A self-hosted blog with WordPress.org gives you the versatility to do just about anything you want in terms of design and functionality with a multitude of extensions. However, getting the most out of extensions and other features usually requires the installation and maintenance of many individual extensions. The goal of the popular Jetpack extension for WordPress is to consolidate all these features into one easy-to-use extension that can be installed and maintained as easily as any other individual extension.
The Jetpack extension is a fast and convenient way to boost your self-hosted WordPress blog by adding a wide range of invaluable features. Some of the most important features of the extension are the sidebar image widget, automatic social media posting, email subscriptions, recent tweets, statistics and analytics, social media comments, and more.
Jetpack installation is similar to installing any other extension. You will need a self-hosted WordPress website running version 3.8 or later and a free account on WordPress.com (different from your blog account), since the extension uses WordPress cloud resources.com.
To begin, we will see the Jetpack installation process, with future installments showing you how to configure the features mentioned above.
How to install Jetpack
As is the case with any WordPress plug-in, you can install Jetpack from the WordPress extension directory, accessible through your Administrator dashboard or manually by downloading the extracted files to your FTP server. However, the first method is by far the simplest, as explained below:
- Log in to your WordPress Administrator Dashboard and click on “Plugins” in the left menu.
- Click “Add” and type “Jetpack” into the search box. The first result should be “Jetpack by WordPress.com”.
- Click “Install Now” under the extension heading and then “OK” to confirm. Wait a few moments for the extension to download, unpack and install.
- Click on the “Activate Plugin” link. The extension will be activated and you will be returned to the Plugin page.
Jetpack requires you to connect it to a WordPress.com account to take advantage of its built-in cloud features. The WordPress.com account is distinct and different from the account created for your blog. If you do not have a WordPress.com account, you can create one here. Once done, you can start the Jetpack connection process:
- Go back to the Plugin page, click on “Connect to WordPress.com” in the green bar near the top of the page.
- Enter your WordPress.com username and password on the next page and click “Allow Jetpack”. Jetpack should now be ready for use.
Congratulations! Jetpack is now ready to be configured and used. However, you should also make sure to keep Jetpack up-to-date, as new versions are released regularly. When updates for extensions are available, the number of available updates will be displayed on the “Extensions” button in the Administrator dashboard. To update Jetpack, follow these steps:
- Open the Extensions page in the Administrator dashboard and scroll down to find the “Jetpack by WordPress.com” extension.
- If an update is available, an alert appears under the extension. Click on the “update now” link to download and install the latest version automatically.