Complete Guide: How To Choose And Install WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins are useful extensions that allow you to add further performance to your WordPress web site. They can deal with small issues, like exhibiting associated posts to your guests, in addition to giant issues, like turning your WordPress web site into a totally functioning social community or eCommerce retailer.

Pretty a lot each WordPress web site makes use of at the very least some plugins. So when you’re utilizing WordPress, studying the ins and outs of WordPress plugins is important to your success.

In this information, we’ll offer you detailed data on all the things that it’s essential learn about WordPress plugins. By the top, you’ll know:

  • Where to search out WordPress plugins
  • How to decide on WordPress plugins which are secure and safe
  • How to put in WordPress plugins
  • What to do when you’re having bother with a plugin
  • How to replace WordPress plugins

Basically, once you end studying, you’ll be a WordPress plugin wizard! Let’s get began.

Note – If you’re simply all in favour of the right way to set up WordPress plugins, click on this hyperlink to leap straight to that part.

Installing Plugins Is Serious Business – Put Some Thought Into It

Each time you put in a brand new plugin in your WordPress web site, you’re including new code to your web site. That’s good as a result of it lets you add all types of cool performance to WordPress.

But as a result of these exterior code additions don’t endure the identical rigorous scrutiny because the code within the WordPress core, it’s additionally not one thing that you need to take flippantly.

Choosing poorly coded plugins can:

  • Open your web site as much as safety vulnerabilities, even when the plugin developer wasn’t aspiring to be malicious
  • Make your web site buggy and laborious to make use of
  • Crash your complete web site till you disable the offending plugin

Now, we don’t wish to scare you. Installing plugins is completely advantageous. Again, each single WordPress web site makes use of plugins so as to add performance. We’re not making an attempt to scare you away from plugins.

Here’s what we do wish to do, although:

Make certain you perceive the significance of selecting plugins correctly.

In the next sections, we’ll inform you precisely the place to search out WordPress plugins and the right way to correctly vet them earlier than putting in them in your web site.

As lengthy as you’re cautious when selecting plugins, you’ll profit from added performance with out exposing your web site to pointless dangers.

Are WordPress Plugins Free?

Many WordPress plugins are free, however you’ll additionally encounter loads of paid plugin choices.

General, WordPress plugin builders use certainly one of these 4l totally different billing approaches:

  • 100% free – beneficiant builders create a completely free plugin without having to ever pay cash.
  • Freemium – the builders supply a restricted free model, however it’s essential improve to Pro for the entire options.
  • Free core with extensions – the core plugin is free, however the developer sells plenty of separate “extensions” that add particular bits of performance
  • Premium – you must pay proper from the get-go.

Is It Worth It To Pay For Premium Plugins?

While there are some amazingly high-quality free plugins, as a normal rule, premium plugins supply higher options and help.

Think about it:

Developing a high-quality device takes numerous hours of growth. Then, add on the necessity to supply human help, and it solely is smart that premium plugins can supply higher options and help (as a result of the builders can dedicate extra time to the plugin since they’re really getting paid for his or her time!).

For that purpose, when you’re constructing a severe enterprise, your greatest guess is to go together with at the very least some premium choices as a result of they:

  • Usually have higher options
  • Offer higher help, together with devoted help from the developer
  • Are extra more likely to obtain continued updates as a result of the developer is creating wealth quite than simply creating the plugin as a pastime

If you’re on a finances, free plugins are positively nonetheless a viable alternative. Just be ready to make some tradeoffs with regards to characteristic lists and one-on-one help

Where To Find WordPress Plugins For Your Site

There are three important areas the place yow will discover plugins in your web site:

  • WordPress.org – the official WordPress plugin listing. Every single plugin right here is free in at the very least its fundamental kind, although you’ll discover loads of choices that function on “freemium” or “paid extension” enterprise fashions.
  • Code Canyon – Code Canyon is a well-liked third-party plugin market that lists completely premium plugins.
  • Direct from builders – some builders solely promote their plugins on their very own web site. You’ll normally discover some of these plugins by means of Google. Elegant Themes and Meridian Themes are two widespread builders that we normally advocate.

Let’s go a bit extra in-depth with the right way to discover WordPress plugins…

Best Places to Find Free WordPress Plugins

As we talked about above, one of the best supply without cost WordPress plugins is the official WordPress.org plugin directory.

