Destination Folder Already Exists, WordPress Theme or Plugin Install Failded: The Solution

In WordPress by Fathi Arfaoui5 CommentsLast Updated: September 15th, 2017

In the last tutorials, we’ve learned together, how to install WordPress themes, and also, how to install a plugin in WordPress. However, some readers asked for help with some errors messages they get like ” WordPress destination folder already exists”, and they get “theme install failed”, or “Plugin install failed”.

And even, other special errors with complicated situations. So, today, I’ll show you how to fix that problem and also, what is the issue with your WordPress website.

As the error message already appears with some information, the file that you’re installing, such as a theme or a plugin is already existing, and you can’t add the same file to the same destination.

So, WordPress knows that you have the file, and you can just activate it, or, delete it completely and upload the new one.

Destination Folder Already Exists

To fix the problem, you have one single solution, it’s to remove your theme or plugin that you want to install. Search in your WordPress directory under “wp-content”, then, find “Themes”, or, “Plugins” folder, depending on your case, and you will find that exact file. Next, delete it from your cPanel or use an FTP, and finally re-upload your file, and the error will disappear.

Delete an existing WordPress theme

In the majority of cases, people install a theme, they try it and then they decide to switch to another one for a while. Later, they come back to their first theme idea and forget that the theme is already there, in their blog files.

Deleting a theme is a simple step, all you have to do is to login to your WordPress admin area. Click “Appearance”, then, “Themes”, and hover over the theme that you want to delete, and you will get a small deletion link, at the bottom right of the pop-up window, exactly like the below short video.

Please note that you can only remove a deactivated theme. So, if you want to delete your actual working theme, then, you need to activate another one, such, the default theme from WordPress.

If you can’t apply this simple method from the dashboard, then, you have to use your cPanel account. Login and click the “File Manager”, next, you will get your blog files. You need to locate the one called “wp-content”.
delete theme
Open that directory and you will find the folder “Themes” inside it, browse that file to find the theme that you want to remove.
themes folder
Select the folder and click the delete, as the following screenshot.
remove a WordPress theme
Now, you have just removed the existing theme file, and the destination folder will no longer exist. So, upload your theme there again and it will work.
If you don’t have a cPanel access, you need to use a standard FTP client software, such as FileZilla. It’s a simple tool that you can download to your computer, and manage your distant blog files from your local machine. The only negative point is that the upload time will be too long.
Anyway, if you should use it, follow the above theme destination steps, and delete the one you want exactly, as you delete a regular file from your computer.

Delete an existing WordPress plugin

As themes, you can delete a plugin directly from your admin area, by clicking “Plugins”, and click the “Delete” link in red color, and that’s it. However, if you can’t access your dashboard, then you can use cPanel again.

Just login and locate the directory ”wp-content”, and inside it, you will find the “Plugins” folder just in the same destination as “Themes”, as the next screenshot.

The final step will be selecting the exact plugin file that you want to remove and click the “Delete” button at the top of the page.

Delete a WordPress plugin from cPanel

When you can use the cPanel file manager, then, you should use Filezilla and remove the plugin manually. It’s the same, and you just need to find its location, it’s always, your home directory, then, wp-content and plugins.

The above steps will solve the problem in the majority of cases. If it’s not the case, then make sure you have the right permissions for your themes or plugins directories. If nothing happens, you have to change the permissions to 777, upload your file and change the permissions back to the default for more security.

About Fathi Arfaoui

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. Hi There,

    I have this problem with Yoast SEO. If I delete the directory as you suggest, will I loose all SEO data I put in my website or is that still stored somewhere on MySQL?

    Just want to avoid unnecessary work

    Thanks!

    1. Author

      The plugin data will be saved in the Mysql database, So, you’ll never lose your details by deleting a WordPress directory.

  2. I have deleted a theme as I wanted to re install it with its original settings. However now when I go to install it its still coming up with this message and saying installation failed. What could I try next to to able to re install the plug in?

  3. Outstanding. I never would have figured out that I need to have another theme active in order to remove the deactivated theme. Thank you!!

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