How to install a WordPress Plugin

Each week, I’m going to start blogging about WordPress and the many tips I’ve compiled in my 15+ years developing WordPress websites. The first one that I’m contacted mostly about is 1) How do I build a WordPress website and the second question that I’m asked most frequently is: 2) How do I install a plugin from the back-end of my WordPress website?

So often, especially from people who are managing their own website, I hear frustration and complaints about a plugin that they’ve purchased from Codecanyon, or found free online that is showing an error after installation. The simple answer to why this is happening is: you oftentimes have to extract the contents of the .zip file before installing. If you try to just install the entire zipped plugin file, you will encounter an error about a CSS file or other error letting you know that the plugin was definitely NOT installed properly. The same holds true for any theme file that you’ve purchased from Theme-forest or elsewhere. The zipped file contains many contents, one being the WordPress theme .zip.

For example: I received an online support help question this morning from someone who works for a local high end marketing firm here in Tucson. They couldn’t figure out why one of their clients kept getting an error from the Plugin installation area of the Dashboard. They swore that everything had been downloaded completely and insisted that they had been sent the incorrect file.

Upon further inspection, it was an easy oversight and also an easy fix. The zip file that they were attempting to install was the original .zip ( After walking him through the process of unzipping that file, he realized that there were Documentation files and other files included in that zip. He was then able to *just* install the and all installed correctly on his clients WordPress site.