What Are Plugins + How To Install A Plugin In WordPress (Without Breaking Your Site)

(Last Updated On: February 22, 2020)

WordPress plugins

What’s so special about them?

Why’s everyone talking about plugins? what are they?

Do I need them?

Is that you? well let me help you 

You NEED plugins!

They make your WordPress experience easier than you can imagine

And in this post, I’m going to walk you through the process of selecting  your best plugins and installing them

*This is going to be fun

But first, let me answer your burning questions

What Is A Plugin + How To Install A Plugin In WordPress Without Getting Confused

What Are Plugins In WordPress?

I love making things easy to understand

So let’s pretend you are a fairy, you know fairies need magic wands to do their magic, right?

So in WordPress plugins are your magic wands

They allow you to add complicated or advanced features on your WordPress blog easily without learning a single line of code or hiring a developer

They’re pieces of software that contains several features and are created with non-techy savvies like you and me in mind

So don’t worry about adding cool features on your blog,

Think of social sharing buttons, author bio, related posts you name them

You can add all those features on your WordPress blog seamlessly

And the best part is, there’re thousands of free WordPress plugins available at the WordPress plugin directory that you can start using anytime 

That’s one of the added blessings for using WordPress 

Some links in this section are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to buy toys for my kids if you use these links. You will not be charged extra. I only recommend high-quality products. I don’t recommend them based on the small amount I earn if you decide to make a purchase, I only recommend what I think can truly be useful to you. Thanks a million for your support.

What Is The Difference Between A Free And A Premium Plugin? 

What's the difference between a paid and a free plugin

Naturally, as humans when the word free is used Paid instantly comes in our minds

I’m sure you’ve already guessed that there are premium (paid) plugins out there as well 

And you are right!

There are also thousands of paid plugins out there

In most cases, free plugins have both a free and a paid version 

The difference between a freemium and a premium version of a plugin is the advanced features that the plugin developers add on their premium version

For example, there is a plugin called WPForms you can use it to create contact forms for free and that’s it 

But if you upgrade to a premium version you will be able to create payment forms, bonus forms, surveys, polls, signatures, the list goes on  

Is It Necessary To Pay For A Plugin?

Oh I used to ask myself if paying for a plugin was necessary

Especially when some bloggers and affiliate marketers made it sound like I don’t have a choice but pay for a plugin they promote 

You know that situation when you are searching for something that will do that magic trick on your WordPress site and someone tells you that a free plugin won’t cut it at all

And then you feel like a total loser because you don’t have a single penny in your wallet

felt like a total loser

On the other side, a good Samaritan is marketing a free plugin which got similar features

Then you’re stuck in the middle battling to decide whether it is necessary to pay for a plugin or not

Let me help you before you get into that situation

The truth is… it depends on your preferences

For instance, when a free plugin has all the features that are paid for on other plugins

 There is no reason for  you to pay for a premium version

Unless if you’re like me who doesn’t like switching plugins every now and then 

Another reason why it might be necessary to pay for a plugin is when you want full support from the developers 

Because most developers don’t give support to free users 

That being said, some plugins don’t have freemium versions

For example, there is Tasty Pins a cool plugin that I can’t get off my mind till I buy it

It allows you to add multiple Pinterest pins and pin descriptions on your pins and hide them inside your blog post 

This plugin is awesome, it makes it easy for your readers to pick a pin of their choice when they want to share your post 

And the cool part is your pins will not be scattered all over your post, they will appear when your reader clicks a Pinterest share button 

So coooool right?

Like I said the plugin doesn’t have a free version 

This means if you desperately need that feature (like I do)  then it becomes necessary to pay for the plugin

How Does A Plugin Affect Your WordPress Site Speed? 

