How to Install WordPress Plugins (Automatic & Manual Upload)

Published 2019-07-01T06:00:25 by Bryan Miller

If you’re a WordPress user then you no doubt understand how beneficial WordPress’s repository of useful plugins can be. WordPress plugins allow you to extend the functionality of your website with the click of a button — giving you the power to integrate social media, improve your website performance, secure your website from intrusion, improve your SEO and more!

WordPress not only has a massive database of free to use plugins developed by a loyal community of enthusiasts and private businesses but WordPress also does a fantastic job at making the plugin process streamlined and easy to use.

WordPress plugins website

WordPress plugins

If you’re not familiar with the WordPress content management system (this is different from the blogging website, then you may want to learn about the many benefits and features of these powerful plugins. There are literally millions of WordPress plugins to choose from and in this day and age it may be difficult to discern between good plugins and bad ones that may negatively impact your website by slowing down your website and hurting the user experience.

We always recommend that if you are going to seek out WordPress plugins without the assistance of a web developer or agency, you must do your research. WordPress offers a massive repository of completely free to use plugins which offer everything from adding features like a website store locator or event registration and ticketing, to data analytics and website performance. If you’re going to go at it alone, we highly recommend that you thoroughly investigate a plugin’s features, update history, compatibility and user review before deciding to use a plugin on your website.

How to install WordPress plugins automatically

First, you’ll want to login to your WordPress login portal at and log in with your user credentials.

Next, you’ll want to navigate to your Plugins page (click the “Plugins” menu item on the left menu WordPress dashboard navigation). On this page you’ll see a list of current plugins available to your website. From this list of plugins, you can activate, deactivate, update, or remove directly on this page. To search and add a new plugin, click Add New.

WordPress Add New Plugin

On the following page you’ll see a list of recommended plugins as well as a search feature to search the WordPress repository of available plugins to add to your website. If you’d like to search for a specific plugin, type the name or related text into the search box and hit enter — this should return you a list of results matching your search query. Once you’ve found the right plugin (again we highly recommend you thoroughly research each plugin before installation), hit Install.

WordPress repo

After you’ve hit Install on the plugin of your choice you should be taken back to your Plugins page where you will see the newly installed plugin on your list of available WordPress plugins. Scroll down on this page until you see the new plugin and hit Activate to enable the new plugin (plugins are disabled by default after installation).

And that’s it! Once the plugin is activated, you may now browse the plugin feature and settings directly within your WordPress website dashboard (the location of the plugin features and settings vary from plugin to plugin, be sure to read the plugin documentation for complete setup and usage).

How to install WordPress plugins manually

Not all WordPress plugins are available in the public WordPress repository. Many private companies and developers may create their own plugins and charge a fee for usage (thus they may not be available on the WordPress public repository and you’ll have to download and upload them manually).

How to upload a plugin through WordPress (manually)

First, download the plugin from your source, the plugin will come in the form of a .zip file (if you’re not familiar — this is just a compressed file to save on file size and improve download times).

Next, navigate to your website’s WordPress login page at Log in with your admin user credentials.

Once you’ve logged in, click Plugins to navigate to your website Plugins page. From here click Add New at the top of this page to be directed to the Add New Plugin page.

WordPress Add New Plugin

Once you’re on the Add New Plugin page, click Upload Plugin at the top of the page which opens a file uploading tool. On this page click Choose File and select the file on your computer then hit Install Now.

WordPress Install Plugin Manually

Once you’ve uploaded the plugin file to your website, go back to your Plugins page and click Activate on the new plugin that should show on your website plugins list of the Plugins page. Once activated, you may now use and adjust the new plugins settings and features (again, refer to the documentation for usage instructions)!

How to upload a WordPress plugin via FTP

Connect to your web server via your favorite FTP client (we prefer FileZilla — an open source, free to use FTP client).

On the server, navigate to your root > wp-content > plugins folder. Once you’re in this folder on your server, transfer the unzipped plugin folder into the “plugins” folder on your server.

FTP Plugins Folder

Once the plugin files are on your server, you can log in to your website at From here, click to navigate to your Plugins page. On this page, you should see the newly uploaded Plugin on your list of available plugins (however it will not be activated yet). Next, click “Activate” to activate the plugin for use on your website — and that’s it!


Hopefully this quick guide will help you upload and manage plugins on your WordPress website. If you need help managing your WordPress website or would like to discuss building out custom features for your business — contact us today and get in touch!

Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller

Bryt Designs

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web tech enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. Bryan is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine and continues to pursue tools and technologies to find success for clients across a varieties of industries.

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