After installing WordPress, the first thing every beginner needs to learn is how to install a WordPress plugin.
A WordPress plugin is essentially a bit of code that “plugs in” to your self-hosted WordPress site. In human terms, that means a WordPress plugin is something that adds new functionality to your WordPress site or extends existing functionality on your site.
One of the benefits of WordPress is that enterprising developers have written tens of thousands of WordPress plugins that you can add to your site.
In simple words, WordPress plugins are like apps for your WordPress website. They allow you to add new features to WordPress like a contact form, slideshow, shopping cart, and more.
There are thousands of free and paid plugins available for WordPress. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to install a WordPress plugin.
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.
Or, they can also add smaller features like an Instagram feed. Some WordPress plugins don’t even have front-facing effects. For example, you can install plugins to improve your site’s performance or help it rank better in search engines like Google.
Plugins every WordPress site needs
WordPress Security: Security is a must-have for every WordPress website. There are lots of security issues on the internet. Wordfence and ithemes securities are examples of plugins you can use to secure your website. You can check our WordPress tutorials on Security to help you make a good choice.
WordPress Backup: WordPress backup is essential for every WordPress website. A backup plugin allows you to store your database and your overall WordPress installation offsite. This becomes particularly useful when your site crashes. Since it has all your files, you can get back online in no time.
WordPress Contact Form: Most site owners need a way for users to contact them. These could be customers, clients, readers, etc. There are many WordPress contact form plugins you can select from. Some popular ones in this category include Gravity forms and WPforms.
WordPress SEO: SEO plug-ins optimizes your blog/website for search engines. Read our beginners’ guide on WordPress SEO to learn more.
The wrong plugin could:
- Cause an error on your site
- Open an unintentional vulnerability that hurts your WordPress site’s security
- Slow down your site
- Intentionally introduce malicious code
To avoid these problems:
- Try to use plugins from reputable developers or directories (like WordPress.org or Code Canyon)
- Read reviews and check how popular a plugin is before installing it
- Check for the last time a plugin was updated to make sure it’s still maintained