There are currently more than 2600 WordPress themes and over 31,000 plugins available for free, while scores of top level brands such as Sony, Disney, LinkedIn, Google, Time Magazine, etcetera use WordPress for its robust features and universal appeal. But that does not mean that you too must follow suit.
Even though WordPress is free software which you can easily download and use or modify according to your wish and intention, it may be prudent to ask yourself whether you at all need to install and use it. For instance, if you are considering what plugin you should use to install and manage Google Analytics code on your website, you might as well ask a more topical question as to whether you at all need a plugin for Analytics. The answer obviously will be in the negative. To be more precise, you can just copy the Analytics code and paste it into either your header:php or footer:php file (alternatively, drop it into a simple box, if use the Genesis Framework) so that it gets called on all the pages.
Nevertheless, assuming that you need to install a WordPress Plugin, here is how to do it.
Presently, there are two ways you can install WordPress Plugin – (1) By way of uploading the file through the automatic plugin installer built into WordPress via the Dashboard and (2) By manually installing into the plugins folder inside of the WordPress Installation via FTP.
How to install a WordPress Plugin automatically through WordPress
>> Go to your WordPress admin panel
>> Go to Plugins > Add New
>> Under Search, type in the title of the WordPress plugin or the keyword, author or tag in the search form; alternatively, click a tag link under the search form
>> Look for the WordPress plugin you intend to install.
>> Click Details to get further info about the plugin as also instructions you are likely to save to help set up the intended plugin.
>> Click Install Now to finally install the plugin. As a preventive measure, a pop up window will ask for your confirmation in regard to the installation.
>> In case it is the first occasion of your installing a WordPress plugin, you may have to provide the FTP login credential information. If, on the other hand, you have done it previously, the login info will already be there. This bit of information, incidentally, becomes available through your web server host.
>> Click Proceed to go ahead with the installation when the installation screen will display the status of the procedure as successful while listing problems if failed.
>> When successful, click Activate Plugin in order to activate it or Return to Plugin Installer for taking other actions.
How to install a WordPress Plugin manually via FTP
Though installing WordPress Plugin evidently is an easy process, it nevertheless needs some form of familiarity with FTP (Files Transfer Protocol) programs. However, you can follow the steps outlined below for manual installation of WordPress Plugins
>> Download the current version of the WordPress Plugin to your computer.
>> Access your site’s server with an FTP program.
>> Upload or copy the Plugin file/files or folder to the / wp-content / plugins folder.
>> In your WordPress Administration Panel, click on Plugins from the menu at the top.
>> At this stage, you should be able to view your new plugin properly listed. In case it is not there, check the folder (FTP program) whether it is installed or not. If not, upload the files once again.
>> To turn on the WordPress Plugin, click Activate on the far side of the list.
Many a slip between the cup and the lip
Despite your best efforts, WordPress Plugins fail to function due to some reason or the other. Here are some of the issues that are mostly responsible for mishaps.
- Minor typing error often creates the blunder – Minor typing error when typing and pasting the Plugin code into the WordPress theme mostly causes the failure. For example, one slip of the finger during typing in UTW_ShowWeightedTagSetAlphabetical can cause the disaster.
- Smart Quotes / Curly Quotes – WordPress blogs turn quote marks into pretty, smart quotes or curly quotes, which will not work in template files. Plain text and plain text quote marks are required. Plugin authors often don’t know how to convert quotes to " or apostrophes into ' in order for them to become the “text” characters on a post that will also work inside of PHP code. This often causes the problem.
- Wrong Plugin / wrong WordPress version – Some Plugin authors make multiple versions of their Plugin for sundry versions of WordPress, causing confusion. Then there are others who create one Plugin and then forget to update it to work with different versions, giving rise to more confusion and error.
Even though choosing a good WordPress plugin will result in better experience for your users; however using discretion while selecting the right Plugin can only add to the charm. So, when in doubt, it is far better to dislodge the idea for the interest of both the creator and the user.