One place for hosting & domains


      How to Find and Install WordPress Plugins (Tutorial)

      Anyone can create a simple. successful website using WordPress’ default functionality. However, what if the vision you have for your site goes beyond a simple blog or a small portfolio? You’ll probably need a few tools to add the features required and bring your dream website to life.

      This is where WordPress plugins come into the picture. These add-ons enable you to expand your site’s functionality and make it do just about anything you’d like. You can find plugins that help you build and optimize your site, maintain it over time, and add new features such as contact forms and storefronts.

      An Introduction to WordPress Plugins

      WordPress Jetpack plugin

      If you’ve never heard of plugins before, fear not! They’re typically simple to understand and, most importantly, use.

      In short, a plugin is an add-on for your WordPress site — a piece of software you can install that adds new features and functionality.

      No matter what you’d like your website to be capable of, there’s probably a plugin out there that can help. You can find plugins to speed up your site, optimize its security, and help it rank higher in search engines. Other options enable you to add specific features to your site, such as a contact form, storefront, or forum. Some even help with basic maintenance tasks, like cleaning up broken links.

      Of course, it’s worth mentioning that a quality hosting plan eliminates the need for certain plugins. For example, check out our managed WordPress hosting service — we take care of optimizing your site’s speed and performance for you so there’s no need to find plugins for those kinds of tasks.

      To learn more about how DreamPress can make running your website easier, check out our documentation.

      Get Content Delivered Straight to Your Inbox

      Subscribe to our blog and receive great content just like this delivered straight to your inbox.

      Finding Plugins for Your WordPress Site

      Even with a solid hosting plan, you may still want to add some plugins to your site. So, how do you go about finding them? There are a number of places to look, and where you’ll start depends on what you’re searching for.

      If you’re interested in starting with some free plugins, your first stop should be the official WordPress Plugin Directory:

      browse the WordPress plugin directory

      Each plugin listed there has been through a vetting process and won’t cost you a cent. You can find a lot of high-quality tools, and see how other users have rated them.

      However, sometimes you’ll want more options or features than a free plugin can provide. In that case, you can look for premium plugins, which will cost you a (varying) fee but are often more comprehensive.

      When choosing plugins, it’s important to be careful — a poorly-coded plugin can harm or even break your site. Be sure to check out user reviews and ratings, and take a look at how recently each option has been updated. If you’re still not sure where to start, check out our list of 20 popular and high-quality plugins every WordPress user should know about.

      How to Install WordPress Plugins (3 Easy Methods)

      Once you have a plugin picked out, you’ll need to install and activate it on your site. There are three main ways to do this, and we’ll address each one in turn. Before you try any of them, however, we recommend that you first back up your site. That way, if something goes wrong or the new plugin causes problems, you can reverse the damage quickly.

      1. Install a Plugin From the Official Directory

      If you’ve chosen a plugin from the official WordPress directory, you’re in luck. Installing free plugins from this source couldn’t be easier — and you can do so without leaving your dashboard.

      To get started, log into your website and navigate to the Plugins tab:

      the WordPress plugins page

      Here, you can see all the plugins you currently have installed (if any). Click on Add New, and you’ll be taken to a searchable version of the directory. Simply type in the name of the plugin you want. If you haven’t chosen one yet, you can use the various search options to explore everything that’s available.

      When you find the right plugin, select the Install Now button:

      WP Super Cache WordPress plugin

      WordPress will spend a few moments performing the installation, and then you’ll see a blue Activate button appear. Click on that, and the plugin will be ready to use! Depending on the plugin you’ve chosen, you may be prompted to configure a few settings or run through a setup wizard.

      2. Upload a Plugin Through the Dashboard

      If you’ve purchased a premium plugin or downloaded one from an offsite location, you’ll need to use a slightly different method than the above.

      All you’ll need is the zipped folder containing the plugin’s files saved to your computer. This should have been provided to you when you bought the plugin. If you aren’t sure where to find it, contact the plugin’s developer for help.