Beyond spoiling you for alternative with over 50,000 totally different free plugins, the WordPress.org plugin listing is a superb alternative as a result of:

  • New plugins should have their code reviewed by the Plugin Review Team earlier than they get listed
  • All the plugins are open supply

Basically, the WordPress.org plugin listing is tightly managed to make sure (as a lot as is feasible) that not one of the plugins are going to introduce vulnerabilities to your web site. It’s not 100% foolproof – but it surely’s a lot better than any alternate options.

To discover plugins, you should use the search field:

the wordpress.org plugin directory

Then, you may flick through the search outcomes till you discover a plugin that piques your curiosity:

how to search for a WOrdPress plugin

Another useful solution to discover associated plugins is to make use of the tags on every particular person plugin itemizing:

plugin tags

Best Places to Find Premium WordPress Plugins

If you’re open to premium plugins, one of the best place to begin your search is…Google!

Yup, the world’s largest search engine is certainly an excellent place to search out plugins.

Searching for one thing like “best X plugins” will flip up a wealth of lists. For instance, we have now plugin checklist posts on contact kind plugins, touchdown web page plugins, mailing checklist plugins, web page builder plugins, and much extra.

These lists not often characteristic in-depth critiques. But what they’re useful for is:

  • A fundamental have a look at every plugin’s characteristic checklist
  • A solution to shortly entry plugins from a wide range of third-party builders that is perhaps laborious to search out in any other case

For instance, amongst others, our web page builder plugin checklist hyperlinks out to:

  • WP Beaver Builder (see our evaluation)
  • Divi Builder (see our evaluation)
  • Thrive Architect (see our Thrive Architect evaluation)

All of these plugins are bought by third-party builders that you simply’ll not often discover in plugin directories.

Another stable place to search out premium plugins is Envato’s Code Canyon market. Like WordPress.org, you may simply search hundreds of plugins to search out one which meets your wants:

code canyon

What To Consider Before Installing a WordPress Plugin

Once you discover some plugins that you simply’re all in favour of including to your WordPress web site, it’s essential really vet them earlier than you go about putting in them.

Remember our warning originally – you need to by no means set up a plugin willy-nilly simply because it seems attention-grabbing.

Here’s what to contemplate earlier than making a remaining determination on a plugin:

Look at Reviews/Ratings

For plugins which are listed in marketplaces like WordPress.org and Code Canyon, you may at all times discover critiques to gauge how high-quality the plugin is.

At WordPress.org, click on on the Reviews tab of any plugin’s itemizing web page:

plugin rating

And at Code Canyon, yow will discover critiques within the Item Rating part:

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It’s additionally value clicking on the Comments choice to see extra than simply star scores. There, you’ll be capable of learn extra in-depth ideas from individuals.

See How Popular The Plugin Is

While reputation isn’t an ideal measure for high quality, it’s a good indicator {that a} plugin is a stable possibility. Essentially, you’re utilizing the knowledge of the crowds to gauge a plugin’s high quality.

At WordPress.org, you may at all times see an lively set up rely proper on the plugin’s important itemizing tab:

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And Code Canyon lists what number of gross sales every plugin has:

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Check How Responsive the Developer Is

If you need your chosen plugin to work each now and sooner or later, it’s vital that you simply select a plugin from a developer that’s nonetheless actively creating the plugin.

It’s inevitable that bugs and different points come up because the plugin ages, so that you desire a developer that can shortly repair these points once they occur.

There are two methods to verify how responsive a developer is earlier than putting in a plugin:

  • Check how not too long ago the developer up to date the plugin
  • See how responsive the developer is with regards to responding to help requests

At WordPress.org, you may view the Support discussion board to see how lively a developer is, and you may also see how way back the final replace was:

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Similarly, Code Canyon additionally reveals you the final time a plugin was up to date:

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Test The Plugin In a Sandbox Before Installing

Finally, when you’re selecting a free plugin at WordPress.org, there are literally free instruments that allow you to check the plugin in a sandbox earlier than you add it to your web site.

These sandbox websites create a contemporary WordPress set up simply so that you can mess around with plugins. It’s fully separate out of your actual web site (there’s zero connection in any respect).

