For the most part, I think WordPress is a pretty solid platform. Of course, we complicate things when we drag third-party elements into it for the sake of improving performance or security, adding new design features, or opening up greater functionality. But the payoff is generally worth it. Without those integrations, you’d have to do much more manual coding and that just doesn’t isn’t the most effective way to build a website these days.
That said, there are times when issues arise when you try using WordPress plugins and themes on your website. As I’ve talked about before, there are WordPress plugin conflicts that occur upon initial installation or during updates. But there are other ways in which they can cause issues for you before you even get them on the site.
Below, I’m going to break down the 7 reasons why a WordPress plugin or theme won’t install on a website and some ways to get around these errors.
7 Reasons Why Your WordPress Plugin or Theme Won’t Install
The nice thing about these kinds of WordPress errors is that they’re easy to identify. Usually, there’s an error message that accompanies each failure to load, so there isn’t as much troubleshooting with something like this as there are with other WordPress errors. It’s just more annoying than anything else.
So, here are the most common reasons why your WordPress plugin or theme won’t install and what to do about them:
1. Uploading the Wrong File Format
Typically, you’ll encounter an installation error during the manual upload of a theme or plugin through the Add New / Upload option in WordPress (as opposed to directly installing from the WordPress repository):
When you see the following “bad format” message, it means that you have not uploaded the native files provided to you by the theme or plugin developer.
The only plugin or theme files that should ever be uploaded to WordPress are zip files.
Before you get in touch with the plugin or theme developer, verify that you didn’t receive the correct file from them. If this came from your client, they may have unzipped the folder and given you what they thought was the correct file from within. If it didn’t come from the client and you really don’t have the right folders, get in touch with the developer.
2. Missing Files
Now, let’s say you did try and upload a zip file into WordPress, but you saw this error message instead: