When you first install WordPress, your new installation will come preloaded with at least 2 plugins, Akismet and Hello Dolly. As well, your new installation may require you to update some of them. In this follow up WordPress plugins tutorial, I will show you how to install plugins, how to delete plugins and how to update them.
Depending on which script you use to install WordPress, in addition to Akismet and Hello Dolly, your new blog may also contain 2 additional plugins: Jetpack and a caching plugin WP Super Cache. I recommend that you keep the caching plugin, and Akismet. Delete Hello Dolly and Jetpack. The caching plugin speeds up your site and Akismet prevents spam.
By the way, if you are not quite clear on plugins, you may want to read the tutorial: What Are Plugins.
In today’s WordPress tutorial we are going to cover the following topics :
- Accessing your plugin’s dashboard
- Updating plugins
- How to delete plugins (we will be removing some of the default plugins)
- How to install plugins
Accessing WordPress Plugins
Image 1. Accessing Plugins
In your blog’s Home Dashboard locate plugins. In the image above, we can see a notification (red dot) that one of the plugins needs to be updated. Click on “Plugins” link to access its dashboard.
Image 2. Plugins Dashboard Of Newly Installed Blog
On top of the dashboard you have a notification of “All” (2), “Inactive” (2), Update available (1). It is telling you that you have a total of 2 inactive plugins. Newly installed plugins always need to be activated before they start functioning.
Of the two default plugins, I suggest you keep will keep the Akismet plugin and delete the Hello Dolly plugin. The Akismet plugin is essential for weeding spam from your blog.
Also notice that inside the window there is a notation that there is a new version of Akismet. You will need to update it.
How To Update Plugins
There are 2 ways to update plugins.
- The first way is to update them straight from the Plugins dashboard.
- The other way is to update them from the “Update” dashboard of the Home Dashboard.
1. How to update plugins from their own dashboard – Method 1
Image 3. Updating Plugins Method 1
When you click on the “Update” button, the update takes place automatically.
Image 4. Successful Update
2. Updating Plugins From WP Updates Dashboard – Method 2
Method 2 of updating plugins takes place in WordPress Updates dashboard. You access it from “Updates” link on your Home Dashboard.
Image 5. Accessing WordPress Updates Dashboard
Image 6. WordPress Updates Dashboard
In the WordPress Updates Dashboard, select your plugin to be updated (in this case Akismet). Click the “Update” button and the update will begin. When it is done, you will be taken to another window, which tells you whether the update was successful or not (if the update fails, which hardly ever happens, repeat the process).
Image 7. Successful Update – Method 2
You can update active or inactive plugins. Updating plugins is essential for keeping up with their functionality as well as from the point of view of security. WordPress platform is continuously updated not only to improve its technical aspects but also to protect it from hackers. The security of our blogs is WP developers’ ongoing concern. Good plugin developers are always keeping up with WP updates and update the plugins in keeping with WordPress updates.
If you neglect the updates, you may make your blog vulnerable with respect to its security.
How To Delete Plugins
You can only delete plugins that are inactive. In a newly installed WordPress they are inactive and they are ready to be deleted. Should you want to remove an active plugin, you will first need to deactivate it. The link to deactivate it will be right under the plugin. (instead of “Activate”, there would be a link “Deactivate”).
Image 8. Deleting Plugins
In your Plugins dashboard, click delete on the unwanted plugin (in this case “Hello Dolly”).
When you click on the delete button, for safety reason, you will be served a window where you will be asked, if you really want to delete the plugin. If you do, click the button “Yes, Delete these files” and it will be done. That is all that is to it.
Image 9. Deleting Plugins Confirmation
How To Install Plugins
You will need to install a few plugins before you proceed with writing your posts (well, you don’t have to, but it is advisable). There are a few plugins that I install immediately after installing WordPress. One of them is a WordPress SEO plugin. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I urge you to install an SEO plugin as well, as it helps you make your blog posts “search engine friendly” which is very important if you want your blog to be found through searches.
The one I use on this blog is “All In One SEO Pack”, because I am used to it and because it would take too much effort to change it. However, if I were to start over, I would install WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast (that is the actual the name by which it goes, and it is the name you input in the search box, see below).
There are 2 ways to install plugins.
- From Add New Search Dashboard
- By selecting a plugin from your computer
To install a plugin is really simple. They are always installed in a zip file. All plugins come in a zip file. Upon installation WordPress automatically unzips it. You don’t need to worry about it!
All you need to know is which plugin to install, select it, activate it and sometimes configure it.
1. How To Install Plugins From “Add New Search Dashboard”
For the demonstration I am going to show you how to add “All In One SEO Pack”.
Step 1. Click on “Plugins” in your Home Dashboard and then click on “Add New”
Image 10. Add New Plugin Access
Step 2. Searching for plugins in WordPress
After you click on “Add New” (Image 10., above), you will be brought to a WordPress Repository screen.
Image 11. Searching For Plugins In WordPress Repository
Step 3. Select plugin
In the Repository screen , enter the name of the plugin you want to install in the Search field. I entered “All In One SEO Pack”. WordPress will find the plugin you are searching for and it will present it to you. You’ll have an option to examine it for more details and to install it.
Image 12. Results Of Search
Step 4. Click “Install Now” link.
As soon as you will click on “Install Now” button you will get a pop-up question that asks whether you really want to install this plugin. Since you do, click YES. After you confirm that you want the installation to proceed, the plugin will be installed.
Step 5. Activate
As soon as you hit the Activate Plugin button in most cases you are done. Some plugins need to be configured or turned on. All In One SEO Pack needs to be turned on and configured.
Image 12. Activate Installed plugin
Upon activation you will see the plugin in the Plugins Dashboard. Sometimes, when the plugin needs to be configured, it will also show up on your Home Dashboard, as seen on the image below or in the Settings Option of the Home Dashboard. When it needs to be configured, you’ll have to do it, otherwise it will not be functional.
Image 13. Activated Plugin
2. How To Install Plugins From Your Computer
Sometimes you will have to install a plugin from a computer. This usually happens when you’ll buy a new plugin. The developer will always give some instruction, if the plugin is more complex. But for a simple plugin, you may not have instructions. So in this section I will show you how to install a plugin after you downloaded it to your computer.
Step 1. Access Add New Plugin link (see Image 10.)
Step 2. Click Add New link to enter WordPress plugins screen
Step 3. Click Upload
In the WP Repository screen, you will find an “Upload Plugin” link. Click on this link to proceed.
Image 14. How To Install Plugins From Computer
Step 4. Find plugin on your computer
After you click the Upload link you will be asked to Browse and find the plugin, you want to install, on your computer. Once you find it in your computer files, select it, click Open (or Save) and the process of installation will begin. It will proceed exactly as I discussed above. (You’ll be asked if you really want to install it, when it will install, you will have to activate it.
Image 15. Browsing Your Computer Files
As I mentioned before, the plugin will be in a zipped file. You want to upload it zipped, unless the developer gives you different instructions (sometimes, to confuse us, the developers create one huge zip file that contains another, the actual plugin zip file, plus other information).
!!! When you want to add several of plugins in a short time, make sure to activate them one by one. After each activation ensure that your blog is functioning properly.
We are done! Let’s recap.
In this WordPress tutorial you have learned how to install plugins, how to delete plugins and how to update plugins. You have seen two methods of installing plugins and two methods of updating the. It was a long tutorial, but plugins are an essential component of the WordPress platform. Over time you will come to love them.
Next Tutorial: Must Have WordPress Plugins On a New Blog