An extension or plugin is a “small” program that adds a new feature to your WordPress site, without calling on your developer.
Indeed, WordPress cannot do everything by default. It would be like putting all kinds of ingredients in a soup. In the end, we would have neither a soup of vegetables, nor a soup of fishes and even less a vermicelli soup but rather a funny mixture.
So you need a basic ingredient (WordPress) to which you add a pinch of this, a hint of that to get to site that appeals your visitors.As you can see, plugins are a great way to customize your site.
Install an extension from the WordPress directory
This is the easiest and fastest way to install a WordPress extension. Everything happens in the WordPress admin console.
Only free extensions are referenced in the directory of WordPress extensions. To install an extension you just purchased, skip to the next chapter.
But where to find WordPress plugins?
To avoid going too fast, I want to point out that before going head-to-head to install plug-ins at arm’s length, you have to ask the right questions:
➢ What functionality do I need?
➢ Can a plugin answer this need?
➢ Am I able to understand what this plugin does?
➢ Can I set it up without harming my site?
Have these questions in mind because some plugins can have a negative impact if you do not use them properly.
Here are some examples of extensions that we can use: ·
- Yoast to improve the SEO of your pages,
- Sumo to add social sharing buttons on your site,
- Hellobar to easily capture the email addresses of your visitors…
That’s not all … There are thousands of free and paid extensions. Besides, it’s one of the strengths of WordPress.
Once you know what you need, the first place you go to is the official directory of WordPress plugins.
The official directory of WordPress plugins
The least we can say is that it is a real cave of Ali Baba! More than 30,000 plugins are available for free. As much as you can say that you can graft all kinds of features to your site.
WP pot will present several of them over the weeks (this is already the case with the WordPress SEO plugin) but you will have to go it alone to find all the plugins necessary for your project. Do not forget to ask yourself the questions listed previously.
If that’s not enough, other plugins are available on CodeCanyon which is a marketplace created by the company Envato (which also publishes Themeforest). This site offers various scripts for all types of websites including plugins for WordPress.
The WordPress plugins you can find are all premium, i.e. paid. So be sure to study what they offer in detail before buying one, it would be a shame to spend money for nothing.
On dozens of other sites
Although we can not draw an exhaustive list, it is possible to find plugins elsewhere than on the two sites that we have just seen. It can be found on:
➢ WordPress theme shops like WooThemes and GraphPaperPress.
➢ Sites offering several plugins like WPMUDev and iThemes (they also sell themes).
➢ Sites dedicated to a specific plugin like Easy Digital Downloads, Gravity Forms (see the presentation of this plugin) and Frenchie WP Rocket.
Google is here to help you too. Type “XXX wordpress plugin” where XXX is the description of the desired feature.
Be careful not to download anything on sites a little shady (no puny word compared to the Marmite WP), your site could be indigestion. And believe us, a little homeopathy will not solve the problem. So be careful.
Installing a free plugin from the WordPress directory
What you need to know with the WordPress plugins directory is that it can be accessed directly from the WordPress admin.
To do this, go to Extensions> Add from the sidebar.
Note: If you cannot find this menu, you certainly use the WordPress.com service which does not allow the installation of extensions. Check out the differences between the two WordPress here.
Then type the name of the plugin you have found or keywords that symbolize what you are looking for in the search engine.
Let’s say we need a plugin to create a contact form and you’ve discovered the awesome Contact Form 7. Type Contact Form 7 in the search field and see the results.
Click Install Now to … install the pluginA small window will appear asking you to confirm, click OK to continue.
Several instructions on the progress of the installation will be displayed until the finalization of the installation.
Then click on activate the extension to put it into service.
Your plugin is installed. All you have to do is configure it but this will be the subject of another recipe.
In summary here are the 4 steps to install a WordPress extension from the directory:
1. Go to Extensions> Add to your WordPress console,
2. Find the extension with its name or keyword,
3. Click the “Install” button,4. Click the “Activate” button.
Warning: you still have to configure the parameters of this extension. But, as these settings differ depending on the extensions, I will not be able to describe them in this article.
Note: The extensions directory is also available on wordpress.org. But in this case, first download the zip file of the extension to your PC and then follow the procedure described in the next chapter.
Installing a WordPress plugin purchased or downloaded
Following your shopping, you logically could download the .zip file of your plugin.
Note that if you have downloaded a free plugin from the official WordPress directory or from another site, the following instructions are also valid.
In fact, all that follows will work as long as you have a WordPress plugin in .zip format.
Go back to Extensions> Add, but this time, click the Submit link.Then select the .zip file of your plugin on your computer and click Install Now.
Once the plugin is installed you will get the same screen as for the installation from the official directory. Also click Enable Extension to turn it on.
Then, It will configure your plugin if it has an options page.
In summary here are the 5 steps to install a paid WordPress extension:
1. Download the zip file of the extension to your computer,
2. Go to “Extensions> Add” on your WordPress console,
3. Click on the button “Upload an extension”,
4. Choose the zip file of the extension and click on the “Install” button,5. Click the “Activate” button.
Note: Again, do not forget to configure the extension settings according to your needs. But as these settings are different between 2 extensions, I will not dwell on this point here.
Installing a WordPress plugin via FTP
This method should not be useful because it is possible to manage its plugins directly from WordPress but as this article aims to be complete, we want to show you how.
Let’s assume you have a WordPress plugin in a .zip file.
Unzip it and open your favorite FTP software. Usually it’s FileZilla but for others it’s Coda 2 (which also acts as a code editor).
Let repeat. When you are at the root of your site, navigate to the / wp-content / plugins / folder on your site.
Copy the file of your plugin (obtained following the decompression of the .zip file) with a simple drag and drop file in the plugins folder.
Once your plugin appears in the WordPress plugins folder, you will have to go to Extensions in your administration and click on Activate to start using the plugin.
In summary, here are the 6 steps to install a WordPress extension via FTP:
1. Download the zip file of the extension to your computer,
2. Unzip it to your computer,
3. Open your FTP tool like Filezilla,
4. Connect to your server with FTP credentials provided by your host,
5. Transfer the unzipped folder of your extension to your server in the wp-content folder of your website,
6. Activate it from the “extensions” page.
Note: Once enabled, configure the extension settings. Unfortunately, WordPress extensions all have their own settings.
What to do after installing a WordPress plugin?
As we have seen, once a plugin is installed and activated you will have to configure it. Here, it’s up to you to play.
After configuring your plugin, check that everything is going well on your site (preferably in private browsing) and that the desired functionality is in place.
If not, persevere a little. It may also be that you have not chosen the right plugin. You will have to go hunting again to find the ideal plugin.
The least we can say is that you are spoiled for choice to install a WordPress plugin!
Finally, we recommend that you do not complicate your life and make it easy. That is to say use the installation via the administration either for the plugins of the official directory or that you downloaded elsewhere.