How to install a WordPress plugin manually

Table of Contents

Sometimes you won’t find plugins by searching in the plugin section of WordPress and this is generally when plugins are paid-for add-ons, such as Elementor Pro.

In these instances you’ll need to get the plugin .zip file from the plugin creator and install it manually. This is super simple to do and there are two main methods to doing this.

Install through the WordPress back-end

Get the plugin

Download the plugin from the creator. If you’ve paid for it’ll be somewhere in your account section most likely and will download as .zip file.

Upload the plugin

In your WordPress back-end, navigate to Plugins > Add New. At the very top next to the page title you’ll see a button labelled Upload Plugin. Click on that and you’ll have the option to Choose file. Choose your .zip file and click Install Now.

Activate the plugin

Once installed you’ll be taken to a screen that will tell you if the installation has been successful. If so, click Activate Plugin to be able to use the plugin.

Install via ftp

Why you might need to do this

If for whatever reason uploading via the back-end doesn’t work you can also upload the files via FTP. To do this you’ll either access to the hosting control or the FTP details to the host using something like Filezilla.

Unzip the .zip

Start by unzipping the .zip file on your computer. You’ll see that within the folder created after unzipping there’s another folder which is normally just the name of the plugin without version numbers. We’ll call this folder the Plugin Folder from here on.

Access the server

Using a file transfer programme such as Filezilla, log in to your FTP. If you’re not sure of the details, ask your host.

Upload the plugin

Within your server’s directory you need to find the folder where the WordPress files are stored. This is often called something like public_html. You’ll know you’ve got the right folder because you’ll see folders called wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes.

To upload the plugin, navigate to wp-content > plugins. Once here, you need to upload the Plugin Folder mentioned above into the plugins folder.

Once uploaded, head back over to the WordPress back-end and navigate to Plugins. You should see the new plugin listed as installed but you’ll need to activate it before you can use it which you can do by clicking on Activate.

Install via control panel

If you have access to your hosting control panel you can upload the .zip file to the wp-content > plugins folder and unzip it there, although you might need to move some of the files to the correct folder before continuing.