      Once you have the plugin in hand, log into your site and head to the Plugins tab. As before, click on Add New. This time, however, you’ll want to select Upload Plugin on the next page:

      upload a WordPress plugin

      Click on the Choose File button, find the zipped plugin folder on your computer and select it (you don’t need to extract the files), then click on Install Now. Give WordPress a few moments to work its magic, and you should see a success message:

      activate a recently uploaded WordPress plugin

      Hit the Activate Plugin button, and you’re all set! The plugin should now appear on your list in the Plugins tab.

      3. Use FTP to Install the Plugin Directly

      If you have a plugin’s zipped folder saved on your computer, you can also install it using File Transfer Protocol (FTP). FTP enables you to access your site’s files and databases directly so that you can make changes to them by hand.

      For those who are comfortable working with FTP, this can be a quicker way to install plugins. However, even if you’ve never used FTP before, you may want to consider this method. It’s a perfect way to start learning how to work with your website’s files. It’s also a useful alternative if you run into any errors when trying to install a plugin through the dashboard.

      The first thing you’ll want to do is download an FTP tool. We recommend FileZilla, which is free and easy to use. Then you’ll need to set it up and connect to your web host. This is a good time to make a backup of your site if you haven’t already. FTP enables you to make permanent changes to your website, so it’s important to be careful and have a readily-available way to reverse any mistakes.

      Once you have FileZilla open and connected, it should look something like this:

      browsing WordPress plugins folder in an FTP client

      In the top right quadrant, you’ll see your website’s home directory (it will typically be named after the site’s domain). Within this folder, navigate to wp-content > plugins:

      WordPress plugins folder in an FTP client

      This is where you’ll need to place the files for your new plugin. Unzip them first, then copy and paste them into the plugins folder. Alternatively, you can find the files on your computer using the two left-hand quadrants of FileZilla, and drag them over (again, after they’ve been unzipped).

      That’s all you need to do to install your new plugin. However, you will still need to visit your site in order to activate it. Navigate to the Plugins tab from your dashboard, and find the plugin you just installed in the list. Once you click on Activate, you’re all done!

       Easily Install Any WordPress Plugin

      Plugins are fantastic resources that enable you to build your site into anything you want it to be. No matter what feature or functionality you’re looking for, chances are there’s a plugin that can make it happen. Even better, installing plugins on your WordPress site couldn’t be easier.

      Do More with DreamPress

      DreamPress’ automatic updates, caching, and strong security defenses take WordPress management off your hands so you can focus on your website.

      Managed WordPress Hosting - DreamPress

      Source link

      How to Pick the Right Plugins for Your WordPress Website (In 4 Steps)

      One of the advantages of WordPress is its customization potential. With an ever-growing number of plugins available, you have the opportunity to build the website of your dreams. However, having so many options to choose from can make it hard to pick your site’s best fit.

      Fortunately, there are ways to narrow down your decision. By prioritizing your specific needs and learning how to evaluate a tool’s quality, you can find solid plugins to optimize your site.

      In this article, we’ll introduce you to WordPress plugins. We’ll also take you through four easy steps to pick the perfect candidates for your page. Then we’ll wrap up by giving you some potential plugins to consider. Let’s get to it!

      An Introduction to WordPress Plugins

      A WordPress plugin is a third-party program that adds functionality to your site. While themes can adjust the look and feel of a page, plugins provide the actual features. They can thus have a sizable impact on the visitor’s experience.

      Given that plugins tend to be specialized, they enable you to curate a full-site experience with several different programs. For example, let’s say you want to set up a secure online store with ease. You might use the Jetpack plugin for security, WooCommerce for the store, and Elementor to build and customize the storefront.

      Plugins can also affect your back-end experience. For example, you may find that you prefer tools with a user-friendly focus. The sheer amount of software available means that you’re likely to find one that suits your needs.