Two free choices providing such a service are:

how to test wordpress plugins

If you’re utilizing managed WordPress internet hosting, you may also use your host’s staging web site to check out new plugins earlier than including them to your dwell web site. Staging websites are not often accessible on low cost WordPress internet hosting, although.

How to Install WordPress Plugins

The course of that you simply’ll use to put in your WordPress plugins will depend on the supply of the plugin you wish to set up.

  • For plugins listed at WordPress.org, you may set up them routinely out of your WordPress dashboard.
  • For third-party plugins and plugins discovered at Code Canyon, you’ll want to put in them by importing a ZIP file of the plugin.

We’ll present you the right way to do each within the two sections beneath.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin from WordPress.org

Here’s the right way to set up a plugin that you simply discovered at WordPress.org:

  • Go to Plugins → Add New in your WordPress dashboard
  • Search for the identify of the plugin you wish to set up
  • Click the Install button

how to install WordPress plugins

Wait for a second whereas WordPress installs the plugin, then the Install button will change to Activate. Click that to make the plugin that you simply simply put in lively in your web site:

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And that’s all there may be to it!

How to Install a WordPress Plugin From a ZIP File

If you bought a premium plugin or discovered a free plugin from someplace aside from WordPress.org, you’ll must take a barely totally different method to put in your WordPress plugin.

Don’t fear, although. It’s nonetheless tremendous easy! All you’ll want is a ZIP file that you need to be capable of download from the supply the place you discovered the plugin.

Here’s the right way to do it:

  • Go to Plugins → Add New in your WordPress dashboard
  • Click on Upload Plugin

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  • Click Choose File and choose the ZIP file of your plugin
  • Click Install Now

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  • Wait a couple of seconds whereas WordPress installs the plugin
  • Click Activate Plugin to make the plugin lively in your web site

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And that’s it! You simply manually put in a WordPress plugin.

How to Configure a New Plugin

Once you put in a WordPress plugin, the following step is normally to configure it. We say normally as a result of some plugins are so easy that they don’t have any configuration choices.

While you may at all times search for a plugin’s identify in your WordPress dashboard sidebar to configure it, a neater method is to go to the Plugins tab and search for the Settings hyperlink underneath every plugin:

how to configure wordpress plugin

Clicking on that hyperlink will take you to the plugin’s configuration choices.

We can’t offer you a information to configuring each single plugin on the market, however you may normally discover documentation from the developer of the plugin that will help you arrange the varied settings.

What To Do If a New Plugin Breaks Your Site

Most of the time, putting in a brand new WordPress plugin goes off with out a hitch. But…there are some uncommon conditions by which putting in a brand new plugin breaks both half or all your web site.

Yeah, it may be a scary time.

Usually, this occurs on account of:

  • Plugin conflicts between two totally different plugins
  • A poorly coded plugin
  • An old-fashioned plugin that isn’t appropriate with the most recent model of WordPress
  • Conflicts between your plugin and net server, e.g. the plugin wants PHP 7, however your server is working PHP 5

If you’re staring down the barrel of a damaged web site, don’t fear. The harm isn’t everlasting. Instead, all you normally must do is deactivate the plugin to have your web site return to regular.

How to Deactivate a WordPress Plugin Via Your Dashboard

If you may nonetheless entry your WordPress dashboard, deactivating a plugin is simple:

  • Go to Plugins
  • Click Deactivate underneath the plugin that you simply wish to deactivate:

how to deactivate a wordpress plugin

Once you deactivate the offending plugin, your web site ought to return to regular.

How to Deactivate a Plugin If You Can’t Access Your Dashboard

If you may’t entry your WordPress dashboard, it’s somewhat bit trickier to deactivate a WordPress plugin. Don’t fear, although. You can nonetheless do it!

To deactivate a plugin with out accessing your dashboard, you’ll want to connect with your WordPress web site by way of FTP. To do this, you’ll want:

  • An FTP programFileZilla is an efficient free possibility
  • FTP account particulars – you may get these out of your host

Once you could have these two issues, connect with your web site by way of FTP and navigate to …/wp-content/plugins:

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Then, right-click on the folder of the plugin that you simply wish to deactivate and rename it. Append “_old” to the top of the folder with the intention to do not forget that you deactivated the plugin:

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And that’s it! Your web site ought to hopefully be again to regular.

