Adding a WordPress Plugin

If you would like to add a plugin to your WordPress website this is a two-part process.

  1. Install the plugin
  2. Activate the plugin

Before you install a plugin you need to know what one you need if you do not have one in mind. Care needs to be taken to only install a reputable and well-maintained plug to avoid security issues.

1. Install a WordPress plugin

First click on ‘Add New’ under ‘Plugins’ on the left menu. If you are already in the plugin section there will be an ‘Add New’ button at the top, this will also work:

Add new options

Once you are on the ‘Add Plugins’ page you can type the name of the plugin you want to add into the search box. The list of available plugins below will automatically update as you type:

Plugin search

You can find out a lot about plugins before you install them by clicking on the ‘More Details’ link.

More details link

This will open an overlay with lots of information. Make sure the plugin you want to use has been updated recently, a sign that is still actively maintained and not abandoned. The number of active installation is a good indication of its usefulness and trustworthiness – the higher number the better. You can also read reviews from other users and get an idea of their experience using it. This details page will also give a description of the plugin features and often there are screenshots showing it in action.

Plugin details

Once you have decided on what WordPress plugin you would like to use you can click on the ‘Install Now’ button:

Install Now button

The button text will change to ‘Installing’ as the files are transferred from the WordPress server to your own server that hosts your website:


Once that is done that is done the plugin is installed on your server but cannot be used until it is activated. The button will now display ‘Activate’:

activate plugin button

If you have a plugin from another source such as a paid plugin which is normally supplied as a PDF file the process to install is slightly different.

On the ‘Add Plugins’ page select ‘Upload Plugin’ then upload the pdf.

Upload WordPress plugin option

Once uploaded it will be ready to activate.

2. Activate a WordPress plugin

Activating a plugin is very simple. If you have just installed the plugin the ‘Install Now’ button will be an ‘Activate’ button – click on that:

the activate plugin button

If you installed the plugin previously, go the list of plugins using the ‘Installed Plugins’ link in the left menu then click on ‘Active’ under the name of the plugin:

activate plugin

In this example we have just activated the ‘Elementor’ plugin – we get a message saying a plugin has been activated, in the plugin list ‘Activate’ has been replaced with ‘Deactivate’ and there is also a new menu item for the plugin:

plugin activated

Not all plugins will show in the menu. Some will appear in a submenu (such as under ‘Settings’), some will not be accessible via the menu. Some will have a settings option on the plugin page as in this example.