      Nevertheless, you can have too much of a good thing. Using plugins in excess can slow your website down. As such, you’ll want to consider your choices carefully to help maximize performance while minimizing potential issues.

      A methodical approach can also help you find the highest-quality candidates, especially if you’re searching in a popular category and need to compare tools. Doing a small amount of research can make it easier for you to pick the right plugins on the first try.

      How to Pick the Right Plugins for Your WordPress Website (In 4 Steps)

      A little bit of structure can help expedite the selection process. Below are four easy steps that you can follow to pick the right plugins for your WordPress website.

      Step 1: Identify Your Plugin Requirements

      The first step is to decide what you need from a plugin. While this may seem obvious, assessing your exact needs can be surprisingly helpful. After you’ve created a list of features you’d like, you can also try prioritizing them. This can help you focus on finding a plugin that matches your primary requirements.

      Many plugins have multiple uses. These tools can be time-savers, especially if you have several related needs. However, you may want to consider mixing and matching plugins, as this flexible outlook can expand your options.

      It’s also important to understand that some plugins come at a cost. A premium plugin typically offers benefits such as extra features or priority support. Therefore, you may want to decide what functionality you’d be willing to pay for. If you’re on a tight budget, though, don’t stress. You’ll likely be able to find a free plugin (or a combination of similar plugins) that’ll help you achieve your goals even if you miss out on some of the premium features.

      If you’re unfamiliar with WordPress extensions as a whole, we recommend browsing a few popular WordPress plugins to get an idea of what’s available.

      The plugin directory displaying popular options.

      With so many options, it can be easy to get turned around. We recommend keeping your particular needs in mind throughout the process to help you focus on your key features and establish some structure for your search.

      Step 2: Search for a Plugin

      After you’ve laid out your must-have features, you can start the process of searching for a plugin. Many developers offer downloads from their official sites. However, if you’re looking for a more centralized marketplace, it’s hard to go wrong with the WordPress Plugin Directory.

      The WordPress Plugin Directory.

      The WordPress Plugin Directory is the official place to find WordPress-approved software. Staff members check each submission for quality and security, so you’re likely to find a wide variety of top-notch programs.

      As we mentioned earlier, some premium plugins require payment. However, you may also encounter tools that offer a free version alongside their premium options. Jetpack is an example of this “freemium” model.

      An excerpt of Jetpack’s plugin description.

      You might also come across free versions of premium plugins through unofficial channels. While these may seem appealing, we recommend avoiding them at all costs. They are often stolen versions that can put your site at risk for malware.

      To ensure that your search circumvents pirated material, you stick to reputable websites. You might also want to steer clear of any scenarios that seem “too good to be true,” as these are often illegitimate products designed to trick users.

      Once you’ve decided on a place to search for your plugin, you can start actively looking for a tool. Don’t be afraid to spend some time shopping around and exploring your options. After you’ve found a plugin that catches your eye, you can proceed to the next step.

      We Make WordPress Easier

      Our automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can focus on what really matters: growing your website.

      Step 3: Review Information About the Plugin

      Next, you can focus on a single plugin. There are a variety of factors you’ll want to consider at this stage. In the WordPress Plugin Directory, most of the important information is accessible by scrolling down on the plugin’s page.

      The WooCommerce main page in the WordPress Plugin Directory.

      Using WooCommerce as an example, let’s start with ratings and reviews. You can find this section on the right-hand side.

      A portion of WooCommerce’s information page showing the “Ratings” section.

      WordPress ratings work on a star system, with one being the lowest and five being the highest. You can also access reviews by clicking on See all. These often include more specific information regarding the program. It’s important to peruse both positive and negative reviews for a balanced picture.

      Next up, consider a plugin’s active installations and update schedule. This section is located directly above the ratings.

      A close-up of WooCommerce’s installation statistics.

      Last updated displays the most recent update, a crucial part of site security for any program. A large number of Active installations can also indicate a high-quality plugin. You can even check to see if the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress to avoid breaking your site.

