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Why Can’t I Add or Install Plugins in WordPress?

One of the most common questions we are asked by WordPress beginners is: “Why can’t I add plugins in WordPress?”. It usually follows up with how the user is seeing an upgrade message or that their admin area doesn’t have the plugins menu. If you’re encountering this issue, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we will explain why you cannot add or install plugins in WordPress.

Why Can't I Add or Install Plugins in WordPress

1. You are On WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a blog hosting service that offers a limited version of the popular self-hosted WordPress software. See our guide on the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for more details.

WordPress.com users cannot install plugins unless they upgrade to the business plan which costs about $299 per year. If you are on a free, personal, or premium plan, then you cannot install third-party plugins.

WordPress.com plugins

If you don’t want to pay the $299 per year, then you can move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. If you need assistance in doing that, then use our free WordPress blog setup service (just make a note that you want us to transfer your site, and we will do it for free).

2. You are Facing Memory Limit Issue

The second most common scenario is that you can see and access the plugins menu but unable to install plugins.

The failure notice is usually caused by the PHP memory limit. There are settings in your WordPress hosting and inside your WordPress core that define the amount of memory a PHP script can use. When a process reaches this limit, it either gets terminated or it gives an error like this:

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 67108864 bytes exhausted

The quick fix to this problem is increasing your PHP memory limit. You can do that by adding this line to your wp-config.php file:

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');

For more detailed instructions, see our guide on how to fix WordPress memory exhausted error.

3. User Role Restrictions

WordPress comes with a built-in user role management system. Sometimes web developers don’t give administrator access to their clients. Instead, they create an editor account for them.

Administrator vs Editor dashboard in WordPress

Only administrators can install and activate plugins on a WordPress site. If you are the owner of the website, then you need to ask your developer to make sure that you have administrator permissions.

4. You are on a Multi Site Network

Another possible reason as to why you can’t see the plugins menu in WordPress could be that your site is part of a WordPress multi-site network, and the network admin has disabled the plugins menu item on network sites.

Installing plugins on multisite network

It is pretty much the same scenario as WordPress.com. The network admins need to consider the server stability, WordPress security, and load balancing issues. To solve this problem, you can ask your network administrator to install plugins for you.

For more on this topic, see our guide on why do you not see all plugins on WordPress multisite installs

We hope this article helped you learn why you can’t add or install plugins in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of must have WordPress plugins for your website.

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98 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Hi, I tried to add new plugin, and theme. But I am currently getting 403 Forbidden error. What can I do?

  2. I have a multisite and I installed several plugins but one isn’t showing. I can see it when I go to plugins and I have activated it but it is not showing up in my dashboard so I cant use it. Help. Why isn’t a particular installed and activated plugin showing up in m dashboard but other plugins are?

    • Not all plugins work with multisite installations, we would recommend checking with the support for that plugin and they would be able to help with any issues like this.

      Admin

  3. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing knowledge. We have a wordpress website hosted on our company internal server. Now we would like to migrate it to our cloud platform.
    I tried to click Add new plugin to install “All-in-One WP Migration”. However whenever I click on ‘Add new’ link server is returning 503 error. Rest all links on admin page works fine.
    Any suggestions?

  4. I set up a WordPress site in 2014 and was able to get plugins without going into a business plan. And I sent up another site a few years ago and it was also not any problem to add plugins. As far as I know, it was via WordPress.com and not WordPress.org – I downloaded a theme and editors that and used my own URL hosted by a hosting company. I’m quite confused now as no one seems to be saying that this policy of having to pay for a business plan is a new thing. Is it a new thing?

    • If your site is on a hosting provider and not the WordPress.com website then it is a WordPress.org site. Having to purchase the business plan on WordPress.com for access to plugins is not something new.

      Admin

  5. I had one site of mine that had the issue of no option for adding or updating plugins. For some reason define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_MODS’,true); was in my wp-config file.

    Once I deleted that line, my plugin options were restored. It took me a while to find this solution. I hope this helps people find this solution.

  6. Thanks for the good article! I am bit confused, because I am super administrator and can’t install any new plugins. I can activate and deactivate plugins for sites or the whole network. But I don’t have the page for plugin installtion. Do you have any suggestions in this case? Thanks!

    • If you’re using a multisite like it sounds like you are, you would need to install the plugin in the network admin area rather than on the individual sites.

      Admin

  7. when i try to install a pluging it shows the following:
    Installation failed: Abort class-pclzip.php : Missing zlib extensions
    what should i do

    • For that error, you would want to first reach out to your hosting provider and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  8. I can’t download I get this message. I have tried various plugins and get the same.
    Thank you

    Installation failed: Could not copy file. wp-fastest-cache/wpFastestCache.php

  9. hey i cant upload and install pluginsin my wordpress website.
    its shows just the blank page.please help me

  10. Hey, I am troubling to install wordpress.
    “The MySQL Connection could not be established.”
    It is written like this what should I do?

