So you’ve trawled the internet and finally found a plugin that you think will do the job and improve your site, but, frustratingly, you get an error message and it won’t install. There can be many reasons why a WordPress plugin won’t install – here we outline 7 of the most common reasons and what you can do to navigate around this.
There are missing files
Maybe you tried to upload a zip file to WordPress but you get an error stating that no valid plugins were found and the installation failed. This could mean that there are some files missing from the zip. Review the contents and whether all the necessary files are in there. WordPress have recommendations for files that should be included in plugin packages that you can cross-check with.
When installing a plugin or theme, you might receive a “syntax error” or “parse error” which means that there is something wrong in the code. If you see this during installation it means that the developer has made an error. It is possible to find and fix the error yourself if you have the right skill-set but it would be wise to find an alternative option to use instead.
You’re exceeding limits
If you can see and access the plugins menu but aren’t able to install, the problem might be that you are exceeding your memory limit.
If this is the case, then the install process will be terminated and you might receive an error message stating that the memory limit has been reached.
There are settings in WordPress that define how much memory a PHP is able to use so you can increase it yourself. This can be done by adding the following line of code into your wp-config.php file
As well as memory limits, you could also encounter the problem of exceeding file size limits for uploads. Again, this is a limit that you can change within the wp-admin folder in your directory – read more on how to increase your file size limit here.
You’re on the wrong WordPress
WordPress.com and WordPress.org are different! Let’s not mistake WordPress.com for the incredibly popular open-source web development platform that is WordPress.org. WordPress.com is actually a blog-hosting service and you cannot install plugins unless you upgrade to the business plan.
You’re uploading the wrong file format
If you have uploaded the incorrect file format then you will encounter an installation error. The only files that should be uploaded to WordPress are zip files.
You don’t have the right permissions
Make sure that you actually have the right permissions! If you are an Editor Admin and not an Administrator Admin, then you will not be able to install or activate plugins. Speak with the lead admin of your site to see if you can get this changed.
You could be part of a multi-site network
If your site is part of a multi-site network and you cannot see the plugins menu, it is possible that the admin of the network has disabled the plugins menu from all network sites. Find out who the Network Admin is and see whether you can get this changed.
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