Basics of "Plugins" in WordPress

 Plugins are PHP scripts that offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor their site to their specific needs. Plugins can make everything from small tweaks to massive changes to your site. For example, some plugins can even turn your WordPress site into a fully functioning eCommerce store, social network, or forum. Some can even turn the WordPress builder in to a drag and drop builder making it easier to build a for those who are new to creating websites. 


Where to Find WordPress Plugins

One of the easiest ways to find plugins is to search for them in the WordPress dashboard under Plugins option. Each plugin listed there is available for to be installed into the WordPress. You can also find plugins through the WordPress Plugin Directory, in here they are available to for download as a zip file that you can upload to your WordPress site.  


Installing Plugins 

There are 3 common ways to install WordPress plugins and we will go over each of them below. We will also going to use the plugin Elementor as the example for each method. 


Automatic Plugin Installation

This is the simplest method of installing a plugin. To add a plugin using the built-in plugin installer:

  1. Log into your WordPress Dashboard
  2. Go to Plugins > Add New.
  3. Use the search tool in the top-right to search through the plugin database.
  4. On the search results that appear, click a plugin’s title to read more about it. This page may contain installation notes, plugin documentation or other useful information.
  5. Click the Install Now button to install the plugin.
  6. Click Activate to activate the plugin.


Manual Upload via WordPress Dashboard

If you have a copy of the plugin as a zip file, you can manually upload it and install it through the Plugins admin screen.

  1. Navigate to Plugins > Add New.
  2. Click the Upload Plugin button at the top of the screen.
  3. Click on Browse and select the zip file from your local computer
  4. Click the Install Now button.
  5. When installation is complete, you’ll see “Plugin installed successfully.” Click the Activate Plugin button at the bottom of the page.

Manual Plugin Installation

. In some cases, you may need to manually upload a plugin directly through the file manager.

  1. Log into the cPanel
  2. Under The "Files" section click File Manager
  3. From the File Manager go to the domain directory folder. For the primary domain of the hosting package the domain directory will be the public_html folder.
  4. From this directory go into the wp-content folder and then into the plugins folder
  5. Once in inside the plugins folder click on Upload which can be found in the top tool bar. 
  6. Drag the plugin file into the page or click Select File to browse your local computer for the file
  7. Once the upload is completed click on the Go back link 
  8. The file will now display under the plugins folder. Right click it and select extract 
  9.  From the pop up click Extract Files
  10. Once completed it will display a new folder for the plugin 
  11. Now when you go back to your dashboard and in the list of plugins you will now see it displayed there. 
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