Does bedrock/trellis disable the ability to add/install plugins via admin?

I’m noticing that my bedrock/trellis site has lost the menu option to add a new plugin in the admin area.

I fully understand why this is a good thing - I’m managing plugins via composer now. However, just for the moment, on a staging site, I need to add a plugin via admin.

Is this still possible? A config setting perhaps?


DISALLOW_FILE_MODS is set to true in staging and production environments by default. See here:

Changing it to false will allow you to install/update plugins via the WP admin dashboard.


or you could SSH into the server and use WP-CLI to install the plugin from the command line

Benefits: don’t need to commit plugins to the repo only to remove them afterwards

Caveats: the plugin would need to be reinstalled if a new deployment is ran


Good call @paul_tibbetts - I’ll keep that in mind too.

In my case, I’ll sometimes want to give non-technical people the option to try out plugins they’ve heard about, to see if they’ll work nicely on the site. Obviously I won’t let them do this on production, but I could allow it on staging, or maybe a ‘sandbox’ server, if I don’t want to lose parity on staging. So allowing plugin installation via the admin area is useful here.


How do you prevent the deploy from removing the plugins? I have a client with so many commercial plugins that I have not figured out how to handle yet.

I know this may not be “the Bedrock way” because it decouples the management of plugins/themes/updates from Composer, but for clients where I cannot (or do not) want to maintain active management/control of their site following completion of the project I make the following modifications to bedrock at the outset of the project which subsequently allows plugins/themes/updates to be managed via the Admin yet still allows me to perform trellis deploys – without removing/overwriting plugins!

  1. Add the following to both production.php (create if necessary) and staging.php (if desired) files in site/config/environments/ to allow theme/plugin/updates via the Admin:
    Config::define('DISALLOW_FILE_MODS', false);
  2. Next, add the following to trellis/roles/deploy/defaults/main.yml under the project_shared_children heading (line 33 ATTOW), which will create new themes and plugins directories in /srv/www/, symlinked to the themes and plugins directories in site/web/app/:
      - path: web/app/plugins
        src: plugins
      - path: web/app/themes
        src: themes
    • From the next deploy onwards all themes and plugins installed via the WordPress Admin will be written to /srv/www/[themes/plugins], which is retained across deployments!

Once these changes have been implemented you can deploy at your leisure, assured that themes and plugins won’t be overwritten or removed!

Note: if you want to shim this in to an existing installation just mv the plugins and themes from your previous release (/srv/www/[release -1]/web/app/[plugins/themes]/*) into the newly created /srv/www/[themes/plugins]/ directories after deploy.


Thanks a lot for this, very helpful @gnowland!

It looks like once this is done, we will lose the ability to manage plugins with composer afterwards?

I was looking for a way to keep my composer plugins just as is, plus giving the client ability to add plugins by themselves. Something like:
Plugins added through admin -> goes in shared/plugins
Plugins added through composer -> goes in web/app/plugins as normal.

But after doing as above, the only the plugins in the shared folder worked.

@faahim, did you find an answer to your question above?

I ask as I am about to move a theme (Thrive Theme Builder) to shared as described by @gnowland

This related answer may help:

In case anyone is looking for a solution for this - instead of setting the whole plugin and theme directories as project_shared_children, I instead only did this with the plugins I have to install through the wp dashboard. see example:

  - path: "{{ project_public_path }}/{{ project_upload_path }}"
    src: uploads
  - path: web/app/plugins/give
    src: plugins/give
  - path: web/app/plugins/wpai-acf-add-on
    src: plugins/wpai-acf-add-on
  - path: web/app/plugins/wp-all-import-pro
    src: plugins/wp-all-import-pro

please note that this only works, if you set the directory before installing the plugin, of if you move over the installed plugin manually

But even those plugins should be installable using composer, as composer can also extract archive files (as zip) into a directory - or put the premium plugin code into a private repository.