Wordpress plugins are tools created by the Wordpress community to extend the functionality of Wordpress, each plugin offers custom functions and features that Wordpress users can tailor to specific needs of their Wordpress website.
Wordpress official website maintain a list of Wordpress plugins and a list of plugin compatibility with different versions of wordpress, you may also find lots of other Wordpress plugins that is maintain by individual bloggers in their respective website that is not listed in the official Wordpress website. No matter which route you have obtain Wordpress plugins, you should always check through the plugin authors development status on the plugin, as Wordpress progress to newer versions, certain plugins that is no following the upgrade cycle might not be compatible anymore.
Before installing Wordpress plugins to your live website, test it thoroughly in your test site to ensure it is fully functioning as expected, go through the development status and check for any issues with current Wordpress version at the plugin author's website, read through the readme/install file in the plugin compressed file for any special instructions to setup the plugin. BACKUP your live website before doing any installation work is a good practice to follow.
Generally, installing Wordpress plugins involves the following steps :-
- Download the plugin compressed file.
- Extract the compressed file and upload the extracted files/folder to the /wp-content/plugins in your Wordpress website
- Login to your Wordpress Administration Panel, click Plugins and you should see your newly upload plugin listed
- Click Activate next to the new plugin name to activate the plugin
Please note that certain plugins may require you to make some changes to the Wordpress theme in order for the plugin to be shown, or there are some new special configuration variables for the plugin added in your wordpress administrations screen, these instructions are generally provided in the readme/install file in the plugin compressed file. Therefore, reading these files after uncompressing the compressed file is important in the installation process.