When you sink deeper in the blogosphere you will hear LOTS of noises about plugins 

There is a time when I wanted to uninstall all of my plugins and learn some coding so that I could save my site because some “SEO experts” were saying that all plugins affect site speed 

Well I failed to understand tech gibberish

 failed to understand coding
I didn’t understand a single word

So I researched more about using plugins in WordPress

The truth is,, well-coded Plugins won’t affect your site speed

But you mustn’t install plugins that have similar features 

For example, if you have All in one SEO plugin and you hear all the Yoast SEO praises across the net in such a way that you can’t think of anything but to lay your hands on the awesome Yoast

You will have to deactivate All in one SEO first and then install and activate Yoast SEO 

Using them both will definitely slow down your site or break it even though they’re both well coded

(This applies to all plugins which have similar features)

That said, it’s a good practice to uninstall all the plugins that you aren’t using 

Only keep the useful plugins

And there is something that I want to make clear before you install any plugin

I know that you will hear this somewhere

Again some “SEO gurus”  say you should use only 5 or fewer plugins on your WordPress site because if you use more than that you will slow down your site 

Well that’s just a myth, it’s not true 

And it’s not practical, you will discover that the more your blog grows the more your demand for other WordPress features 

This means you will need to install more plugins unless you know how to code 

Having more useful well-coded plugins won’t slow down your site (well coded is the keyword here)

At WPBeginner they use over 60 plugins and their site isn’t slow at all

What matters is the quality of the plugins you install not the quantity

How Do You Know If A Plugin Is Safe To Use

 I have mentioned earlier that well-coded plugins are safe to use 

This means there are some plugins that aren’t safe at all

They might break or slow down your site

Or even worse, open gates for hackers and get your innocent blog hacked with a single click because they might contain malicious codes  

That’s bad news

But don’t fret, all you need to do is cautiously select your plugins

Here’s how: 

  1. Before installing your desired plugin visit WordPress.org and read all the reviews of the plugin you want to install
  2. Install plugins that are recommended on your favourite review site, favourite WordPress tutorials site or by a blogger you trust
clich here to download a free ebook: 10 Crucial steps you need to take before installing a plugin

How To Install A Plugin In WordPress 

Now that you know all the important deets about plugins it’s time to install your favourite plugins

There are two options for installing plugins:

1) Installing A Plugin via WordPress Plugin Search

On your WordPress dashboard click plugins then click add new

On your WordPress dashboard click plugins then click add new

NOTE: All the plugins you find here are free and are open for WordPress.org users

You will see a list of plugins and there is a search box on the right side

You can either enter the name of the plugin that you want to install or type in some keywords that are related to the plugin that you want 

For example, if you want a maintenance mode plugin which allows you to close your site when you are making some changes and display a notice that your site is undergoing maintenance

Type in maintenance and you will see all the maintenance mode plugins, select your favourite and click install

plugin search

After installing your plugin don’t forget to click activate for your plugin to start working

B) Installing a plugin as a zip file Via Admin Plugin Upload

The second option is by uploading a plugin in a zip file format

This is an option for those who want to download a plugin directly from the developer’s site

It can be free or a paid plugin

If it’s a paid plugin you will be able to download it when you complete your payment

For this tutorial’s sake, let’s download Monarch a social sharing plugin by Elegant themes

First, I will visit Elegant themes and login to my dashboard and click a download button under Monarch

downloading Monarch a social sharing plugin from Elegant themes

NOTE: Monarch isn’t free, you need an Elegant themes membership account to get your hands on Monarch. You only pay $89/yr to have full access to this plugin plus you also get access to Bloom a powerful opt-in plugin, Divi page builder, Extra theme and the Divi theme one of the best WordPress themes

After downloading, the plugin will be in a zip format

Monarch zip file

Now head over to your WordPress Dashboard 

Click plugins >> add new and click upload on the left side

Upload a WordPress plugin

Now click choose file, from there you will be directed to your computer

Select the plugin zip file and click install now 

Click install now to upload

Once your plugin is successfully installed don’t forget to activate

Remember to configure all the settings and you’re done!

Congrats! you’re now one of the best WordPress plugin installers in town

Enjoy Installing Your Favorite WordPress Plugin!

Installing plugins can be fun but don’t get carried away you might end up doing more harm than good

Remember some plugins may break your site

Download plugins that are only useful to you 

If you feel that you will need a certain plugin later then don’t install it, wait for the right time and don’t worry it will remain free 

Do you have a favourite plugin so far? let me know in the comment section below, I would love to check it out

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions, I’m always ready to help you

I hope this post helped you, please show some love kindly share with your peeps and don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest

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