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Why Can’t I Add or Install Plugins in WordPress? (5 Reasons)

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One of the most common questions our readers ask us is: “Why can’t I add plugins in WordPress?”

This situation usually happens when the user is seeing an upgrade message or their admin area doesn’t have the Plugins menu. If you are dealing with this issue, then you are 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

This guide has listed 5 of the main reasons why you can’t add or install plugins in WordPress. Feel free to use the quick links below to skip to the specific topic that applies to your situation:

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 Creator plan or higher, which starts from about $25 per month. If you are on a Free, Beginner, or Explorer plan, then you cannot install third-party plugins.

Trying to install a plugin in WordPress.com

If you don’t want to pay for that amount, then you can move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

If you need help doing that, then you can 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.

Pro Tip: Want to create a website on WordPress.org without hassle? Our WPBeginner Pro Services can help kickstart your online presence and build a beautiful site with no effort.

2. There Are User Role Restrictions

WordPress has a built-in user role management system that assigns different levels of access to users on your website.

Administrators are the highest user role with full access to all functionalities on your WordPress site, including adding, installing, and activating plugins.

On the other hand, Editors, Authors, Contributors, and Subscribers cannot install plugins.

Administrator vs Editor dashboard in WordPress

If you’re working on a website but don’t see the ‘Plugins’ menu, it’s possible you don’t have Administrator access.

In this case, if you trust the person managing the website (e.g., a developer or webmaster), you can politely ask them to grant you Administrator permissions to install the plugins you need.

3. You Are Facing a Memory Limit Issue

The second most common scenario is that you can see and access the Plugins page, but you can’t install plugins. When you try to install plugins, you will see an error message.

This error is usually caused by the PHP memory limit. WordPress is written using the PHP scripting language, and each PHP script uses a certain amount of memory.

There are settings in your WordPress hosting and inside the WordPress core that define the amount of memory a PHP script can use.

When a process reaches this limit, it either gets terminated or shows an error like this on your WordPress website:

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 the WordPress memory exhausted error.

Do note that while increasing the PHP memory limit can sometimes resolve the issue and allow you to install plugins, it’s important to understand that it’s not always the ideal solution.

Malicious code could exploit a high memory limit to consume more resources than intended, potentially impacting your WordPress site’s security.

Before modifying the memory limit yourself, it’s strongly recommended to consult your WordPress hosting provider. They can analyze your website’s specific needs and advise on a safe and appropriate increase in the memory limit, if necessary.

For more information, you can read our article on how to properly ask for WordPress support.

4. You Are on a Multisite Network

Another possible reason that you can’t see the Plugins menu in WordPress is if your site is part of a WordPress multisite network.

A WordPress multisite network allows you to manage multiple websites from a single WordPress installation. This can be useful for situations where you need to run a network of similar websites.

However, a key difference between a multisite network and a typical WordPress installation is that the network administrator has more control over individual sites.

In some cases, the network admin might disable the Plugins menu for individual sites within the network to maintain consistency or ensure stability across all sites.

Installing plugins on multisite network

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 you don’t see all plugins on WordPress multisite installs.

5. You Uploaded the Wrong Plugin File

Let’s say you want to upload a third-party plugin file, but WordPress keeps showing an error message like below:

Example of plugin upload error

In this case, you may want to see if you are uploading the right file in the first place. Plugin files usually come in a .zip package, which means they’ll use the .zip format.

You may also want to check if the zip content files you’ve downloaded are compatible as well. Not all third-party plugins come from trusted sources, and this may be the reason why they’re not uploading properly.

For more information about installing plugins, check out our guides below:

Also, to minimize security risks, we recommend only installing plugins from reputable sources like the WordPress.org plugin directory. The WordPress.org directory has a review process and tends to offer plugins from trusted developers.

Here are some additional tips for choosing secure plugins:

  • Look for plugins with active development and good user ratings.
  • Check the ‘Last Updated’ date to ensure the plugin is compatible with your WordPress version.
  • Read the plugin description and reviews to understand its features and potential compatibility issues.

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 the must-have WordPress plugins and our guide on common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us. Here's our editorial process.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

109 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Evan Cleary says

    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?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

  3. karan says

    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.

  4. Heide says

    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!

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

  5. anis says

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

    • WPBeginner Support says

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

      Admin

  6. Amy Skea says

    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

  7. santosh says

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

  8. Amarnath says

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

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

  9. May says

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

  10. Zeeshan says

    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

  11. Ale Sants says

    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!

  12. Rishabh Jain says

    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…

  13. Mazie says

    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

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

  14. Sasha says

    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.

  15. chris says

    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?

  16. Nalin Puri says

    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

  17. sajilesh kurup says

    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

  18. anh tuan says

    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??

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

  19. Judy Adams says

    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.

  20. Riazvic says

    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

  21. David says

    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?

    • Rizqi says

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

  22. Jacqueline says

    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.

  23. Aziz Nazarov says

    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

  24. candy says

    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 .

  25. Mark says

    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!!!!

  26. mark says

    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

  27. lokesh says

    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

  28. Yeboah Martin says

    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

  29. Jitendra Mahato says

    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

  30. Angelo says

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

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

  31. Lisa says

    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

    • WPBeginner Support says

      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

  32. Omar says

    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?

  33. Rafael says

    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.

  34. zork says

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

    this solved my problem after a migration from local to production

    thank you so much!

  35. Ankur Sharma says

    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!!

  36. Nicole says

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

  37. Ali Shair says

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

  38. Betina says

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

    Thanks!

  39. Tim McCoy says

    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

  40. Leah says

    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?

  41. Nadya says

    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?

  42. ahmad says

    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

  43. Denise says

    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?

  44. Mattie says

    I have managed to solve my problem by deleting the entire MYSQL database and starting over from scratch. :(

  45. Joey Ayoub says

    This really ruins the WordPress experience for me. All I wanted was to be able to write my own meta descriptions and now I’m told I have to pay even more to do just that? For goodness’ sake.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      if you are using WordPress.com, then yes you can not install plugins or modify themes on your own. However, using a self-hosted WordPress site you can make all these changes using free plugins and themes.

      Admin

  46. Ryan Naylor says

    I was having this problem yesterday. I wanted to install the Gravity Forms Directory plugin, which I did and activated. Yet, I couldn’t find it within my dashboard and even following the plugin directions, was not able to follow. My only conclusion is that I need to actually purchase Gravity Form in order to install and use the G.F. directory plugin.?

  47. Ignacio says

    One more (happened to me today):

    I forgot that I wrote this on wp-config:

    define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_MODS’,true);

    That will disable plugins install, updates…

    • FourteenG says

      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.

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