How to Install WordPress Multi-Site Plugins

To deploy a plugin into a WordPress Multisite installation is not intuitive.

1. Where is the Add New Plugin Button?

There is no Add New plugin button when you go to the “Plugins” menu option of any WordPress site in your multi-site setup.

To find the Add New button

  1. navigate to the My Sites link on the top left
  2. hover over Network Admin (the first menu option from My Sites
  3. move to the secondary menu and click on the Plugins option

Now you should see the Add New button for installing plugins.

2. How Do I Install the Plugin For a Site?

It is good practice to download the plugin and store it in an artifact repository or somewhere that is backed up. In case of disaster recovery you may struggle to find the precise plugin versions you installed that you know work well together.

To install the plugin for one or more sites you must get to the Add New button from My Sites.

  1. now select a plugin or Upload Plugin (recommended)
  2. click on Browse and grab your plugin’s zip file
  3. now you must ignore the Network Activate link

You must ignore the tempting network activate link. The next section explains.

With the plugin installed from the multi-site configuration screens you go back to the site (or sites) you want the plugin to work on and click on the Activate button.

3. Ignore the Network Activate Link!

Even though it seems natural to click on Network Activate – don’t.

If you have – go back to My Sites » Network Admin » Plugins – and then de-activate the plugin.

Activated plugins at the multi-site level simply do not appear at the single site level.

Once de-activated – you visit the site (or sites) you need the plugin for and click on the now visible Activate plugin link.

4. How Do I Delete a Plugin on Multi-Site Wordpres?

You run the activate instructions backwards. Go to the site (or sites) that use the plugin and click on “De-activate”.

Is the plugin no longer in use by any site? If Yes then you can go back into the My Sites » Network Admin » Plugins.

Now you can click on the Remove Plugin link.

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