Working with Plugins on the WordPress Multisite

Working with plugins in WordPress is generally pretty straightforward, but introducing the multisite aspect brings some extra complexity you'll want to consider. This guide will show you how to install plugins on a WPMS network, and explain the difference between installing and network activating these plugins.

Install Plugins on Wordpress Multisite Network

Installing or uninstalling plugins or themes in a WordPress multisite network is something only the super admin, that is the Network Admin, can do. The sub-site admins within the network can only activate or deactivate them. However if Network Activation is set for a plugin, the sub-site admins cannot deactivate them.

To search for and install new plugins, you can do so by going to My Sites > Network Admin > Plugins:


To install a new one plugin, select Add New.


In Add Plugins you can search for plugins to install. Click on Install Now to install the desired plugin for your multisite sites.


By simply installing the plugin from the Network Admin dashboard, sub-site admins will see the plugin in their list of plugins. Here, they can activate any plugins that were added by the Network Admin that haven't already been network activated.


If you want to activate a certain plugin on your network for all sites, in Network Admin > Plugins, click on the Network Activate link below it. This will activate it on all the sub-sites, and you will see the Network Activate link replaced with a Network Deactivate link:


When you Network Activate a plugin, it will be activated in the sub sites. But the sub-site admin will not have control over these plugins as shown below; it is Network Active with no way to deactivate it by the sub-site admin.


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