Typically, if I need to download a plugin or theme that’s running on a remote server, I connect to that server via FTP or SSH and transfer the files to my local machine. However, sometimes I don’t have access to the server for one reason or another, but I DO have the username and password to the WordPress admin dashboard. Below, I’ll outline how I download a plugin or theme from the WordPress admin dashboard using a free plugin called Advanced Code Editor.

  1. Log in to the WordPress admin for the site where the plugin/theme you want is installed.
  2. Go to Plugins > Add New. Search for and install the Advanced Code Editor plugin.
  3. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins and activate it.
  4. Go to Plugins > Editor if you want to download a plugin, or Appearance > Editor if you want to download a theme.
  5. Select the plugin/theme from the dropdown menu and click select
  6. Click the far-right button to download it




  1. Josh Dance May 3, 2016 at 7:37 pm


    I tried to do this, but the download wouldn’t work. After clicking the button the loading indicator would spin for a bit, and nothing would happen. Is there another way to do this? More info here – http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7347839/download-theme-from-wordpress-admin-area-without-ftp/37016016#37016016

    • Kellen Mace May 4, 2016 at 7:19 am


      Hey Josh. That’s a bummer that the few methods you’ve tried so far haven’t worked out. Another plugin you can try is UpdraftPlus. It’ll let you create a backup of the themes directory, then download it.

      If all else fails, you could of course log in to/contact your host to ask for FTP cretentials, then use a free app like FileZilla to copy the files from your web server to your local machine. Best of luck!

  2. Shahid Malik June 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm


    Every time i used it, it worked like a magic for me.. Thank you Kellen

    • Kellen Mace June 20, 2016 at 12:34 am


      Glad to hear it! You’re very welcome.

  3. ilayaraja September 26, 2016 at 6:08 am


    its works.. i downloaded my friend theme

  4. Travis December 16, 2016 at 6:14 pm


    Not working for me. Every time I try to download a plugin I get this error message, “error zipping files. zip extension not loaded”

    Now what?

    • Kellen Mace December 16, 2016 at 11:53 pm


      Hey Travis. It sounds like something is preventing the Advanced Code Editor plugin from being able to create a new zip file containing the plugin on your web server; the permissions on your server may not allow for that. I would contact your host and ask them how to set up an FTP connection to your server so you’ll be able to download the plugin folder. Or maybe they would even be able to zip up the plugin and email it to you if you ask. Best of luck!

      • Micheal January 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm


        Thank you so much for this arleitc, it saved me time!

    • Kellen Mace December 17, 2016 at 12:00 am


      Or as mentioned above in another comment, you can try using the free UpdraftPlus plugin to created a backup of your entire plugins folder, then download that.

  5. Zb December 22, 2016 at 11:39 pm


    Hey Kellen – How could I download a child theme? When I try it only downloads the stylesheet & screenshot. It looks like your method would work for the main theme however.

    • Kellen Mace December 23, 2016 at 10:14 pm


      As I mentioned in a few of the other comments, I’d recommend using the free UpdraftPlus plugin to created a backup of your entire themes folder, then download that to your computer.

  6. Anika January 9, 2017 at 10:34 am


    Hi Kellen, successfully downloaded the plugin, but when I try to install it, it is showing error: no valid plugin found on your zip file. Can you tell me how to upload it exactly.

    • Kellen Mace January 10, 2017 at 9:48 am


      Hey Anika,

      When you download a plugin using the Advanced Code Editor plugin, it puts in the plugin inside of another folder with the same name before creating the .zip file that you can download. This means that you can’t take the .zip file you downloaded and immediately upload it to another WordPress site. Here’s how to do it, assuming you need to download a plugin named “example-plugin-123”:
      1. Use Advanced Code Editor to download the plugin.
      2. Un-zip the example-plugin-123.zip file on your computer, then open up the resulting example-plugin-123 folder.
      3. Inside it, you’ll see another folder named “example-plugin-123”. Right-click on that and zip/compress it.
      4. Take that new .zip file you just created and upload it to any WordPress site.

      I hope that helps out! Best of luck.

  7. Jayesh Kabutarwala January 13, 2017 at 2:21 am


    No download option listed like it is in your screenshot.

    • Kellen Mace January 28, 2017 at 8:59 am



      As I mentioned in a few of the other comments, I’d recommend using the free UpdraftPlus plugin to create a backup of your entire themes/plugins folder, then download that to your computer.

  8. Sadit January 26, 2017 at 5:17 am


    i need to login my dashboard…..But i dnt no how to login

    • Kellen Mace January 28, 2017 at 9:01 am


      Sadit – Try typing in the URL of your website, then add “/wp-admin” on the end, like this: http://example.com/wp-admin. From there, you can log in if you know your username/email and password, or click the “Lost your password?” link at the bottom to reset your password if you need to.

  9. Adam Middlesworth March 9, 2017 at 11:24 am


    Download was a success but when I try to upload this file to another WordPress site it shows an error.

    It says, the package could not be installed. The theme is missing the style.css stylesheet. (which isn’t missing)

    What’s the fix?

    • Kellen Mace March 24, 2017 at 9:33 am


      If you’re trying to take the .zip that Advanced Code Editor outputs and upload that to a new WP site, that won’t work. You’ll need to unzip it on your computer, find the folder for the theme, then zip that folder and upload it. If that doesn’t work, you can try using the free UpdraftPlus plugin to create a backup of your entire themes folder, then download that to your computer, unzip it, find the folder for the theme, then zip that folder and upload it.

  10. Peasy June 21, 2017 at 4:27 am


    “To perform the requested action, WordPress needs to access your web server. Please enter your FTP credentials to proceed. If you do not remember your credentials, you should contact your web host.”

  11. Andy Johnston July 25, 2017 at 3:16 pm


    Super helpful. Thanks!

  12. Brianne Waters December 29, 2017 at 8:13 pm


    Thank you so much! It worked like a charm!


  13. danish March 29, 2018 at 6:34 am


    I tried for my website and i got failed.

  14. TechyTics October 3, 2018 at 5:46 am


    Hi Kellen,
    I am trying several-time from my WordPress site. But, finally, I have done from my hosting. Thanks to give this exciting idea.
    Thanks You.

  15. Linkpak Digital December 14, 2018 at 5:54 am


    This method is no longer working. Try this handy plugin instead Download Plugins and Themes from Dashboard

  16. PSD Junction February 7, 2019 at 12:50 pm


    Helpful 🙂

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