How to add + remove plugins from WordPress

Adding plugins to WordPress

There are two ways you can go about adding a plugin to your site — the easy way + the nerdy way.

The easy way to add plugins

If the plugin you want to add is a free plugin listed in the plugin area of WordPress, you can add it the easy way.
Go to Plugins > Add New to search for the plugin you want. Once you find the one you were looking for, click Install to add the plugin to your site.
WordPress will do its thing + you can then click Activate when it’s done…if you are ready to activate the plugin immediately.

The nerdy way to add plugins

For premium plugins, or those that are specifically coded for your site, you might not have the option to add them via searching in the plugin area.
What you’ll need is the zip (compressed) folder of the plugin files to upload — that’s it. With the zip file, head to Plugin > Add New + click the Upload button at the top of the screen. Either click + drag the zip file to the upload area or use the tool to locate the zip file on your computer.
Once you upload the zip file, you’ll have the option to Activate the plugin right away if you are ready to do so.

Removing plugins from WordPress

When you are done with a plugin, or realize you are no longer using it, your best bet is to remove it completely from your site.
The biggest reason for this is because it keeps your site more secure by ridding you of the need to provide maintenance for a plugin that you aren’t using. But also because some plugins do not show available updates when they are inactive — which means there could be an update to resolve a security issue + you wouldn’t be notified of it.
Just like adding plugins, you can go about removing them in 2 different ways.

The easy way to remove plugins

Head to Plugins > All Plugins to clear out the ones you no longer need.
First, set the ones you are done with to inactive by either going one by one or checking the checkbox next to each plugin name + clicking the “Edit” dropdown at the top of the screen to deactivate.
Once all plugins that you aren’t using are inactive, you can delete them — Again using the one at a time method or with the checkboxes to clear them out in a batch.
Hovering your mouse over the plugin’s name will bring up the option to delete it from your site if you want to go the one by one route.

The nerdy way to remove plugins

If you use + love FTP or SFTP, head to your plugins folder (your-site/wp-content/plugins) from your FTP tool.
You can then delete the folder for the plugin that you want to clear out. But your best bet is to follow the easy way of removing plugins to make sure you don’t miss an extra folder in the uploads area that may be tied to the plugin.
Even though it’s not spring, it’s never a bad idea to do some spring cleaning on your website. It will speed your site load time up, save you maintenance time each month + ensure that things run better. Who doesn’t want that?
Review your plugin list in the next week or two + find ones that you know you aren’t using. Or, even better, ones that you don’t remember installing. If you have a web person to ask, check with them before deleting anything.

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