WEB170 » Installing & Using Plugins for WordPress

A plugin works side-by-side with your theme to increase the amount of functionality within your WordPress site.

What is a Plugin?

Plugins are tools to extend the functionality of WordPress. The core of WordPress is designed to be lean, to maximize flexibility and minimize code bloat. Plugins offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor their site to their specific needs.

Go to Plugins in you Admin Navigation to find the Plugins Admin Panel:

Your Plugins Sub-Panel

Your Plugins Sub-Panel

See Also: http://codex.wordpress.org/Plugins_Screen

Step One: Installing a Plugin

To install a plugin, you will need to either find and download one from the WordPress Plugin Directory:

Sample Plugin Directory Download SCreen

Sample Plugin Directory Download SCreen

See Also: http://codex.wordpress.org/Plugins

… where you can download the plugin, extract the zip file and upload it to your plugins folder on your server.

Or… we can do it the easy way and go to Plugins > Add New and search for a plugin:

Search For & Add New Plugin

Search For & Add New Plugin

Notice here that I searched for the Contact Form 7 Plugin. This plugin will allow you to have a nice little contact form anywhere you want to place one or two, etc.

Yup. You guessed it, we are going to now “install” the Contact Form 7 Plugin.

Once you click on the “Install Now” button, you will need to activate the plugin:

Activate Your Plugin

Activate Your Plugin

Click the “activate” button. Yup, that’s it.

Step Two: Using Your Plugin

Plugins come in many shapes and sizes an get used in many different ways. But, let’s take a look at how to use the Contact Form 7 Plugin.

You should now see a “Contact” item in your menu that you will need to click:

Contact Form 7 Admin Panel

Contact Form 7 Admin Panel

For now, all we are going to do is copy and paste that Shortcode into our Contact Page:

Using Shortcode in Your Page

Using Shortcode in Your Page

See Also: http://codex.wordpress.org/Shortcode_API

Once you update your page, you should see a nice little contact form in action:

Your Contact Form in Action

Your Contact Form in Action

Now, go ahead and send yourself an email or two. ;-)

This portion of the Premium Design Works website is written by Mike Sinkula for the Web Design & Development students at Seattle Central College and the Human Centered Design & Engineering students at the University of Washington.


  1. Raven says:

    Here’s my favorite anti-spam plugin for WordPress:


    Even if you have Akismet installed, you may want to add this one as well.

  2. Kari says:

    what be the widgets?
    A widget is anything that can be embedded within a page of HTML, i.e. a web page. A widget adds some content to that page that is not static. Generally widgets are originated by third parties, though they can be home made. Embeddable chunks of code have existed since the early development of the World Wide Web. Web developers have long sought and used third party code chunks in their pages. Early web widgets provided functions such as link counters and advertising banners.


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