The WordPress Manuals

Learn how to use WordPress – and take advantage of its advanced features.

Installing WordPress Plugins

You can install plugins by:

Tips when installing new plugins

You should always install plugins from trusted sources.  All WPMU DEV plugins are ‘Guaranteed To Work’ according to their listed compatibility with the latest versions of WordPress, Multisite and BuddyPress.

While there are thousand of WordPress plugins many of these don’t work on WordPress Multisite sites and may have compatibility issues with Multisites or the theme you are using.

Make sure you check the plugin’s compatibility information before installing. The plugin may not have been updated for the version of WordPress you are using.

Always activate your new theme on a test site, without any other plugins activated, using a default theme such as Twenty Elven, taking notes of any errors which occur.   Then activate the theme you intend to use, and any other plugins, one at a time, to check for any theme / plugin incompatibilities and only enable the theme network wide once you have fixed all issues with the plugin.

Once installed plugins can be:

  • Activated and deactivated on a per site basis inside the dashboard via the Plugins page in the Site Admin dashboard
  • Network Activated or Network Deactivated via the Plugins page in the Network Admin dashboard.

Plugins can be sourced through sites such as:

  2. WordPress Plugins Directory

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Manually installing the plugin using FTP

It is good practice to backup your install completely before installing new plugins.

You install plugins using FTP as follows:

1. Download the plugin.

2. Unzip the file to extract all of the files into a folder on your hard drive.

Extract the zip file

3. Read the Usage instructions thoroughly.  Some plugins involve uploading PHP files and folders to a range of different locations.

  • Plugins obtained from sources such as the WordPress Plugins Directory normally include a “readme” file inside the plugin folder.  Make sure you read the “readme” file thoroughly.
  • Also check the website where you downloaded the plugin from as there may be additional instructions there.
  • WPMU DEV plugins don’t include readme or install files.  You need to refer to the usage page where you downloaded the plugin.

4.  Launch FileZilla (refer to these instructions if you are new to FTP).

5. Locate and open up the folder on your computer that contains the new plugin.

6. Refer to the “Readme’ file or usage page (for WPMU DEV plugins) to determine which folder(s) to upload your plugin to on your install.

  • Most plugins are uploaded to your plugins folder (located within the wp-content folder of your public_html folder)
  • However,  some plugins involve uploading PHP files and folders to a range of different locations.

7. Upload the plugin from your computer, by dragging it into the folder(s) in your WordPress directory as specified by the “Readme’ file or usage page.

For example, to install WPMU DEV’s Tag Feed plugin you upload the tag.feed.php file to the /wp-content/ folder on your install.

Upload the file

If you are using Multi-DB:

  • You need to add the global table lines to db-config.php BEFORE installing the plugin or running the sql.txt
  • The WPMU DEV plugin installation page will specify which lines to add to your db-config.php if using multi-db

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Automatic installation of plugins using the WPMU DEV dashboard.

You can install and update WPMU DEV Plugins directly from inside your Dashboard. No more downloading and uploading of zip files. One Click and you are done!

The WPMU DEV dashboard is designed to provide one-click installs and upgrades of all WPMU DEV plugins and themes, immediate access to support and the community – all from the comfort of WordPress.

Here’s how to install and use the WPMU DEV dashboard:

1. Download the WPMU DEV dashboard plugin.
2. Unzip the file to extract all files into a folder on your hard drive.
3. Launch FileZilla (refer to these instructions if you are new to FTP).
4. Locate and open up the folder on your computer that contains the wpmudev-updates folder.

Locate the wpmudev-updates folder

5. Open up your plugins folder on your install (located within wp-content folder of your public_html folder).

Open up your plugins folder

6.  Select the wpmudev-updates folder on your computer and drag it into your wp-content/plugins/ folder to upload the WPMU DEV dashboard to your WordPress directory.

7.  Log into your WordPress administration panel and activate the WPMU DEV dashboard

  • Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins in the network admin dashboard if you are using WordPress Multisite
  • Activate it in Plugins if you are using an single install of WordPress.

Plugins Network activate

8.  Go the WPMU DEV  > Dashboard and log into your WPMU DEV account.

Or sign up for an API key if you aren’t an existing WPMU DEV member.

Apikey dash

9.  Go to WPMU DEV > Plugins.

Dev Dash Plugins

10.  Click on Install under a plugin to install it directly from inside your dashboard.

Dev Dash install

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Automatic installation of plugins using the built-in plugin installer

1.  Log into your WordPress administration panel.

2.  Go to Plugins > Add New in the network admin dashboard (on WordPress Multsite).

Or  Plugins > Add New  (on WordPress)

3.   Use the sub-menu or the Search or Tag options to locate a plugin you would like to use.

Alternatively, you can click on Upload to install a plugin from your computer.

4.  Click on Details to check Compatibility information.

Plugin search

5.  Click on Install Now if compatible with your version of WordPress.

Plugin install


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