How to Manage and Batch Install Your WordPress Plugins
According to Forbes, over 60 million websites globally are powered by WordPress. Numbers like this show that WordPress is no doubt a leading contender when it comes to Content Management Systems (CMS).
The application of WordPress has gone past just a blogging platform; it has evolved over the years to become a platform for virtually any website of choice, all of which is due to the flexible backbone upon which WordPress was developed.
One of the platform’s most loved features is the use of Plugins – tools that extend the functionality of WordPress.
If you have been a continuous user of WordPress, either in building your network of blogs or developing websites for clients, you should have a collection of plugins reserved for installation on every WordPress site.
WordPress lacks the ability to install multiple plugins at once. Therefore, we are left with no option than to install our can’t-do-without plugins one at a time.
If you find this as frustrating as I do, WPCore will definitely get you excited.
Introduction to WPCore
One of my investigations on Google led me to WPCore – a simple tool for managing collections of your favorite WordPress plugins. WPCore also gives you the ability to batch install your WordPress plugins.
WPCore works in four simple steps:
- Create a collection and add your favorite WordPress plugins.
- Visit any of your WordPress sites and install the WPCore plugin.
- Drop the collection key into the WPCore plugin settings within WordPress.
- WPCore automatically pulls in all the plugins from your collection and installs them on your site.
Follow me as I walk you through the steps above.
Create a Collection
Head over to WPcore.com, register and login to your account.
Click on the New Collection navigation menu to create your plugin collection.
Enter the collection name/title, set the visibility to public or private and hit the
Add Plugins button to begin collating the plugins.
Start entering the plugin names and click the
Add button to include them in the collection.
Take note of the collection
Key displayed at the top right-hand corner. This will come in handy when installing the plugin collection in WordPress.
Installing the Plugin Collection to WordPress
While still on the WPcore website, click on the
Download Plugin link to download the plugin.
Go to your WordPress dashboard, upload and activate the plugin.
On the plugin settings page, add the collection key and submit.
The plugins in your collection will be listed ‘ready to be installed’.
Hit the install button to take you to the installation page.
On the installation page, check all the plugins, select
install from the drop-down menu, and hit the apply button to initiate the plugins installation.
Watch as WPCore installs the plugins all at once.
See how easy it is to install multiple plugins in a single click without having to do it one at a time?
WP Install Profiles Plugin
Similar to WPCore is the WP Install Profiles (WPIP) plugin.
It allows users to define groups of plugins, called profiles.
Once a profile has been entered, WPIP will send calls to the WordPress Plugin Directory, download the plugin files and unzip them to the site’s plugins folder.
Additionally, WPIP saves the profile in a downloadable format, so you can upload it to your next site and download the same plugins with a single click.
To bulk-install multiple WordPress plugins using WPIP, get the plugins repository URL slugs, add them to the
Install these plugins text area field, and then click the submit button to begin the plugin installation.
To get the URL slug of plugin for example:
Simple Feed Customizer with the repository URL –
simple-feed-customizer part is the URL slug.
You could use the slug with or without hyphens (e.g. simple-feed-customizer = simple feed customizer).
Aside from WPcore and WPIP, you can significantly reduce the time and pain in installing your plugin collection one at a time via WordPress
Plugin Favorites and
Must Use Plugins features.
The ability to
favorite a plugin was added to the plugin repository in 2012. Version 3.5 introduced the ability to display, and easily install, a user’s favorite plugins from the Add New plugins page of the dashboard.
To favorite a plugin:
- You must be logged in to the official WordPress Plugins Repository.
- While you are viewing a plugin’s page, click the
Favoritelink below the plugin’s download button.
Once you favorite a plugin, it will show up in your public profile, as well as your rating of the plugin, if applicable.
To install plugins from your list of favorites, within the WordPress dashboard:
Favorites, type in your WordPress.org username and click the
Get Favorites button.
Install the plugins you want installed on the site.
Favorite could save you time searching for your commonly used plugins.
Must Use Plugins
Must-use plugins (a.k.a. mu-plugins) are plugins installed in a special directory inside the WordPress content folder. They are automatically enabled on all sites in the installation.
Must-use plugins do not show in the default list of plugins on the Plugins page of
wp-admin – they appear in a special Must-Use section – and cannot be disabled, except by removing the plugin files from the must-use directory, which is found in
wp-content/mu-plugins by default.
To install a mu-plugin, follow the steps below:
- FTP/SFTP to your server and navigate to your WordPress installation folder.
- If there is no
wp-content, create one.
- Copy the folders of the plugins you want to make mu-plugins to the
- Unlike regular plugins, you don’t need to activate them before they start working.
If you are using WordPress Multi-User, you could save yourself the stress of having to install the same set of plugins in your network of sites when you use Must-use plugins.
A significant chunk of the time in setting up a new WordPress site is spent installing plugins.
You can save a lot of time when they are installed in bulk, rather than having to do it one at a time.
Apart from the procedures mentioned in this article, how do you install your favorite plugins when starting a new WordPress blog or website? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.