How to install the plugin or theme on OJS 3? » Open Journal Theme

How to install the plugin or theme on OJS 3?

The good thing about using open-source software is you can extend its functionality with a very simple setup because of many supporters of the community or third-party developers. This is also happening for the OJS system, where you can add new functionality by utilizing various plugins such as theme, export-import, authentication and most of this plugin is free. Some of the very popular like Quick Submit where you can publish your article with one single step without following the long step of the OJS workflow, Google Analytics where you can setup integration between your OJS and google analytics.

The plugin list is available on OJS back-end dashboard by accessing Settings -> Website and click the Plugins tabs.

Although OJS provides a very simple way to install the plugin by clicking any plugin name on the Plugin Gallery tab, however, we find that it is actually not as simple as that. This step required your server to enable the shell_exec function on your PHP settings and unfortunately, many Cpanel users cannot activate it or it is disabled by the hosting provider since it will open vulnerability to the web app and prone to abuse by other Cpanel user on the same host.

There are other reasons to know how to install the plugin with other methods :

  1. Some other plugin that made by the third party also does not available on that plugin list
  2. Since the plugin file resides on the PKP server, some of the plugins may be out to date when you need to upgrade the current ones.
  3. shell_exec or tar function is not available on your Cpanel / server.

In this article we recap more method for installing any plugin for your OJS system. Before we continue make sure you have an access as Journal Manager on your OJS system.

So, there are 3 ways to install plugins. i.e:

First of all, you go to your OJS Dashboard. Then you go to Settings > Website (Plugins > “Plugin Gallery”).

Select "Plugin Gallery"

In this “Plugin Gallery”, there are many plugins available for OJS. All of the plugins here are free, so choose a plugin according to your needs for your OJS site.

"Plugins provided by OJS"

As an example / demo, I will download the “Custom Header Plugin”. Please see the GIF image below.

"GIF video explaining how to download directly from Plugin Gallery"

If you get pop up that shown “tar function is not available … ” you can take the other method for installing the plugin that will be explained below.

After you have succeed on installing plugin, don’t forget to activate it on the “Installed Plugins” tabs.

Upload A New Plugin

Before starting, your plugin must be a .tar.gz extension. Otherwise, your plugin can’t be uploaded.

First of all, you go to your OJS Dashboard. Then you go to Settings > Website (Plugins > “Installed Plugins”).

Select "Installed Plugins"

then select “Upload A New Plugin”

Click "Upload A New Plugin" to upload the plugin

Later asked to upload files, upload your plugins that you want to install into your OJS Journal. For example I uploaded the “addThis” plugin. After that, click “Save” to confirm uploading.

Upload your plugin file. then "Save"

And “AddThis Plugin” was successfully installed into the OJS Journal.

"AddThis Plugin" has been installed successfully into OJS.

That’s how to install plugins via “Upload A New Plugin”

Upload the plugin using the Cpanel file manager or FTP

If the two methods above don’t work, there is a big possibility that there is a restriction on the server. Your server seems likely to restrict some functions such as tar, does not allow for uploading some files, restriction of big file size upload, and another thing. This method is used for upload any plugin or theme provided by us because many servers do not allow using the previous two methods for installing a plugin.

Before following this last method there is two things that need worth consideration :

  1. Be sure you have to get the plugin from a legitimate and trusted for the protection of your OJS system.
  2. Use the plugin with the correct version with your OJS.

Follow this step to install the plugin with this method :

First, open your server then go to your OJS folder path.

Open your OJS folder on your server.

If so, go to your_ojs_folder/plugins/your_plugin type.

However, if you don’t know or forget the name of the plugin type. You can check the version.xml of your plugin. You can see an example of the GIF video below.

"If you don't know your plugin type, check the version.xml of your plugin."

From the video above, I got the type Import / Export plugin. So I’ll upload it into import / export folder.

Upload the plugin to the folder according to its type.

And the QuickSubmit plugin was uploaded successfully.

"QuickSubmit Pugin" Successfully installed into OJS
Tools (Import / Export)

“But my plugin is not an “Import/Export” type. Where to look?”

It’s in the Plugins settings. Located in Settings -> Website (Plugins).

Use the "Search" feature to find your plugin type.


So, those are 3 ways to install plugins to your OJS site.

if you are still confused, you can comment below and we will try to answer it.

Hope it is useful.

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