly more complicated because you will need to learn how to configure an FTP client first.

Not to worry – the following guide will walk you through the process step-by-step. All you have to do is simply follow the steps.

First, extract the ZIP file of the plugin and save it to a folder on your computer. Keep in mind that the extracted plugin file folder will be the one you need to upload through the FTP client.

Then, connect your website to the FTP server. To do so, find the FTP details from your hosting provider. 

For Hostinger users, simply locate the Files menu on hPanel and click on FTP Accounts.

Screenshot demonstrating where FTP account button is located on hPanel

Once connected, access your FTP client – for this example, we use FileZilla. There, input your login credentials and press the Quickconnect button. Next, navigate to the Remote Site panel and locate the wp-content/plugins/ folder.

On the Local Site panel, upload the extracted plugin folder from your computer to wp-content/plugins/ folder on your server.

Screenshot demonstrating how to upload wp-content/plugins/ folder

Once the transfer is complete, the WordPress plugin will be installed on your site. 

To activate the plugin, you need to access your WordPress dashboard. Go to the plugin section -> Installed Plugins, locate the plugin, and click Activate.

Activating Pre-Installed Plugins in hPanel

Hostinger provides a one-click WordPress installation with every shared, cloud and WordPress web hosting plan. When you install WordPress through this auto-installer, you will get several pre-installed plugins, including LiteSpeed Cache and WPForms.

If you want to activate these plugins, access your WordPress dashboard and go to the Plugins menu. Choose the plugin you want to activate, then click on the Activate button.

Screenshot demonstrating how to activate a pre-installed plugin

What to Remember When Selecting a Plugin?

There are many plugins in the WordPress plugin directory and even more available from third-party websites. This number of options can feel overwhelming, especially for beginners trying to figure out what’s suitable for their site.

The following sections will show you some essential things to consider when selecting a plugin for your website.

Regular Updates.

WordPress releases regular updates to keep its system up-to-date. That’s how they enhance performance, maintain security, fix bug issues, and add new features. 

So before you install a plugin, consider these points:

  • Last updated. Choosing a WordPress plugin that is frequently updated can prevent you from security breaches. This also shows that the developers are still actively managing and improving the plugin.
  • Installation numbers. This number shows how popular said WordPress plugin is. As a rule of thumb, the higher the number of active installations a plugin has, the better quality it offers.
  • Ratings. Reviews and feedback from users can help you weigh in the pros and cons of a specific plugin. This gives you insight into how the plugin performs in real-time situations.
  • Compatibility. A plugin that receives regular updates from its developers is usually compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Always check the description tab to see which version of WordPress is required to run the plugin.

Making Sure It Is Right for the Job

Before you download and install a plugin to your WordPress website, be sure to check the claims made by the developers. Read through the plugin documentation, check the plugin’s support forums and read the reviews.

Researching through blog posts is also a good practice as many websites provide plugin reviews. At Hostinger, we also review and test WordPress plugins with various functionality, including menu plugins, Google Analytics plugins and review plugins.

Install One Plugin at a Time

When testing out a plugin in WordPress, remember to install and test each plugin individually. This way, you will quickly see if it causes any problems to your site and if you can fix them. 

If you decide to test several different plugins on WordPress, remember to deactivate the previous plugin before trying another. 

Moreover, when you have several inactive plugins, it is best to delete them as too many downloads, and installations can overload your WordPress website and impact its performance.

Use Only One Plugin for Each Function

Although WordPress plugins are add new features and enhance your website functionality, installing too many of them can slow your site down. 

This is because whenever you install plugins in WordPress, you’re adding new code to your website. When used excessively, the plugins will send too many HTTP requests to load their assets, such as CSS stylesheets, JavaScript files, and images, slowing down your website’s loading speed.

In addition, installing WordPress plugins that perform similar functionality can cause conflicts, risking one or both plugins to break. Thus, the best practice is to install one WordPress plugin for each functionality. 

For example, both Yoast SEO and AISEO have similar sets of features – you only need to choose one to prevent plugin conflict. 


We hope this tutorial has helped you learn how add plugins in WordPress. Now you have the option to enhance the functionality of your site even if you have no previous technical knowledge or skills.

If you’re unsure which plugin to begin with, consider what your current website lacks. Then, look at the available plugins and compare important factors such as compatibility, reviews, and last update.

Below are some of our recommended essential WordPress plugins to help you get started:

  • Yoast SEO. This plugin helps improve your WordPress blog post and page SEO through keyword optimization and meta descriptions
  • Elementor or Beaver Builder. Helps you build your website by providing an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface.
  • W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. Boosts your website performance and reduces loading time by caching and integrating with CDN.
  • Google XML Sitemaps. Automatically generates XML sitemaps for better search engine optimization.
  • Akismet Spam Protection. This plugin detects and filters out spam in your comments and contact form submissions to prevent any malicious attacks.

If you feel like there are more essential plugins that a website may need, let us know in the comments below.

How to Install WordPress Plugins FAQ

How Do I Manually Install a WordPress Plugin?

First, download the plugin. Then, in the WordPress dashboard, head to Plugins and click on the Add New button. Click on the Upload Plugin button and choose the downloaded file. After WordPress has finished the installation process, activate the plugin.

Can I Install Plugins on Free WordPress?

Unfortunately, you can’t install third-party plugins on the free version of WordPress. In order to use external plugins, you need to upgrade to a business plan.

How to Install WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins are a great way to add functionality to your website. Whether you’re looking to add a contact form, a shopping cart, or a social media feed, there’s a plugin for that. Installing plugins is easy, and can be done in just a few steps.

Step 1: Find the Plugin You Want

The first step is to find the plugin you want to install. You can search for plugins in the WordPress Plugin Directory, or you can find them on third-party websites. Once you’ve found the plugin you want, download the plugin file to your computer.

Step 2: Upload the Plugin to Your WordPress Site

Once you’ve downloaded the plugin file, you’ll need to upload it to your WordPress site. To do this, log into your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New. On the Add Plugins page, click the Upload Plugin button. Then, click the Choose File button and select the plugin file you downloaded. Finally, click the Install Now button.

Step 3: Activate the Plugin

Once the plugin is installed, you’ll need to activate it. To do this, go to the Plugins page and find the plugin you just installed. Then, click the Activate button. Once the plugin is activated, you’ll be able to use it on your WordPress site.

Step 4: Configure the Plugin

Once the plugin is activated, you may need to configure it. This will depend on the plugin you’re using. Some plugins will have settings you can adjust, while others may require you to enter information or add code to your site. Refer to the plugin’s documentation for instructions on how to configure it.


Installing WordPress plugins is easy and can be done in just a few steps. First, find the plugin you want and download it. Then, upload the plugin to your WordPress site and activate it. Finally, configure the plugin according to the instructions in the plugin’s documentation. With just a few clicks, you can add powerful functionality to your WordPress site.

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