If you wish to reactivate the plugin at any level, all it’s essential do is take away “_old” from the top of the filename.

How to Get Help With WordPress Plugins

If you’re scuffling with a specific WordPress plugin, chances are you’ll want to show to outdoors assist to get issues working.

In this case, you could have a couple of totally different choices:

Use the WordPress.org Support Forums

We briefly instructed you in regards to the WordPress.org help boards once we taught you the right way to vet plugins earlier than putting in them. Well, you should use these exact same help boards to get assist from the developer:

how to get help with wordpress plugins

Remember – some builders do that totally without cost. So don’t anticipate the identical stage of help that you simply’d get from a premium plugin.

Speaking of…

Ask The Developer for Help Directly For Premium Plugins

If you paid for a premium plugin, you’ll usually get 6-12 months of devoted help (relying on the developer’s precise coverage).

If you’re struggling, you should use the ticketing system to ask the developer a query straight. Just keep in mind – it’s a good suggestion to verify the developer’s help documentation earlier than firing off a query.

Many builders have detailed data bases that reply widespread questions.

Hire a WordPress Freelancer to Help Out

If you’re scuffling with a difficulty that goes past the scope of regular help (like tweaking a plugin’s performance), chances are you’ll want outdoors assist to get issues squared away.

While there are many unbiased freelancers, two good spots to search for WordPress freelancers are:

There are additionally a ton of WordPress upkeep companies which will help as properly.

How to Update WordPress Plugins to Stay Secure

Unfortunately, you may’t simply overlook a couple of plugin as soon as you put in it. Nope! You must hold the plugin consistently up to date with the intention to guarantee it capabilities correctly and your web site is safe.

Out of date WordPress plugins are a major reason that some WordPress websites get hacked. So severely – you may’t overlook to replace WordPress plugins.

Thankfully, although, WordPress makes it straightforward to replace plugins proper out of your dashboard.

Whenever there’s a plugin replace accessible, WordPress will notify you in your WordPress dashboard by exhibiting a purple quantity subsequent to the Plugins possibility:

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When you see that quantity, right here’s all it’s essential do to replace the plugin(s):

  • Go to Plugins in your WordPress dashboard
  • Look for the plugin with the replace discover
  • Click replace now

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WordPress will deal with the remaining for you!

You can even learn the changelog of what the developer modified by clicking on the View model X particulars hyperlink.

How Many WordPress Plugins is Too Many?

You’ll generally hear individuals inform you “don’t install too many WordPress plugins, it will slow your site down.” That’s not technically true, although it nonetheless is an honest normal rule to dwell by.

See, what’s extra vital than the precise variety of plugins is the:

  • Quality of every plugin’s code
  • Scope of the adjustments made by the plugin

For instance, a well-coded plugin that makes a small change to your web site has far much less influence than an enormous, poorly-coded plugin.

That is, to take an excessive instance, one dangerous plugin might need extra of a unfavorable impact than 50 well-coded plugins.

So, so long as you’re correctly assessing plugins earlier than putting in them, don’t fear about spending some arbitrary variety of plugins that’s “too many.”

With that being mentioned, each single plugin that you simply add to your web site does improve the possibilities (nonetheless small) of one thing going incorrect or your web site slowing down. For that purpose, you need to nonetheless assume lengthy and laborious earlier than putting in plugins willy-nilly.

If you actually want the performance – go for it! Just be sure to’re not putting in plugins for obscure options that you simply don’t really want.

Wrapping Things Up

WordPress plugins are what make WordPress such an amazingly versatile content material administration system. Thousands of proficient builders have collectively created a plugin ecosystem that makes it attainable for WordPress to do…just about something.

At this level, you realize:

  • How to correctly select WordPress plugins
  • Where to search out WordPress plugins
  • How to put in and handle WordPress plugins

Now, all that’s left is so that you can get on the market and really begin putting in some plugins in your web site! If you’re in search of a very good place to get began, we predict the next varieties of plugins are useful for just about any WordPress web site – together with yours!

  • Contact kind plugins
  • Social sharing plugins
  • Landing web page plugins

And we additionally polled a bunch of WordPress specialists to see which WordPress plugins they advocate.

We hope you loved this information, and please tell us within the feedback in case you have any additional questions.

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