WP Umbrella Logo

The Ultimate Guide to Solving the “Installation failed: destination folder already exists.” Error in WordPress

The WP Umbrella Team

Does WordPress give you the “installation failed: destination folder already exists.” error?

This WordPress issue generally shows up when you are installing or updating a plugin or theme. It can be frustrating when you can’t move forward because of an issue you don’t fully understand.

Luckily, the error message itself gives us some information, and in this guide, we’ll explore all possible methods to fix it.

We have a lot to cover so let’s get started!


The WordPress Destination Folder Already Exists error often appears when trying to install or update a plugin or theme. It’s crucial to first understand why this error occurs and then take steps to resolve it. Methods can range from using the WordPress dashboard to diving into the site’s files via FTP.

What Causes the “WordPress Installation Failed: Destination Folder Already Exists” Error?

Understanding the root cause of the WordPress installation failed: destination folder already exists error is critical for resolving it quickly and easily. This error message pops up when you attempt to install a plugin or theme whose folder already exists in your WordPress directory.

Basically, the zip file of your plugin or theme is extracted into a folder that’s named after it. WordPress aborts the installation if a folder with the same name already exists.

This error is can be caused by many things, including the most obvious one, which is that the plugin or theme is already installed.

The other usual culprits are:

  • A previous installation attempt was interrupted, leaving behind an empty folder.
  • Timeouts during the deletion process of the old plugin or theme.
  • Residual files from a previous version of the plugin or theme.

Ready to boost your productivity, impress your clients and grow your WordPress agency?

Install WP Umbrella on your websites in a minute and discover a new way to manage multiple WordPress sites.

Get Started for free

Troubleshooting the Destination folder already exists error in WordPress

Whether you are a full beginner or a WordPress expert, these troubleshooting will save you a ton of time. Always remember to back up your WordPress site before making any changes to the file structure.

Troubleshooting tips

The easiest way to fix this error is to delete the plugin or theme folder that caused it. This can be accomplished through the WordPress admin dashboard or via FTP or CPANEL. You must clear your cache and reinstall the plugin or theme afterward.

Method 1: Fix via the WordPress Dashboard

In order to install a plugin or theme manually, WordPress extracts the .zip file to a folder of the same name. WordPress will display a comparison between two identical folders with the same path if it detects an identical folder.

When this happens, WordPress asks for permission to overwrite the old plugin or theme folder. You should be able to resolve the “Destination Folder Already Exists” error message by selecting “Replace current with uploaded”.

  1. Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Plugins > Add New.
  3. Upload the zip file of the plugin or theme.
  4. Select Replace current with uploaded to overwrite the existing folder.
Destination folder already exists. The plugin is already installed.

This warning only appears when you are installing a .zip file.

Method 2: Fix Using FTP to Solve the Destination Folder Already Exists Error

If the WordPress dashboard method doesn’t work or isn’t available, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is your next best friend. Follow these steps:

  1. Connect to your server using FTP credentials.
  2. Navigate to the root WordPress directory.
  3. Go to wp-content/plugins or wp-content/themes, based on whether you are installing a plugin or a theme.
  4. Locate the folder causing the error (most likely the folder name is identical to the plugin or theme).
  5. Right-click and delete the folder.
  6. Clear your WordPress cache.
  7. Reinstall the plugin or theme.

Conclusion: The Importance of Regular Backups

Experiencing WordPress errors is undoubtedly inconvenient, yet the majority of these issues, including the “Destination folder already exists.” error, are often straightforward to resolve. This guide aims to simplify the troubleshooting process for you, and we hope we got your site back and running.

That said, the essential step before any troubleshooting is to keep regular backups of your WordPress site. This practice serves as a preventive measure, safeguarding your data and settings from any accidental loss or modification.