Finding and downloading the files

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The first step in using plugins is locating the one you want to install. The absolute best place to find WordPress plugins is the official WordPress Plugins Directory found at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins where, at the time of this writing, you will find almost 9,000 plugins available for download.

To find Mark Jaquith's Subscribe to Comments plugin, follow these steps:

1. Go to the official WordPress Plugin Directory, located at http:// wordpress.org/extend/plugins.

The home page opens; see Figure 10-8.

2. In the search box at the top of the page, enter the keywords Subscribe to Comments and then click the Search Plugins button.

3. Locate the Subscribe to Comments plugin on the search results page, and click the plugin name.

The Subscribe to Comments page opens in the WordPress Plugin Directory, where you find a description of the plugin, as well as other information about the plugin (see Figure 10-9). For example, take note of the important information in the FYI box:

• Version: The number shown in this area is the most recent version of the plugin.

• Other Versions: This link takes you to a page that displays all the previous versions of the plugin. This is helpful if you have to revert to an older version of the plugin if the new version fails on your individual WordPress installation.

Figure 10-8:

Use the search feature of the WordPress Plugin Directory page to find the plugin you need.

Figure 10-8:

Use the search feature of the WordPress Plugin Directory page to find the plugin you need.

• Last Updated: This displays the date that the plugin was last updated by the author.

• Requires WordPress Version: This tells you what version of WordPress you need to successfully use this plugin. For example, Figure 10-9 shows that the Subscribe to Comments plugin requires WordPress version 2.0.6 or higher; that means that this plugin doesn't work with versions lower than 2.0.6. Helpful!

• Compatible Up To: This tells you what version of WordPress this plugin is compatible up to. For example, if this section tells you the plugin is compatible up to version 2.3 — that means you can't use the plugin with versions higher than 2.3. I say usually because the plugin developer may not update the information in this section — especially if there have been no changes to the plugin files themselves. The best way to check is to download the plugin and install it and see if it works! (Figure 10-9 shows that Mark Jaquith's Subscribe to Comments plugin is compatible up to WordPress version 2.3.1 — however, I can verify that it does work in all versions up to the most recent, 2.6.1.)

• Author Homepage: This link takes you to the plugin author's main Web site.

• Plugin Homepage: This link takes you to the specific Web site for the plugin. Often, this is a page within the plugin author's Web site.

Figure 10-9:

The download page for the Subscribe to Comments plugin.

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4. Click the Download button to download the files.

If you're using Internet Explorer, click the Download button, and a dialog box opens, asking whether you want to open or save the file. Click Save to save the zip file to your hard drive, and remember where you saved it.

If you're using Mozilla Firefox, click the Download button, and a dialog box opens, asking what Firefox should do with the file. Select the Save File radio button and then click OK to save it to your hard drive. Again, remember where you saved it.

For other browsers, follow the download instructions in the corresponding dialog box.

5. Locate the file on your hard drive, and open it with your favorite decompression program.

If you're unsure how to use a decompression program, refer to the documentation available with the program.

6. Unpack the plugin files you downloaded for the Subscribe to Comments plugin.

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