      Let’s move on to the Support section, typically located under the ratings.

      The support section of the WooCommerce plugin.

      A high number of resolved issues is a positive sign, as it indicates that the developers are responsive. Reading through some support questions can also give you an idea of potential challenges you may face when using the software.

      Finally, there’s plenty of other information on this page that might be helpful. For instance, scrolling down to the section marked Screenshots can show you the User Interface (UI). You might also want to check the FAQ section to learn more about common issues.

      We recommend focusing on the factors that you find most important. Then you can use that personalized metric to easily compare different plugins. After you’ve narrowed your choice down to one tool, you can move on to the last step.

      Step 4: Download and Test the Plugin

      Finally, you can download the plugin and test it on your site. We encourage you to consult a plugin’s installation instructions before downloading it because they may contain important information to help you avoid software-specific issues.

      Once you’ve checked any instructions, you can navigate to your WordPress dashboard. Select Plugins > Add New from the right-hand menu. Next, enter the name of the plugin you want to install in the Search plugins box. Here’s the WooCommerce result as an example.

      The WooCommerce plugin as viewed from the dashboard.

      Click on the Install Now button to start the process. After it’s done, the button will change colors and read as Activate.

      The WooCommerce plugin button labeled “Activate.”

      You must activate the plugin to use it on your site. Click it as soon as you’re ready to move on. Similar to installation instructions, some tools may come with an introductory message or setup tips. You may want to read these over in case they contain useful information.

      After you’ve set up the plugin, you can start testing its performance. An important issue is how it impacts your site’s speed. To test this, we recommend using a tool such as GTmetrix.

      The GTmetrix test tool.

      Before you activate the plugin, we recommend testing your site’s baseline speed. You can write the results down and re-test once the plugin is up and running. If the plugin has a considerably negative effect on your speed, you may want to reconsider using it.

      There are other ways that you can test a plugin. For instance, you may want to send a basic question to support to see how responsive the developers are. Alternatively, you might use a staging site to determine usability and front-end functionality.

      WordPress Plugins to Consider for Your Site

      Armed with the above four steps, you’re ready to find the perfect plugin. However, perhaps you’re still unsure where to begin. If that’s the case, we’ve put together some recommendations for you to kickstart your search.

      If you’re setting up your first site, you may be seeking the essentials. It’s hard to go wrong with plugins that help you improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or site security. Even seasoned WordPress professionals make frequent use of such tools.

      Alternatively, maybe you’re a content creator. If you’re launching a podcast website, for example, you probably have different needs than the average blogger. In that scenario, it’s important to consider specialty plugins that are designed with your niche in mind.

      Finally, you might be curious about ways to improve your workflow. Plenty of developers have answered the call, providing plugins to help you work more efficiently and communicate without friction. This kind of technology can be especially helpful if you’re working with a team.

      There are countless quality plugins to explore. Applying our four-step method and prioritizing your needs can help you discover the ones that will fit your site the best. Our team has also put together several guides to help you find great add-ons for your WordPress site.

      Once you’ve found the right plugin, be sure to check out our WordPress plugin installation tutorial to learn how to set it up in your WordPress dashboard.

      Take Your WordPress Website to the Next Level

      Whether you need help selecting a caching plugin, adding a contact form, or installing a premium theme, we can help! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter so you never miss an article.

      The WordPress Plugin Directory Awaits

      WordPress’ flexibility is wonderful. However, too many options can overwhelm you and make deciding difficult. Fortunately, you can find a well-fitting plugin by approaching the search systematically and focusing on your site’s needs.

      In this article, we covered four steps to help you pick the right plugins for your WordPress website:

      1. Identify and prioritize what you need from a plugin.
      2. Search for your options in legitimate, quality marketplaces.
      3. Review the available information on each plugin’s page.
      4. Download the software and test it against your expectations.

      Even with the perfect plugins, putting together a website can be tough. Let us do the heavy lifting with our DreamPress managed WordPress hosting!

      Source link