Why Are My Plugins Not Showing In My Dashboard?

A common complaint about WordPress is that after uploading plugins to your server they do not show up in WordPress. But what is really going on?

If you don’t have WordPress 2.7

Make sure you’re uploading to the correct folder. This should be wp-content/plugins.
Make sure the files have uploaded. There should be no Failed Transfers listed in Filezilla and you can see the files on your server.
Make sure the plugin is not in a zip folder. Most plugins are downloaded zipped, you need to upzip the zip folder contents before uploading.
Make sure there are some files in the top level folder. Some plugins have a folder, then inside that no files, just another folder. WordPress will not see these files if there is no file in the top level folder.

A great video found on YouTube shows you how to upload a plugin:

If you have WordPress 2.7 or above

Then to avoid these issues you can use the inbuilt plugin uploader. Go to Plugins > Add New. There you can search for a plugin and if it’s in the WordPress repository you can install it then and there. If not you can upload the zip file from the site you have downloaded it from and it will install that for you.

Hopefully the next version of WordPress will allow a similar action for installing new WordPress Themes, as it’s a great feature to avoid the frustration many bloggers have with installing plugins.