How to Fix Install Plugins Error in WordPress

Plugins make life easier for web developers, designers, and owners to run a website. Most website builders like Wix or Squarespace have their own version of plugins, with some calling them add-ons. In this post, we’ll tackle the issue on why you can’t add or install plugins in WordPress. Of course, we’ll also provide you with solutions.

You Might Be Confusing WordPress.com with WordPress.org

If you’re using WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org, your ability to install plugins is limited. This is especially true if you have a free account as that type of plan is not allowed to install plugins.

Wordpress org

Are you on a free account in WordPress.com? If you are, then know that you only have 3 GB memory space in that plan. The free plan comes with very limited features – and you will need to upgrade to a higher plan to gain access to the site’s other features (like installing plugins). As of this writing, you have the option to upgrade to the Personal plan by paying $36 per year (it comes with 6 GB memory). At this point, you can also upgrade to a Premium plan which costs $99 per year (it comes with 13 GB memory). Their business plan, priced at $299 per year, comes with unlimited memory storage.

Also, know that WordPress.com is a hosting provider – it is NOT the popular and powerful WordPress.org. WordPress.org is self-hosted and it’s free. This is the WordPress website platform that a lot of website owners are using to run their businesses. By using WordPress.org, you get a lot of features to run a successful site – and that includes A LOT of FREE plugins. You still need your own domain name and hosting provider, though.

User Role Restrictions

WordPress comes with a user-role management system. If you only have an editor role, your access to WordPress Dashboard will be quite limited. What you need is administrator permissions, if you want to install plugins to your site. So, if you have a web developer, request for administrator role instead of editor role.

You May be Using a Multi-Site Network

If you belong to a multi-site network, your network administrator must have disabled the plugins section for other members (including you). There are many reasons why your network administrator may have done this, such as:

  • For security
  • Load balancing for your network might be compromised
  • Server stability for the website (less load will lead to a more stable operation).

If this seems to be your problem, just ask your network administrator to install the plugins that you need for you.

PHP Memory Limit Issue in Installing Plugins

In cases where you are able to access plugins but can’t seem to install them, the problem could be caused by insufficient PHP memory. To solve this problem, you need to manually increase your site’s PHP memory limit. To do that, open your wp-config.php file and copy and paste the code below:


define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');

As you can see, you can increase your website’s memory to 256 GB (usually, this is set at 64 GB). If insufficient memory is the cause of your inability to install plugins, you can now install and activate your needed plugins (after increasing your site’s php memory).

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