How To Install A WordPress Plugin: 2 Easy Methods
As a beginner who doesn’t know how to code, it is important that you know how to install a WordPress plugin. Plugins provide your website with the ability to do more, like an app does to a phone. Although installing a WordPress plugin is easy, it is not without risk. We will cover those common WordPress plugin issues below and how to mitigate them. But first, here are the 3 ways to install a WordPress Plugin:
- Through the WordPress plugin library
- By uploading a plugin file to your dashboard
- Via a Cpanel upload (Discussed in class)
How To Install A WordPress Plugin Through The Plugin Library
- Sign into your WordPress admin dashboard
- Hover on Plugins, then click on Add New
- In the plugin search bar, insert the name of the plugin you wish to install
- Among the results, verify that your preferred plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress
- If you are comfortable with its rating, click on Install Now
- After the “Install Now” button has changed, click on Activate
How To Setup A WordPress Plugin Using The Upload Method
When you purchase a plugin, chances are that your file will be delivered in a .zip format. The following describes how to upload your plugin .zip file to WordPress.
- Sign into your WordPress dashboard
- Hover on Plugins, then click on Add New
- At the top of your page, click on Upload Plugin
- In the next window, click on Choose File
- Locate and select your plugin .zip file, then click on Open
- Click on Install Now, then wait until your see a successful installation notice
- Click on Activate Plugin
How To Uninstall A Plugin : The Simple Way
As much as it is important to know how to install a plugin, I will explain below why it is important that you know how to uninstall it. If you are looking for ways to permanently remove your plugins, then read this other article we’ve written. Otherwise, you can start with the simple method below:
- Within your WordPress admin dashboard, click on Plugins
- Scroll to the plugin you wish to uninstall, hover on it, then click on Deactivate
- After your plugin has been deactivated, click on Uninstall
Now, why would you ever need to uninstall a plugin when you’ve installed it for a reason in the first place? Because plugins aren’t without risk.
Common WordPress Plugin Issues And How To Avoid Them
1. Conflicts & Breakdowns
WordPress Plugins Can Conflict With Each Other
It is possible for two or more plugins to be incompatible with each other for various reasons. If this happens on your watch, the affected plugins will either stop working, or your website will behave differently. The easiest way to solve this issue is to uninstall the latest plugin you activated, or revert to an older version of the plugin you updated before your website crash.
2. Site Speed
Plugins Can Slow Your Website Down
How is that?
Imagine an instruction manual. The time it takes to reach its last page or conclusion depends on the amount and complexity of text provided right?
In the same light, a plugin is like a book with multiple lines of text or code. The time it takes for your visitor’s computer to load any plugin depends on its code length and complexity.
More plugins mean more code to be read, which in turn means more time spent on loading your website pages. That said, let me stress a point: Your problem may not always be the number of plugins, but their complexity. To learn more about plugin quality, check this article from WP Engine.
How to Mitigate Plugin Conflicts
- Reduce your use of plugins to a minimum. Instead of using 3 plugins for 3 functions for example, look for a single plugin that performs all 3 functions. More and more plugins are designed to do more.
- Update your plugins one by one, not in a bulk. It will help you quickly identify a culprit plugin in case your website breaks down.
- Before you install a plugin, open a Google search tab and search for “[your plugin’s name] plugin conflict”. In your results, pay attention to the versions of the plugin that are being identified to cause trouble. Follow the recommendations in those articles.
- Create regular backups of your website, so you can revert to a working version if a plugin conflict occurs.
Vulnerable WordPress Plugins Can Expose Your Website To Attacks
A 2016 research by WordFence showed that over 50% of WordPress website attacks originated from plugins.
To mitigate plugin vulnerabilities, follow the following instructions:
Do Not Install Abandoned Plugins
No plugin is free of shortcomings. That is why plugin developers constantly improve their plugin’s security and functionality through time. A plugin that doesn’t get updated by the developers eventually falls behind in terms of security and makes your website vulnerable to attack. Hence, you should not install or keep abandoned WordPress plugins on your website.
Update Your Plugins to Their Recent Versions
Do this provided the recent version was made available for “some time”.
Why? Because developers are human. It is not uncommon for the latest version of plugins to be released with yet unidentified conflicts with other plugins. Let other people install it first, use it, report issues, have them fixed, before you update yours. Since those are not likely to happen within just a day after a plugin’s release, give every plugin version some time before you update. You want it to be recent, but not too recent.
Use Plugins From Trustworthy Sources
Hacked versions of plugins often come with inbuilt, exploitable vulnerabilities. For that reason, it is advisable that you upload plugins from trustworthy sources only, like the original plugin authors or the official WordPress plugin directory.
It is easy to setup a WordPress plugin once you’ve identified the need for one. In 8 clicks or less, you can either install your WordPress plugin through the plugin directory page or by uploading its .zip file through your dashboard.
During a typical WordPress training in Perth or online, we would run you through the above, as well as show you how to install a WordPress plugin through the Cpanel. Curious about these classes? Learn more here.