    • You would want to ensure your username and password in your wp-config file are the correct ones, you may also want to check with your hosting provider’s support if this is a new error and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  11. Hey.
    How Can I transfer my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org to get the benefits of the second one ?

  12. hi!
    i am install pulgin but faild.
    and ERROR IS

    Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in G:\xampp\htdocs\Ecommrace\wp-includes\Requests\Transport\cURL.php on line 462

  13. Hello! Same problem here. Cannot ADD plugins.

    More details of my site:

    WordPress 5.2.2 running Bridge theme, so WordPress.org. no .com

    Hostgator for hosting

    I am an admin and no one else has ever done any work on the site, so I am the only admin for sure.

    Please help and thanks in advance!

  14. Hey!
    I want to install WP super cache plugin but when I search it in plugin dialog box, on right top corner it shows ‘Not Available’ Why is it so? Is there any problem with my blog. Please help me out…

  15. Don’t know what I’m doing wrong with new wordpress.com blog (true newbie). My menu doesn’t look like those above. All I see are the following 7 options, all are listed on the left: Site Identity, Colors & Backgrounds, Fonts, Header Image, Menus, CSS and Widgets. I guess my question is, is this as it should be for the free (.com) site? Is it from this menu that I will create and complete my free blog?

    Sorry to be so ignorant about this. I think I’m missing something as I don’t imagine it’s supposed to seem so confusing.

    Thank you!

    Mazie

    • Sadly, our tutorials are for WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com which is what you’re using would be part of the confusion. If you go to the wp-admin area of your WordPress.com site the admin area will look similar but you will still have the WordPress.com limitations.

      Admin

  16. Deactivate WordPress Plugin: WP Editor and you will be able to see list of your hidden plugin. WP Editor not tested/comparable with new WP version and php 7.

  17. I am trying to install a plug-in on a website that a company designed for me but I don’t have the plugin option in my administrator menu (made sure I was an admin not just a editor). My admin bar is also Red with “PRODUCTION SERVER” next to my name. Are these too related? How to I add plug-ins if I don’t have the the plug-in tab?

  18. I am using InstantWP Named automated wordpress local server.If i buy my hosting service can i shift my blog from instant vp to that hosting server of GoDaddy

  19. Hi,

    on wordpress website i am able to see pulgin menu, however as i hover mouse pointer over it not displaying option menu of add new

  20. please help me! i’m a admin on my website but i can’t see any plugins on plugin dashboard, in my hostin, it still no problem??

    • Hello,

      You may not have an admin account or someone you hired to work on your website has disabled your access to plugins area. Sometimes developers do this to make sure that their customers don’t accidentally break their websites.

      Admin

  21. I tried adding the plug in contact form 7 add-on now I get a white a screen after activating or trying to activate. I cannot go to my dashboard or anything in word press now. When trying to FTP in to deactivate plugin I am not sure what login and password to use. Can you please help me? I don’t want to lose my whole website I created because I cant get in now.

  22. Hi,
    I am having an e-commerce website, unfortunately, I am having a theme which came with a premium plugin which I have purchased. their plugin section is available but widget section is not available how can I put google translate code into that theme where should use that code in the theme files?
    I hope to get an answer here.
    thanks in advance for your support.
    Kamal

  23. Hello.I have the same issue of can not add new plugin in wordpress plugin panel.

    1. No “add new” plugin options
    2.No “trash” plugin options
    3.Other issue is I can not find the “editor” in appearance panel

    Would you like to let me know how can i fix this?

    • I have same issues, it also can’t update existing plugins, because the link is gone. Have got the solutions?

  24. Hi. I purchased the Divi theme and plug in file. The theme uploaded fine but when I go to upload the plug in file it fails. Anything I can do? Thank you for your support on this matter.

  25. Hello,

    Thank you for sharing such a valuable info.
    Maybe this’s a bit off topic question.
    I’m having a small issue at the moment with adding a new submenu page.
    So basically I got an Astra Theme (not a pro version) with Beaver Builder.
    I add the page as usual then add to the menu under sub-item, all looks good.
    But when I click on the sub menu page it doesn’t take me there. It basically takes me to a home page.
    What could be an issue? Could you help me please?
    Thank you

  26. I cannot activated and install my plugin.

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_FUNCTION, expecting ‘)’ in E:\AppServ\www\shopify\wp-content\plugins\ninja-fb-private-reply\src\Facebook\autoload.php on line 45

    please help me fix this .

