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So, you have finished building your first WordPress blog. Then what? Besides posting, you’ll want to expand the capabilities of the blog by installing some plugins.

Then comes the second question; which plugins exactly? There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins available out there. Too many options. Everybody has different preferences, different needs. Not to mention that WordPress users tend to be happy-go-experimenty-want-to-try-them-all kinda people.

So, which one?

Well, there is one plugin that you must install first before you install any other plugins. It’s called Plugin Central (download it here).
Plugin Central
The reason is simple; this plugin will enable you to install every other plugin easily via the web interface. No more meddling with FTP clients, no more memorizing logins and passwords to the FTP account.

This also means that anytime and anywhere you come across an interesting plugin, you can instantly install it from your blog’s web interface. All you need is the download link of the file, which can be easily obtained by right-clicking on the “download” button on the plugin’s page on the WordPress site.

This plugin can also install multiple files which have already been downloaded and saved in your hard drive (or anywhere, as long as you know the address). This feature will enable the users to copy sets of plugins from one blog to another. A real time saver although I haven’t tried it yet though.

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Another benefit of this plugin over the traditional FTP method is the installation speed. The process can be done in less than two seconds after you click the ‘install’ button (but the timing can vary case by case – it depends on many factors). This is significantly helpful for those who are not fortunate enough to have a lightning speed internet connection (believe it or not, some of us still use that antiquated 56.6 kBps dial up modem – or slower – phone line!)

What I don’t like about “Plugin Central” is that users have to go to the Dashboard to use it. So you have to go back and forth between Dashboard and the Plugin pages to install and activate any other plugins.

Another disadvantage is the installation failure that you will get if the plugin is inside the sub folder of the folder of the zipped file.
Pluginstaller
The second option of this kind of plugin is Pluginstaller (here’s the download link). It’s a bit old, but still compatible up to WordPress 2.5.1. (I think. I’ve tried it but sometimes it gives me an installation failure). This plugin have some advantages over its younger and more powerful companion. Pluginstall can also uninstall plugins that you don’t need anymore. It goes further by telling you which plugins are broken and let you delete them. Anybody who has tried millions of plugins would appreciate this feature.

Moreover, Pluginstall will also simplify the default interface. This will surely make your plugins list interface less cluttered. Much less cluttered. You don’t have to scroll and re-scroll down the page to do the tedious activate-deactivate-reactivate process.

I use them both: Plugin Central to install, Pluginstaller to uninstall and simplify the plugin page. The combination works fine for me and has made my blogging life easier.

Do you have other must-install-first WordPress plugins? Let us hear the list in the comments below.

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