WordPress has a lot of functionality built-in, but occasionally you might find a specific need that isn’t a part of the default software. To accomplish this, WordPress has a plugin architecture where developers can create plugins that add additional functionality to your site. From simple photo galleries to site statistics, to automatic Twitter and Facebook sharing of posts, there is practically a plugin for whatever you need for your blog (over 23,000 at the time of this writing). To start using and installing plugins just follow these simple instructions:
- Login to your WordPress dashboard. We have a tutorial about logging into your Dashboard.
- From the left side menu click plugins. Alist of all the plugins that are installed should appear.
- From this menu you are able to activate and disable specified plugins by using either the single plugin options located under each plugin name.
- To install a new plugin click add new either from the plugin sidebar or the main plugin menu, you will then be redirected to a search engine where you can search using general or specific terms to find plugins. – For example searching “photo gallery” brings up various plugins from different developers.
- Once you find your desired plugin, click install now.
- After the plugin is installed click activate.
After installing your plugin be sure to visit the developers website if you have any additional questions about how the plugin works, as some plugins may require certain codes or other actions to be used properly.
Some plugins will have their own settings page located under the ‘Settings’, other plugins will break out their own menu item on the lefthand side of the Dashboard. The best way to understand how to use a plugin is to make sure you’ve read the documentation available on the plugin’s website as every plugin behaves differently and sometimes it won’t be explicit how the plugin interacts with your website.
To search for the plugin that works best for your site, search through google instead of directly going through the WordPress directory. This way you will be able to find forums or videos that show the best plugins out there to get the job done.
Additionally, be sure to visit https://wordpress.org/plugins/ to find more information on a particular plugin. Also, be sure to check reviews, bug problems, and the amount of times the plugin has been downloaded and updated. This is important to make sure the plugin is worth using. If a plugin has not been updated in several years it may not be worth downloading.