  27. Hi, I cant log on to my wordpress account. It says “ERROR: There is no user registered with that email address.” I know for a fact that that is the correct email address associated with the account.. Please help!!! I dont have any of the other information required to reset the account (such as transaction ID) HELP!!!!

  28. should I switch to wix or weebly? this is stupid. I have to sit here for hours googling to not be able to do the stupidest simplest things. I don’t want to learn wordpress I just want a simple ecommerce site that wont be like a college course to get set up.

    M

  29. I’m getting this message while installing the plugins.

    An unexpected error occurred. Something may be wrong with WordPress.org or this server’s configuration. If you continue to have problems, please try the support forums.

    How to solve please help

  30. I had this message when trying to upload a plugin:

    POST Content-Length of 11688443 bytes exceeds the limit of 8388608 bytes in Unknown on line 0

  31. Hi,
    I have migrated my blog yesterday. All the things are good but the error in the plugin. I have deleted all the plugins. After then, while i am starting to install the plugin, then No, any plugin is adding..
    While adding….
    Messages lke this…
    Could not create directory. /home/danfeh5/public_html/example.com/wp-content/plugins/boombox-theme-extensions

  32. Hi.Why is it my comment section is closed?Even if i downloaded comment plugin it seems nothing changed

    • Hi Angelo,

      If comments are closed on all your articles, then go to Settings » Discussion page inside WordPress admin area and check the box next to ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles’ option. Any new article you now add will have comments enabled by default.

      For your older article you will have to edit them and then on the post edit screen click on the Screen Options button at the top right corner of the screen. Check the box next to Discussion option. Now scroll down below the post editing area and you will see a Discussion meta box where you need to check the option ‘Allow Comment’ option.

      Admin

  33. Hi I got this when trying to install jetpack and its not on my list of plugins and I am not sure what to do Installing Plugin from uploaded file: jetpack.4.9.zip
    Unpacking the package…

    Installing the plugin…

    Destination folder already exists. /home/content/p3pnexwpnas02_data01/46/2075146/html/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/

    Plugin install failed.

    Return to Plugin Installer

    • Hey Lisa,

      Your website already has a folder called jetpack. You need to connect to your website using an FTP client or File manager in Cpanel and delete that folder to install the plugin from the zip file.

      Admin

  34. Hi, I can see and add plugins in “my” installation (its not a multisite) of wordpress but suddenly there’s no option for activate/delete under the plugin name, but I still can do this trough the bulk actions option… did someone know why this happens?

  35. I was added as ‘admin’ in a multisite WordPress so I couldn’t see the Plugins. Asked for the ‘network admin’ to enable Plugins in ‘Network Configurations’ but looks like that just allows me to see the Plugins, still not able to install new plugins.

  36. awesome man: define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);

    this solved my problem after a migration from local to production

    thank you so much!

  37. i have installed wordpress on pc with xampp. when i install ULTIMATE MEMBER plugin it shows an error and when i upload the plugin it shows the memory limit problem..
    i have already added that line you mentioned i.e.
    define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);

    and also i have changed a line in php.ini file in xampp

    ; Maximum allowed size for uploaded files.
    upload_max_filesize=3000M

    nothing is working .. please help me ..
    Thanks!!

  38. I have wordpress.com/wp-admin.. I have admin rights and i still have no options for adding new plugins. Any suggestions?

  39. if i Host my wordpress.com site on Hostgator or go daddy then it is possible to upload themes or plugins

  40. Hi,
    If I buy a domain from wordpress.COM will it let me download and install plugins like adsense?

    Thanks!

  41. I get the following message when I try to download any plugins:

    Downloading install package from ….
    Download failed. Could not open handle for fopen() to /home/content/95/9132095/tmp/seo-wizard-BrHIzr.tmp

  42. I was sure I had a wordpress.com site, but I have access to plugins like Jetpack and Discuz. Has this changed since this article was published, or do I have WordPress.org?

  43. I am trying to get rid of dates on my wordpress blog but everywhere I look seems to be suggesting downloading a plug-in but from your post we are not able to install plug-ins…. So does this mean we are not able to delete dates in regular wordpress.com?

  44. hi i have this warning when i want to install plugin or them that is happended to me when i moved wordpress from loaclhost to livesite
    Downloading install package from
    Warning: unlink(/home/fanousmd/public_html//home/fanousmd/public_html/tmp/contact-form-builder.1.0.39-iYKOjV.tmp): No such file or directory in /home/fanousmd/public_html/wp-admin/includes/file.php on line 481

    Download failed. Destination directory for file streaming does not exist or is not writable.

    Return to Plugin Installer

  45. Is there a way to add a booking calendar to a wordpress.com site considering it does not take plugins. Is there a non-plugin option? What are the options other than switching?

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