How To Install WordPress Plugins

Now that you’ve installed WordPress, it’s time to perk up the plain vanilla functionality by learning how to install WordPress plugins!

How to Install WordPress Plugins

What’s a Plugin?

For those of you who are just getting to know WordPress, a plugin is a piece of code that you install and activate. Plugins can be complex or simple, and they either add functionality to WordPress or change existing WordPress behavior.  Some plugins have settings that you change based upon how you want them to perform.  Some have CSS files (remember CSS?) that style their results.  Others require you to edit something in your theme.

The WordPress site has a comprehensive list of every plugin available.  From here, you can search for the functionality you’re looking for and see reviews of the plugins, number of downloads, installation notes, etc.  Chances are, if you want to do it, there is a plugin for it.

We’ll start by installing a plugin that saves some real estate on your WordPress dashboard, the Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu plugin.  By default, the WordPress dashboard menu is on your left.

WordPress Default Dashboard

When you install and activate Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu, the menu moves to the top, eliminating the need for lots of vertical scrolling.

WordPress Dashboard with Ozh Admin Plugin

There are two ways to install a plugin, through your WordPress dashboard, or through FTP.

How to install a plugin through your WordPress dashboard
  1. Navigate to Plugins » Add New
  2. In the search field, type in the plugin you want to install, in this case we’ll search for “Ozh Admin”
  3. When the search results appear, locate the plugin and click “Install Now”
  4. Click “Activate Plugin”

If you have a zipped file of your plugin, you can also install it through the WordPress dashboard.

  1. Navigate to Plugins » Add New
  2. Click “Upload Plugin”
  3. Choose your zipped file.
  4. Click “Install Now”
  5. Click “Activate Plugin”
How to install a plugin using FTP

By now, you know that I love FTP and use the Core FTP client (if you need a refresher on FTP, read this post).  To install a plugin using FTP:

  1. Download the plugin that you want to install from the WordPress plugin repository
  2. Unzip it to a folder on your computer
  3. Sign into Core FTP, or your chosen tool
  4. Navigate to
  5. FTP the plugin folder from your computer to your server
  6. In your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins » Installed Plugins » Inactive and activate your new plugin

Warning. Plugins are addictive!  However, too many plugins can slow down your site dramatically, so as amazing as they are, be judicious with their use. Coming soon, an article with my must-have plugins. Which are your favorites?

6 comments on “How To Install WordPress Plugins

  1. [email protected] writes...

    Loving all the word press info! Once I select a theme, am I stuck with the font type and size that is preset? Is there any way to make the font larger. I’ve found a theme that I love, but cannot find a menu to change the font.

    • Ami writes...

      Hi Danielle! We are going to talk LOTS and LOTS about WordPress themes shortly!

  2. Allison writes...

    Hi there,

    thanks for all this information. I’m new to wordpress and I downloaded a plugin.

    The only thing is that on my dashboard there is no ‘plug in’ option. In your image the ‘plug in’ section is between ‘Appearance’ and ‘Users’. It simply doesn’t appear on my dashboard.

    Might you have any insight for a newbie?

    Thanks again!


    • Ami writes...

      hi allison! judging from your blog address you host at – unfortunately doesn’t allow you to install plugins or customize. all of this info is for which you host yourself. i hope that helps!

  3. Allison writes...

    Ahhh thanks Ami. I hadn’t realised that (blush!). Such a shame.

    Cheers again!

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