FAQ, Upgrades

Plugins

On WordPress.com, we include the most popular plugin functionality within our sites automatically. Additionally, the Business or eCommerce plan allows you to choose from many thousands of plugins, and install them on your site.

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What is a Plugin?

A plugin is a piece of software that you can add to your WordPress website to extend functionality or to add new features.

Plugins can be incredibly useful tools. With that in mind, it is important to evaluate the value and risks of each plugin you add to your site. Installing the wrong plugin can be damaging, by breaking your site or opening it up to security risks. Let’s try to be savvy when deciding which plugins to use.

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Built-in Features

See what you already have built into your WordPress.com site. The features listed in this drop-down come as standard for all WordPress.com sites, without any need for you to install a plugin.

Click here to see a list of all built-in WordPress.com features.

Included with Personal plan and higher:

Included with Premium, Business, and eCommerce:

Included with Premium, Business, and eCommerce:

Jetpack and Akismet cannot be deactivated. They provide many of the essential features of your site that are mentioned here. However, you can deactivate specific Jetpack modules by going to My Site → Jetpack → Dashboard. Then scroll all the way to the bottom where you can find in the footer the Modules option as in this screenshot:

On the Jetpack Dashboard page, the Modules button is on the very bottom right, in the footer area.
Jetpack Modules

If you see notifications or update prompts related to the managed plugins, you can disregard the notification. The plugin version we have on our server for the managed plugin might have a different version from the one on the WordPress.org plugin repository. Your site and plugins will still work as expected.


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Installing Plugins

If the functionality you want on your site is not included in the standard features, WordPress.com Business and the eCommerce plan allow you to install other plugins. With many thousands of plugins available, you can enable your site to do almost anything.

Plugins are created by third-party developers to enhance the functionality of your WordPress.com site.

To install a plugin, head to My SitePlugins. You’ll see a showcase of some featured plugins, as well as a tab for the most popular, recommended, and favorite plugins. You can also search for plugins by functionality or look for a specific plugin that you’ve heard about.

The Plugins menu option in the My Site dashboard.

If you haven’t installed any plugins yet, your Plugin page will look like this:

Click on the image to see a larger version.

After you click on a plugin name, you’ll see a button to install it on your site. You can also read all about the plugin – what new functionality it provides, how it works, and how to adjust its settings.

In the plugin gallery, the Install Now button is on the top right of each plugin.


Before you install a plugin, you’ll want to check the following criteria:

At the bottom of each plugin in the plugin gallery, it will show ratings, number of active installations, last updated date, and if it's compatible with your WP version, at the bottom of the plugin.
  • Last updated: indicates that it is actively being supported and worked on. Avoid plugins not updated in a long time.
  • Active installations: indicates a popular and well-supported plugin
  • Rating: feedback from customers who installed the plugin
  • Compatible: Make sure the plugin compatible with the version of WordPress you are running.

Before installing any plugins, it’s always good to read over the plugin documentation to make sure you know how to use it and what it will do for your site.


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Install Plugins via a .zip File

  1. Go to My Site(s)PluginsUpload Plugin
    Upload Plugin Button
  2. Click on Choose File to find the .zip file location on your computer and then choose Install Now.
    Plugin - Install Now Button.png
  3. Choose Activate Plugin or Return to Plugin Installer.
    Activate Plugin after Installing

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Installing Plugins via SFTP

You can also install plugins via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). See here for more information.

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Trying or Adding Multiple Plugins

If you’re testing different plugins to try to get specific functionality, it’s a good idea to deactivate a plugin before moving on to another one to test. This will keep your active plugins list to just the plugins you are using.

Unless there are multiple plugins that need to be activated to work together, it is best to install one plugin at a time and test/set up each one individually.

In the event that a plugin causes undesirable results on your site, you’ll be able to isolate the specific plugin that caused the issue.


Managing Plugins

It’s a good idea to periodically audit your plugins and deactivate, then delete those that you are no longer using. Unnecessary code on your site can cause problems.

