Why cannot I install plugins in WordPress? Solutions

Questions like Why cannot I install plugins in WordPress, what should I do? Or Why I cannot add new plugins? are some of the most repeated on the articles that mention plugin WordPress or some emails that we receive through the contact form.

And although at first glance it may seem easy for a user with knowledge of WordPress, the truth is that for someone starting with his blog that already has the list of plugins to install, it can be a little frustrating not to find the installation panel plugins.

Important: the Plugins menu is by default under the menu appearance and has the icon of a plug, as shown below:


If you do not see or do not have the button “Add new”, read on, because we will see what are the reasons and solutions so you cannot add or install new plugins:

You cannot install plugins in WordPress.com

The first thing to keep in mind is to know if you are using WordPress.com or WordPress.org; for a quick summary, which they call the “free” version or “hosted” version. If you use WordPress.com, I am sorry to tell you that you cannot install plugins, even acquiring the premium package. It is just not possible to activate this tab.

For more information and to check which the version of WordPress you are using, you can see the comparison between WordPress.com and WordPress.org here (In Spanish). Still, if your blog or website requires a plugin and you have no choice but to install it, then it is time to migrate to WordPress.org. The process is simple, and these are the requirements (In Spanish) that you need to have your WordPress.org.

This is the aspect of the administration panel of WordPress.com. As you can see, there is not the option to plugin:


You cannot install plugins because you are in a WordPress Multisite installation

It is not often, but if you are on a WordPress Multisite installation and you have administrator privileges on the network (Super Admin,) I am sorry to tell you that you will not be able to add new plugins.

This is a strange case, as you can see, on the menu appearance you have a series of plugins already installed that can even be enabled or disabled as you wish, but you do not have available the option to “Add New.”

To install plugins you should ask your network administrator to install the plugin you need for it to appear in your tab plugins. Sometimes, especially in networks of universities blogs or communities it can be usually the reason why we cannot install plugins.

This is the plugins panel in WordPress multisite installation:


My role of user does not allow me to install new plugins

In WordPress there are several types of users, each with their permissions and capabilities. They are called roles, and only the role of administrator can install plugins. If you are not administrator of your WordPress you are probably Editor, Author or Contributor, not seeing the option in the desktop plugins WordPress.

The solution to this is to ask the administrator of the blog to raise your range of user or to install for you the plugin you want. You can see who is the administrator or administrators in your WordPress Users> All Users menu.

What you really want is to add Widgets instead of installing plugins

Are you sure that you are looking for plugins? Maybe what you are looking for are Widgets instead of Plugins; sometimes these terms are often confused. The main difference is that Widgets are elements that are added to the sidebar or footer of your website, adding functionality or changing appearance. Widgets are operated from the Appearance menu> Widgets, or you can have full control of them from the Customizer.

Some famous Widgets are searching, recent entries, tag cloud…

Plugins are somewhat different. They are small “packages” that you install on your WordPress.

Plugins add some extra functionality such as backup, contact forms, social sharing, e-commerce (In Spanish)… And some plugins also add Widgets.

Some of our favourites plugin can be found here (In Spanish). And to add them just follow the steps in this tutorial. It is very easy and simple.

Other options and errors when installing plugins:

There are other causes but are minorities. Most of them are related to the server, ranging from problems with memory limit to issues related to permissions on files and folders. Another reason you should go in this section is the plugins that are not compatible with the current version of WordPress. Be sure to install the latest version compatible with WordPress.

In most of these cases, you have access to the WordPress dashboard and even to the button “add new,” but you will have problems installing the plugin. Here we should study each problem individually, and it will depend on the type of hosting and configuration of each WordPress.

We hope you have found the reason of your mistake and that this article will help you solve it. Good luck!

Comments (2)

  1. You should be able to access the file location where your plugins are, from the file manager of CPanel and place the .zip file of the plugin that you donwload from the public WordPress repository. Once uploaded, extract it and then you will see it already installed it, so you can update it.

  2. Thank You For blog, There is alternative option for installing plugin with out zip means, pasting plugin code to wordpress theme.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *