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Lesson 10 – Part 5 – Installing Plugins

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Next we’re going to talk about installing plugins and I’m going to demonstrate two methods of installing plugins. I’m going to show you the quick installation method which is what you’re going to use almost all the time.

And I’m going to show you the manual FTP method which is a way that you used to have to do it. The manual FTP method is also useful especially if you run into problems. So it’s a skillset that you need to have ready at hand even if you ordinarily use the automatic or quick installation method.

Quick Installation Method

The quick installation method is just to come over here to plugins and select Add New. I’ve got a bunch of extra messages there so let’s just come over and look at this site that’s more likely what you see. Let’s come over here to Add New and click Add New here, one of the two. Click Add New and now this is your install plugin screen.

Ways to Find Plugins

You have a variety of ways to find a plugin to install. In the first place, you can search the WordPress.org repository for plugins by typing a search term here in and getting a search screen. We’ll do that in just a second.

You can also directly upload a plugin that you have downloaded to your computer. The plugin does need to be in a zip format so if you’ve unzipped it, it’s going to fail. So if you download a plugin, you want to make sure that it stays zipped up.

You can also browse around these featured plugins and popular plugins and newest plugins and favorites. Favorites is favorite plugins you may have favorited as a WordPress.org user. So if you logged in and you favorited a plugin then this can come, you can get it from there.

But as a practical matter, we’re going to primarily use search as a means finding it. Now you can also use these tags. So you could use say tag sidebar, click on it and that’s going to show you these. To tell you the truth, I have absolutely no idea why there are so many of these different plugins under a tag of sidebar but it’s such a generic term.

Search for a Specific Plugin

We’re going to search for NextGen Gallery. This is a photo gallery that we’re going to install today but that we’re going to actually work on next week. So all you have to do here is select Install Now and say yes. Of course, I want to install the plugin. And it tells you how everything is going.

You can choose to activate the plugin and now NextGen Gallery is activated. I’m going to deactivate the plugin for the time being because we’re not going to be using it until next week. But that’s the quick installation method; it’s very very quick and very simple.

FTP Installation Method

The FTP installation method is somewhat different. We’re going to come over to WordPress.org. You can use this method in lots of different contexts. But let’s see, wordpress.org and we’ll go to plugins and we’re going to search for Black Studio.

Download the Plugin

We’re going to install the Black Studio TinyMCE widget. So I’m going to click on that and then this gives you a nice description of the widget and everything it can do. This is one of my favorite widgets and I’ll show you why here soon.

And what we’re going to do is click on this button, download version such and such. And it is downloading right down to your Downloads folder wherever. I’m going to show the folder and remove it from there and take it over to my business website folder under downloads and I’m going to paste it there. So that’s inside my folder here.

Extract the File

And then since I’m using ftp and I have a synchronized browsing with my live site, I’m going to go ahead and extract all. There it is. And I’m going to extract it to here. Well, not there. No, didn’t I just make it complicated? I’m still learning my way around Windows 8. And let’s see, we’ll just go ahead and extract it into downloads for the moment. Okay so there it is extracted.

Add File to FTP

Now I’m just going to cut it from there and then go to my WordPress section and wp content and plugins. This is why we created that plugins folder and hit paste. And then open up Filezilla. Go to my site manager and find the one I want to do. So let’s connect… okay. And then open up wp content, open up plugins. You can see here the plugins that are already installed. Here’s the plugin that I’m going to install.

While we’re at it actually, come back over here to wp content. You’ll see that there is this Thesis folder. The last time we did this was I think back before we installed Thesis actually so I don’t have this Thesis folder on my local machine. I’m going to download it now. And I’ll have one more of those things to do here in a moment while this is downloading. Let’s go back over here to wp content, wp content has a Thesis folder in it. But wp content themes also has a Thesis folder in it. Let’s go and download that.

So you’ve got these two Thesis folders. The wp content themes thesis is all the core files for Thesis 2 and the wp content thesis is for your skins and boxes and all those kinds of things that you upload and customize. What we’re doing right now is just making sure that we have a decent local copy of our Thesis installation.

Now that we’ve added that plugin to the site, if we refresh it we’re going to see it show up here. Now the Black Studio Tiny MCE widget is available to us and we can just activate it like that. And we’ve now just manually uploaded this Tiny MCE Black Studio widget.

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