Most plugins can be managed from the My Site(s) Dashboard, but you may find some settings can only be accessed from WP-admin. To view these dashboard pages, visit your Account Settings and enable the option show advanced dashboard pages. You can then get to this dashboard by adding /wp-admin to the end of your site’s url (e.g.: my.blog/wp-admin)

Once you have installed some plugins on your site, your Plugin Menu will look like this:

By default, you’ll be on the Add New menu option. In this section you can Upload Plugins, or browse/search for plugins.

Clicking on the Installed Plugins menu item takes you to the list of plugins currently installed on your site.

The Plugin manager for sites that have plugins installed.

The Plugin Editor menu option allows you to directly edit the code of your installed Plugins.

Manage Plugins - Edit Plugins

The Plugin Editor is for site owners with advanced coding/programming knowledge. Proceed with caution.

Editing plugins directly may introduce incompatibilities that break your site and your changes may be lost in future updates.

If you absolutely have to make direct edits to this plugin, use a file manager to create a copy with a new name and hang on to the original. That way, you can re-enable a functional version if something goes wrong.


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Working with Installed Plugins

Plugins usually add new menu items to your Dashboard.

In the example on the right, menu items added by plugins are highlighted.

The Dashboard menu with boxes drawn around the new menu items added by installed plugins.

Some plugins will add their menus to existing menus like Settings or Appearance. The information below will help you identify where the plugins have added their menu items.


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Configuring Plugin Settings

Each plugin has different options for configuring the plugin for your site. To find the configuration settings for your newly installed plugin, go to My Site(s) → Plugins → Installed Plugins.

Under your installed plugin, look for Settings, View Details, Docs, or Support (each plugin offers different links). Those menu items will take you to information on configuring your plugin.

Manage Plugins - Set Up Links
Examples of different documentation/support links

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Getting Help with Plugins

Most plugins are developed by third-party developers. If you have installed or updated a plugin and it has removed your access to your site or your Installed Plugins page, contact our support team to help deactivate the plugin causing problems.

If you’re struggling to set up the plugin, your best option for support is going to be to go directly to the plugin developer. My Site(s) → Plugins → Installed Plugins and look for a link to Docs or Support to find out how to contact them.

If you don’t see those options, look for a link to the Plugin Homepage after clicking View Details:

Screenshot showing the Plugin Homepage link on the right side of the plugin description page under WordPress.org Plugin Page.

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Identifying Plugin Conflicts

If you’ve noticed an error in functionality or a plugin is displaying errors, there may be a conflict with a plugin or theme active on your site.

In the case where you’ve recently installed a new plugin or theme, or suspect a certain one is causing a problem, you might try deactivating it temporarily to see if having it turned off resolves your issue.

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Health Check

You can use the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin to help with conflict testing.

Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, you can go to My Site → Tools → Site Health → Troubleshooting (tab) to start troubleshooting.

This adds a new Troubleshooting Mode menu item to the toolbar at the top of your dashboard, and a Troubleshooting section to the Plugins and Dashboard pages. From either, you can enable and disable plugins and change the theme for your site, without affecting what normal visitors to your site see while you troubleshoot.

By default enabling Troubleshooting Mode will temporarily deactivate your active plugins (for your user account only).

You can try to enable each plugin or swap themes one at a time, checking to see if you can replicate your issue after each attempt. Once you are done testing, you can “Disable Troubleshooting Mode” to return things to normal.

If you narrow the conflict down to a particular plugin or theme, you’ll want to reach out to that developer and let them know about the error so they can work with you and investigate further.

If you’re unable to get to your Installed Plugins, contact our support team and we’ll help restore your access to your Installed Plugins.


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Incompatible Plugins

While the vast majority of plugins are supported here at WordPress.com, there are some that are not. This Incompatible Plugins page contains a running list of these unsupported plugins and accompanying reasons why they aren’t supported.


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Plugin Help

General plugin troubleshooting and support is provided by your friendly WordPress.com Happiness Engineers. While we are happy to take a look at general settings and troubleshooting on your site related to third-party plugins, more advanced support may be available from the plugin’s author. See the plugin’s documentation for details.


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Destination Folder Already Exists

If you had a previous version of a plugin that was installed and then removed, you may see an error that states “Destination Folder Already Exists” when trying to install it again. If this happens, please reach out to support and a Happiness Engineer will be glad to assist you.

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