can't install wordpress plugins or themes

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

In WordPress by Fathi Arfaoui4 CommentsLast Updated: October 17th, 2015

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 you can’t install a plugin or a theme?

Read also: Fix broken permalinks in WordPress.

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 your install WordPress plugins? The reasons are the below:

1. You’ve uploaded nonzip 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 browses the zip file you have downloaded and search for the exact zip file that contains the plugin.

Then, copy that sub file and paste it on your desktop. Now, you can upload it directly from your plugin installation dashboard. Remember that it must be in a 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.phpfile.

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);

If you need more information and detailed tutorial, you can check my other post about how to increase allowed memory size in WordPress.

If you are hosting with low-quality hosting, then it’s the 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, Inmotion Hosting will be your best choice, they offer a managed hosting for WordPress for just 12 bucks to the first year.

On the other side, if you want the most powerful hosting on earth, ten, you have to use Liquid Web that offer 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 it. 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 the time. If you upload a plugin or theme that are not updated for months or years, they 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.

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.

Please take a look at this explained tutorial to learn how to change WordPress file permissions.

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 about the error.

Fathi Arfaoui: A Physicist, Blogger, and the founder and owner of Trustiko.com. He shares Business, Blogging, WordPress, Web Safety, and Blogging tips to build better websites and blogs. Also, he shares online marketing strategies and recommendations.

Comments

  1. Great post. Step 2 solved my issue. I was pulling my hair out.

    Thanks!

  2. In your Step 5… “set the file permissions to 777 from your Cpanel account,”

    You should NEVER EVER set file permissions to 777 unless you are ok with someone hacking your site and taking having the ability to completely take over your server with no way out but to restore from a time prior to changing permissions.

    1. Author

      Hi Patrick.
      The 777 permission is temporarily to fix problems and of course, it should be edited back to its original value. However, in some hostings , the 777 will let the server create the “months” folder in the “Upload” folder, it’s an example on how to fix a common issue when people can’t upload their images.

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