Function and usage of activate_plugins() in wordpress


Answer ( 1 )


    The activate_plugins() function in WordPress is a versatile and powerful function used for activating one or multiple plugins programmatically. Here's a detailed explanation of its functionality and usage:

    Function Signature

    activate_plugins( string|string[] $plugins, string $redirect = '', bool $network_wide = false, bool $silent = false ): true|WP_Error


    • Function: Activates multiple plugins.
    • Description: This function is primarily used to activate plugins within WordPress programmatically. It can activate a single plugin or an array of plugins.


    1. $plugins (string|string[]):

      • Required.
      • Description: It can be a single plugin or a list of plugins to activate.
      • Type: It accepts either a string (for a single plugin) or an array of strings (for multiple plugins).
      • Each string should be the path to the plugin file relative to the WordPress plugins directory.
    2. $redirect (string):

      • Optional.
      • Description: URL to redirect to after successful activation of plugins.
      • Default: '' (empty string, meaning no redirection).
    3. $network_wide (bool):

      • Optional.
      • Description: Whether to enable the plugin(s) for all sites in a multisite network.
      • Default: false.
    4. $silent (bool):

      • Optional.
      • Description: Whether to prevent calling activation hooks. This is useful when you don't want to trigger activation actions, such as those that might redirect or produce output.
      • Default: false.

    Return Values

    • true or WP_Error:
      • The function returns true upon successful activation of the specified plugin(s).
      • If there is an error during activation (e.g., invalid plugin file path), it returns a WP_Error object. Note that the WP_Error return does not necessarily indicate an error within the plugin itself, but rather an issue with the process of activating it, like an invalid path.

    Usage Example

    Here's an example of how you might use activate_plugins():

    // Activate a single plugin
    activate_plugins( 'plugin-directory/plugin-file.php' );
    // Activate multiple plugins
    activate_plugins( array( 'plugin1-directory/plugin1-file.php', 'plugin2-directory/plugin2-file.php' ) );
    // Activate a plugin network-wide in a multisite setup
    activate_plugins( 'plugin-directory/plugin-file.php', '', true );
    // Activate a plugin silently
    activate_plugins( 'plugin-directory/plugin-file.php', '', false, true );

    Important Notes

    • This function is particularly useful for theme and plugin developers who need to ensure certain plugins are active when their code runs.
    • It should be used with caution, especially in a multisite context, as activating plugins network-wide can have significant effects.
    • Handling the WP_Error return properly is crucial for robust code, especially when dealing with multiple plugin activations.


    activate_plugins() is a key function for programmatically managing plugin states in WordPress. By understanding and correctly using its parameters and return values, developers can effectively control plugin activation within their WordPress projects.

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