Today, there are over 55,000 WordPress plugins — you can choose which ones to install on your WordPress website to begin reaping the benefits of added functionality based on your specific needs. No matter what your goal is, you’re bound to find a plugin (or a few) that can help you achieve it.

Increasing your website’s functionality with the addition of WordPress plugins is exceptionally easy. In fact, you can install, activate, and begin using WordPress plugins in a matter of minutes. In this post, we'll show you how.

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How to Install WordPress Plugins

Let's review the steps involved in installing your WordPress plugins both automatically and manually. (You can also update your plugins automatically and manually, too.)

To automatically add a plugin to your WordPress website:

1. From your WordPress dashboard, choose Plugins > Add new.

2. Search for the desired plugin using a search bar in the top right corner. A number of results will appear.

3. After finding the plugin in the results, click Install Now.

the add plugin page in the wordpress dashboard

4. To use the plugin, you’ll need to activate it. When the installation is complete, click Activate. You can also activate or deactivate any plugin under Plugins > Installed Plugins.

an example of a plugin result in the add plugins page in the wordpress dashboard

To manually add a plugin to your WordPress website:

1. Download the desired plugin as a .zip file from either the WordPress directory or a third-party source. If you’re downloading from a third-party website, ensure the service is legitimate.

2. From your WordPress dashboard, choose Plugins > Add New.

3. Click Upload Plugin at the top of the page.

the upload plugin button in the wordpress dashboard

4. Click Choose File, locate the plugin .zip file, then click Install Now.

the install now button in the wordpress dashboard

5. After the installation is complete, click Activate Plugin.

To add a plugin to your WordPress website via FTP:

1. Download the desired plugin as a .zip file from either the WordPress directory or a third-party source. If you’re downloading from a third-party website, ensure the service is legitimate.

2. Extract (or unzip) the plugin file. The unzipped folder will appear with the same name as the .zip file.

3. Next, you’ll need to connect to your WordPress website’s server with FTP. To do this, you can use a free or premium FTP client software that connects to the host server to transfer files.

4. Once you open the FTP client, connect to your website with a username and password. You might need to obtain these credentials from your hosting provider.

the username and password page for accessing ftp in wordpress

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5. In your WordPress file directory, open the wp-content folder, then open the plugins folder.

6. Upload the unzipped plugin folder that you downloaded to the plugins folder.

unzip and extract your wordpress plugin

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7. Return to your WordPress dashboard and select Plugins > Installed Plugins. Find your new plugin should appear and click Activate.

How to Use a Plugin in WordPress

Most plugins that perform simple tasks begin working immediately after being installed — complex plugins with greater functionality may need interaction from you.

For example, if you install a forms plugin, it will automatically offer you form templates once activated. Then you can customize your forms as you see fit.

The best way to view all of your plugin’s customization features is by clicking Settings via the plugin admin page.

Next, let’s look at some popular plugins to make your WordPress website more functional for you and your audience.

HubSpot WordPress Plugin

HubSpot’s free WordPress plugin allows you to create free forms, offer live chat support, organize lists for email marketing campaigns, manage your advertising, and analyze your website’s performance.

dashboard for the hubspot wordpress plugin

Elementor

Elementor is an excellent plugin for building aesthetically-pleasing, branded WordPress websites. It offers tools to design all aspects of your web pages as well as a customizable form builder so you can easily engage with your clients.

If you're interested in taking advantage of this plugin, check out our course on building a WordPress website with Elementor.

product page for the elementor wordpress plugin

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Smush

Smush is a plugin that will compress, lazy load, and resize your images. Since oversized images have large files that aren’t optimized for the web, they have the potential to significantly slow down your site. Smush can quickly detect and fix those images that are slowing your website down.

dashboard for the wordpress plugin smoosh

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Add Plugins to Improve Your Site

Plugins are essential for increasing the functionality of your WordPress website. They're quite simple to install, add, and use — follow the steps we’ve outlined above to get started using your newest plugins.

Use HubSpot tools on your WordPress website and connect the two platforms  without dealing with code. Click here to learn more.

 Use HubSpot tools on your WordPress website and connect the two platforms  without dealing with code. Click here to learn more.

Originally published Oct 20, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2020

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WordPress Plugins