How to use WordPress plugins

WordPress itself is a wonderful piece of software, but it is just a framework of website, allowing you to manage content and visualize it in some basic way. If you want to extend WordPress functions, you need to use WordPress plugins.

What are WordPress plugins?

Plugins are small chunks of software which give WordPress more functionality one installed in you blog. WordPress plugins are created by community of users, so their quality may be better or worse, depending on who wrote the plugin and when – some of the old plugins were written for older version of WordPress and are not compatible with the latest version, so it is worth checking the comments and version history before installation. Another thing we should be aware of is that WordPress plugins may be incompatible between themselves – sometimes when there is a problem turning off one right plugin can solve it. Remember: after installing new plugins check your WordPress blog functionality thoroughly!

Where to find WordPress plugins?

The main source of WordPress plugins is WordPress Plugin Directory – there are literally thousands of them (at the moment I wrote this article: over 23500 plugins). Most of those plugins are free, so everybody should be able to find something interesting. Unfortunately lots of plugins in WordPress Plugin Directory is written by amateurs and their quality is not very high. If you are looking for some top WordPress plugins, you should definitely check ThemeForest and other premium content sellers for WordPress – I’ve bought some plugins from them which I couldn’t find anywhere else!

Let’s try to download something from WordPress Plugin Directory: enter All in one seo pack into Search directory and press Search button –  there should be plugin made by hallsofmontezume on the very first result. Click it and you should get to the plugin page.

WordPress plugins - Plugin page
WordPress plugins – Plugin page

From the top menu you can get some Installation tips, sometimes see the Screenshots of the plugin, contact Support or read FAQ. It’s worth checking the plugin’s rating and compatibility info on the right side of page. If we are sure we want to install it, press Download button in the top right corner. In our case you should start downloading file.  Once you get it, there are two options to install WordPress plugin to your blog.

How to install WordPress plugin

Log into your WordPress blog and select Plugins menu from the left Main Menu – you should get to Plugin Management page:

WordPress plugins - Plugins page
WordPress plugins – Plugins page

On this page you can turn your WordPress plugins on and off, configure, update or delete them when you don’t need them anymore (this cannot be undone). We want to install WordPress plugin we got, so select Add New from the left menu or the top.  You should get to standard WordPress upload page – press Browse and point to downloaded .zip file, then press Install Now.
You should see some log about installation progress:

WordPress plugins - installation progress
WordPress plugins – installation progress

Let’s choose Activate pluginWordPress will turn the plugin on and display some info about plugin configuration:

WordPress plugins - activation message
WordPress plugins – activation message

Congratulations! You’ve just installed your first WordPress plugin! Now it is time to configure it, but we will cover this topic in another tutorial, so stay with us!

How to install WordPress plugin – another method

Another method of installing WordPress plugin is to upack it to directory, and then using your FTP client upload it to your online hosting account. The main plugin directory (in our case all-in-one-seo-pack) should be put straight into /wp-content/plugins/ directory.
And that’s all – now you can access plugin from WordPress Plugin Management page.

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