Can’t Install WordPress Plugins or Themes? Fix the Problem Now

Sometimes you are happy to get a cool plugin or theme to install on your WordPress website. But sometimes you get an error; this is the most common issue, especially for newbies.

It’s not really your problem, but the developer or the plugin and theme seller never tried to make things easier.

If you’re a new blogger or site owner and want to install a new plugin, you should keep in mind that you have two ways to upload the plugin.

Why can’t you install a plugin or a theme?

The first is uploading your plugins as a ZIP file directly from your WordPress dashboard. This is the easiest way, and the second is to upload it using your cPanel file manager or a  normal FTP client like Filezilla. Now, why can’t you install WordPress plugins? The reasons are the following:

1. You’ve uploaded a non-zip file inside the plugin folder

This is a common issue, you should upload only the zip file and not PDF and other documents.

They’re just for documentation to help you install. And set the plugin. So, copy, browse the zip file you have downloaded, and search for the exact zip file that contains the plugin.

Then, copy that subfile and paste it on your desktop. Now, you can upload it directly from your plugin installation dashboard. Remember that it must be in zip format. If it’s compressed with any other format, extract that file and re-compress it with the zip option.

can't install WordPress plugins

2. You have a limited PHP memory

This is another problem, it can be detected if you see a message like “Allowed memory size of 67108864 bytes exhausted” It’s a limitation made by your hosting provider. In general, you can easily solve that issue, by adding the below code in your wp-config.php file.

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M');

If you are hosting with low-quality hosting, then it’s time to move your website to a premium and fully managed server like WP Engine. Or, if you can only pay for a shared server, then, HostGator will be your best choice. They offer a managed host for WordPress for just 12 bucks for the first year.

On the other hand, if you want the most powerful hosting on earth, ten, you have to use Liquid Web, which offers VPS and dedicated servers with 504 Gigabytes of RAM. Yes, that’s true; it’s a storm machine.

3. Something happened in the download process

If you’ve carefully verified the above probable reasons, and you still can’t upload plugins or themes to your WordPress website, then re-download the file again.

It happens that the file is not properly downloaded for any issue. It can be your internet connection itself, or any other issue with the server that you downloaded the file from. You don’t have anything to lose; just download the file again.

4. Outdated version

WordPress is the biggest and most loved blogging platform. It’s always up to date with the latest HTML and CSS features, but also, with security changes with time.

If you upload a plugin or theme that has not been updated for months or years, it can’t work properly now. Their coding is the same, while WordPress is changing.

So, verify if your plugin is updated and try to find the newest version. This is another reason that you should verify it.

5. Wrong file permissions

Some web hosting servers are configured with custom permission files and can cause you many problems. If the plugins or uploader folder are not set with the right permissions, you won’t be able to make any changes to them. But, you can change and set the file permissions to 777 from your cPanel account.

If, with all the above probable reasons, you still get an error message when uploading, or installing your plugin, then, the only thing that can be the problem is your server.

This is why you should contact your web hosting provider support, and let them know about your issue, you can help them identify the exact problem if you take a screenshot of the error.

Avatar for Fathi Arfaoui
About Fathi Arfaoui

Fathi Arfaoui is a Physicist, Blogger and the founder of He shares Business, WordPress and Blogging tips to build a better blog and succeed online.

Disclosure: The recommendations on this page are my own based on my tests and analysis. We may earn a small commission from web hosts and other partners if you use my referral link to make a purchase. That’s what helps us to maintain the site and add fresh content, Thanks for your support.

Leave a Comment