Hover menu with "Add New" disappeared from WordPress Plugin Manager in v5.3.2

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I'm a brand new WordPress user who is now retired with over 30 years of experience developing telecom software (AT&T Bell Labs, Level 3, Lucent, Avaya, etc.). I'm very familiar with UNIX, Linux, platforms, etc. My career didn't include website development so I'm on a bit of learning curve.

I was able to install WP using AMP/CPanel and apply upgrades - currently on 5.3.2 with no apparent upgrading issues, I selected a theme (a free one from Mesmerize) and installed plugins as I needed them. During this process, I noticed that occasionally the contextual hover menu would unexplainably disappear on the Plugins page link. At first, I wrote it off to a flakey internet connection. Then it just stayed broken.

Apparently, this is a long-term issue with WP as it's been going on for nearly six years. I followed these suggestions on your support page from 2014: https://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/community-support/wordpress/the-wordpress-add-new-button-under-plugin-is-not-showing. Note that the Jetpack plugin was not enabled

1. Log out and in.

2. Switch themes. I switched from the free Mesmerize theme back to WP's default 2019 theme. No joy. I left the the 2019 theme active and proceeded with the next steps.

3. I bulk selected all plugins, selected bulk actions->Disable and Apply to disable all plugins.  Boy did that mess everything up! Now as you can see in the attachment, all the active plugins are still enabled but are in some limbo state that makes them unselectable. logging out and in doesn't fix anything.

I'm at a loss for next steps. Without detailed knowledge of how WP is architected, I don't know how to recover it.


Arnel, disabling Multisite did the trick. I don't need it now and if I ever do, I'll be on the lookout for these sorts of problems.

Thanks for pulling me out of the ditch! :)

Arnel C
  • Answered

Hello Luv2SkiCO,

Sorry for the headaches you're having with the plugins menu on your WordPress install.  First, I decided to see how commonplace the issue was by doing a simple search in Google on "Plugin menu not showing."  What I found was that the issue happens with WordPress MultiSite networks.  When I looked at your screenshot, I'm seeing "Network Active" on each plugin.  This indicates a Multisite installation.  If you're using a multisite installation, then you should make sure that you're logged in as the Super Admin and that the "Enable Administration Menus" is checked under Settings > Network Settings. (WordPress Support Post reference).

I'm not sure if you actually need the multisite type of installation.  However, that will be up to you.  If you're dealing with a single site, then you definitely don't need that type of install. It would be better to re-install without multisite if that is the case.

If you're using multisite, then you should be able to login as the super admin and enable those menus.  You may need to check with the developers/support for those plugins to see how they work with a multisite installation. If you want a good source of information about WordPress Multisite, check out this article from Wpbuffs.com.

I hope this helps to answer your question. If you need further assistance, please let us know!

Kindest regards,
Arnel C.


Here's the image I forgot to attach.