Update: It appears that the Multi Plugin Installing “Free” version is not available for download at this time. The premium version is still available for sale though.
Whether you’re a website developer or designer, or just find yourself regularly setting up new WordPress sites, this guide will show you how to save some of your precious time when adding your core list of plugins to a new WordPress installation.
If you have a selection of favorite or essential plugins that you use on almost every WordPress site you setup, then by creating a list of those plugins in the free Multi Plugin Installer, you can generate a reusable list of plugins that are installed and activated in bulk in just a few clicks.
If this sounds appealing to you then read on to our guide to using Multi Plugin Installer to save time and effort when setting up a new WordPress site.
Multi Plugin Installer Overview
As mentioned, this free plugin can help save you a lot of time by giving you the ability to install multiple plugins in just a few clicks. To give you a better idea of what this plugin can do, here is a list of its main features:
- Create a list of plugins to install and activate in bulk
- Include plugins from the WordPress.org directory
- Include plugins hosted on a server or cloud service such as Dropbox
- Bulk upload, install, and activate plugins from your computer
- Save the list and export it for use on other sites
- Create multiple lists for different groups of plugins
As you can see this free plugin is pretty flexible and covers most of the options for where the plugins you want to add might be located. Now to help you get started, here is our guide to using Multi Plugin Installer.
Install Multi Plugin Installer
As the Multi Plugin Installer is a free plugin it can be installed on your site from within your WordPress admin dashboard. Simply login to your WordPress site (yourdomain.com/login/) and then go to Plugins > Add New and then enter ‘multi plugin installer’ in the search box (or just click the link above).
After clicking on Install Now and the Activate Plugin links, you can then access the plugin from the Multi Plugin Installer menu item.
Creating your List of Essential WordPress Plugins
From the Multi Plugin Installer control panel you can create your list of essential WordPress plugins to be bulk installed on your site. You can also reuse the list on other sites saving you time when setting up a new WordPress installation.
The first step is to give your list a name. This will allow you to export the file the plugin uses to create the list, and then import it on another site using this plugin. This saves you from having to do the next step on every site in the future.
You can give your list any name, but as you can create multiple lists for different types of sites, make sure you give it a descriptive name. For example if your list of plugins for client sites might be different to the list of plugins for your own sites, therefore requiring two different lists.
The next step is to list the plugins you would like to install from the WordPress.org plugin directory. With the Multi Plugin Installer you can simply enter the name of the plugin, or to be more precise, you can also enter the URL or address of the plugin page or file.
When you’ve created your list of plugins from the WordPress.org repository, you can either hit the Install plugins button or the Install & Activate plugins button.
If you are sure you want the plugins on the list active on your site right away then click the second button, otherwise click the first button to just add them to your site in an inactive state. After clicking on one of the two buttons you will get a progress update as the installations take place.
Installing Non-WordPress.org Hosted Plugins
Another feature of the Multi Plugin Installer plugin is that it lets you install and activate multiple plugins from your computer, such as premium or custom plugins, all at once, instead of uploading and installing them one by one.
To add multiple plugins from your computer to your WordPress site, simply click on the Choose Files button and then select one or more plugins from your computer to upload and activate on your site in bulk.
With Multi Plugin Installer you can’t save a list of local plugins to install in the same way you can by those hosted on the WordPress.org repository. However, as you can select multiple plugins at once, you can still save a considerable amount of time using this feature.
If you do have items on your list of essential plugins to install which aren’t hosted by WordPress.org, then you can still add them to your MPI import file of plugins to be installed in one go.
To do this, simply upload the zip files for the plugins you would like to include in the list to a server and then add the full URL to those files to the list, along with those from the WordPress.org plugin directory.
If you can’t or don’t want to upload the plugins to a server, you can use a cloud storage service such as Dropbox to store the plugins. Then it’s just a case of getting the public URL of the file(s) and adding it to the list of plugins as before.
Then after adding the URL of the file in your Dropbox folder and clicking on the Install & Activate plugin button, the plugin will be installed. The Dropbox URL can be accompanied by the URLs of plugins hosted elsewhere, and the names of those in the WordPress.org repository.
Exporting and Importing the Plugin Lists
Each time you create a new list of plugins, a new MPI file is created. These files can be downloaded to your computer and then uploaded into other WordPress sites that have this plugin installed on it.
This is great as whenever you start a new WordPress site, you can simply install the Multi Plugin Installer plugin and then import your MPI file containing the names and locations of your essential plugins.
The MPI files can be opened in a text editor such as Notepad and edited to remove or add any plugins as your requirements and preferences change. This prevents you from having to create a new list from scratch.
Hopefully you now have a good understanding of how this plugin works and how it can save you a lot of time and effort whenever you setup a new WordPress site. And if you’re interested in more features make sure to checkout the Multi Plugin Installer Premium WordPress plugin over on CodeCanyon. This version of the plugin adds in extra features for plugin backups emails, a premium and more professional looking admin interface an more.