Plugging in a Plugin

As we mentioned earlier there are thousands of plugins- some free and some that aren't- that can add features to, and sometimes make big changes to, your site. Some plugins work really well on all browsers; some don't seem to work at all and others 1can actually mess up your site by slowing things down. There are plugins for turning your WordPress site into a social network with many features that you will recognize from Facebook, plugins for backing up your site, plugins for changing the way that your site displays posts, plugins for photo slideshows; the list seems to be endless.

To get started we are going to download and install a plugin called Google Doc Embedder. This plugin, when it works properly, allows you to display MS Word Docs, Powerpoint and PDF files, directly into a WordPress page. Can you think of any way this may be useful? Your resume perhaps?

1. Go to and search for the Google Doc Embedder. 2.

2. Click the big red Download button to save the embedder on your computer.

3. Return to the WordPress Dashboard and click on Appearance and then on Plugins. Next click on "add new plugin".3Afterward,  the "upload plugins" button will appear. Click upload and browse until you find a file called ""

4. Click "Open" and then "Install Now." Because the installer uses ftp 4 to upload things you will need to enter the same information as when you use Cyberduck to upload files. Ie,, your user name, and the same password that you use with Cyberduck.


5. Once the file is uploaded click Activate Plugin. The plugin is activated and ready to go. It's time to put it to work.

6. Click the Pages button and then Add New to create a new page. Name the page something like Google Viewer Demo.

7. Into the body of the page paste

[gview file="" width="600"]

This code can be copied at You might need to paste it in the Text view (vs. the Visual view):

Image showing Visual and Text editors

8. Publish the page and check it out. You should see a Word document that I put online. All you have to do to load in a different Word doc is to upload it to your site and substitute it's URL in place of Note as well that you can also change the width at which the document displays. 

9. It is also worth noting that my experience with this particular plugin has been mixed. At one point, for example, it never seemed to work properly with the Chrome browser. At the moment (as of 2016) it seems to be well behaved so keep your fingers crossed.

When Plugins Don't Plug In

Sometimes the process of uploading a new plugin goes smoothly but not always. If your plugin stalls out before it is properly installed (ie. fails) here is what to do.

1. Try again. If after 2 or 3 tries you are still unsuccessful there is one failsafe method that always seems to work.

2. Download the plugin from 5

3. Use cyberduck to navigate to the plugins folder. FYI, the plugins folder is inside of the wp-content folder.

4. If you see any vestige of the plugin that you tried to install, delete it.

5. Drag the new plugin into the plugin folder. You can upload the zipped version of the plugin and unzip it with terminal right on the server, or unzip the plugin on your computer and slowly upload that folder.

6. If you upload the zipped version of the plugin and, as you may have done in the wordpress installation, use terminal to find your way to the plugins folder

7. After activating terminal and logging into your account, type cd public_html/press/wp-content/plugins and then press enter

8. Type ls and then enter to double check the name of the zipped plugin.

9. Type unzip

10. Return to the WordPress plugin panel and make sure that it finds the plugin.

11. Activate the new plugin and pat yourself on the back.

Plugging in a Plugin Part 2:  Fast and Secure Contact Form

If you decide to use WordPress as a blog, you can always include the option for users to comment on your blog posts and be notified by email whenever someone actually does comment. Another, more conventional way, to get information from people is via a contact form and there are some pretty fancy ones out there that are available as plugins. For this lesson we will install a contact form called Fast and Secure Contact Form. I chose this particular form because it was highly rated and had some interesting features.

1. Once again, return to the WordPress Dashboard and click on Appearance-Plugins and then on "add new" plugins. This time use the search window to find the Fast and Secure Contact Form. If more than one option appears, make sure to select the one that has over 5 million downloads.

2. Once you find it click "Install Now." Afterward, "Activate Plugin"

3. After the plugin activates you should be looking at a list of all of your plugins. If not, click on "Plugins" again. Find the new plugin and click settings.

4. A lot of options should appear including the ones shown below.


Feel free to change the Introduction which is what your users will see when they visit the form. Change E-mail too by deleting Webmaster (including the comma) and leaving just your email address.

5. Scroll down a bit further and look at the Redirect and Form Fields options.  Redirect lets you decide where a user will be taken to after he or she submits a message. The Fields section allows you to whether not fields are required (ie. users have to fill them out), and also allows you to add additional form fields. If you see any advanced options that you want to try out feel free to do so. Once you are done, click Update Options.

6. Scroll up to the top of the Basic Settings page and find the heading titled  Basic Settings and, just below, Usage, where you will find instructions for installing the form into a page. Copy the Shortcode-  

  [si-contact-form form='1']     

so that you can paste it into a page later.

7. Now, click on the Pages button and add a new page. Name the page "Email Me" or something of the sort. Paste the Shortcode  into the body of the page and publish it.

8. Go to your preview tab and check it out by sending yourself an email. Hopefully it works!

A Useful Trick

Have you noticed how some web pages hide part of their content until you click a link? To try this trick out, create a new post with several paragraphs of nonsensical text. Click the text view 6 and insert the following codeImage showing Visual and Text editors


somewhere in the middle of all that text. Update the page and check it out.

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  1. based on what I have heard

  2. The actual url is 

  3. Screenshot

  4. the same protocol as  cyberduck

  5. You will have to search to find it

  6. next to visual