Using Plugins Just the Basics

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In this section, I show you how to install a plugin in your WordPress blog, using the built-in plugins feature. The auto-installation of plugins from within your WordPress Dashboard only works for plugins that are included in the official WordPress Plugin Directory. You can manually install plugins on your WordPress blog, which I cover in the next section.

WordPress makes it super easy to find, install, and then activate plugins for use on your blog — just follow these simple steps:

1. Click the Add New link in the Plugins menu.

The Install Plugins page opens where you can browse the official WordPress Plugins Directory from your WordPress Dashboard.

2. Select a plugin to install on your blog:

• Term: If you want to search for plugins that allow you to add additional features for comments on your site, select Term in the dropdown menu and then enter the word Comments in the Search text box on the Install Plugins page. Click the Search button, and a list of plugins returns that deal specifically with comments.

• Author or Tag: Select Author or Tag in the drop-down menu and then enter the author or tag name in the Search box and click the

^ Search button.

/i^jCV You can also search by tag by clicking any of the tag names that appear at the bottom of the Install Plugins page under the Popular Tags heading.

I want to install a very popular plugin called Subscribe to Comments by Mark Jaquith (see the next section in this chapter for a description of this plugin). Enter the words Subscribe to Comments in the Search text box on the Install Plugins page.

Figure 10-7 shows the results page for the Subscribe to Comments, which is listed as the first plugin on the Search Results page.

3. Click the Install link below the plugin name.

A Description window opens, giving you information about the Subscribe to Comments plugin, including a description of the plugin, version number, author name, and an Install Now button.

Figure 10-7:

Finding a plugin to install using the built-in Plugin Directory search.

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4. Click the Install Now button.

You go to the Installing Plugins page within your WordPress Dashboard, where you find a confirmation message that the plugin has been downloaded, unpacked, and successfully installed.

5. Specify whether to install the plugin or proceed to the Plugins page.

Two links are shown below the confirmation message:

• Activate Plugin: Click this link to activate the plugin you just installed on your blog.

• Return to Plugin Installer: Click this link to go to the Install Plugins page.

The auto-installation of plugins from your WordPress Dashboard works on most Web-hosting configurations. However, some Web hosting services don't allow the kind of access that WordPress needs to complete the autoinstallation. If you get any errors, or find that you are unable to use the plugin auto-installation feature, I recommend getting in touch with your Web hosting provider to find out if it can assist you.

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