Install WordPress Themes and Plugins with Composer

Simplifying WordPress Development with WPackagist and Composer

When working on WordPress projects, managing dependencies such as themes and plugins can sometimes be challenging. While WordPress has an extensive ecosystem of plugins and themes, integrating them seamlessly into your development workflow can be improved with tools like Composer and WPackagist.

What is WPackagist?

WPackagist is a Composer repository that mirrors WordPress plugins and themes available on the official WordPress Plugin and Theme Directories. By using WPackagist, you can manage WordPress dependencies directly through Composer, which is a dependency management tool for PHP.

Why use Composer and WPackagist with WordPress?

Using Composer and WPackagist brings several advantages to WordPress development:

  1. Dependency Management: Composer simplifies the process of managing WordPress plugins and themes as dependencies within your project.

  2. Version Control: With Composer, you can specify exact versions or ranges of versions for plugins and themes, ensuring consistency across development, staging, and production environments.

  3. Automated Installation: Composer automatically fetches and installs WordPress packages listed on WPackagist, streamlining the setup process for new projects.

Setting Up WPackagist with Composer

To start using WPackagist with Composer, follow these steps:

Step 1: Install Composer

If you haven't already installed Composer, you can do so by following the instructions on the Composer website. For example,

Step 2: Configure the WPackagist Repository

Open your terminal or command prompt and navigate to your WordPress project directory. Then, run the following command to configure Composer to use WPackagist as a repository:

composer config repositories.wppackagist composer

This command adds WPackagist as a repository in your composer.json file.

Step 3: Require WordPress Packages

Now you can use Composer to require WordPress plugins and themes from WPackagist. For example, to add the popular "Yoast SEO" plugin to your project, run:

composer require wpackagist-plugin/wordpress-seo

Composer will fetch the plugin from WPackagist and install it into your WordPress project's vendor directory.

Step 4: Autoload Dependencies (Optional)

If you want Composer to autoload WordPress packages along with your project's other dependencies, make sure to include Composer's autoloader in your functions.php file or main plugin file:

require_once __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php';

This line ensures that classes and functions from Composer-managed packages are auto-loaded and available for use within your WordPress codebase.


By integrating Composer and WPackagist into your WordPress development workflow, you gain better control over managing plugins and themes as dependencies. This approach enhances modularity, version control, and automation, ultimately improving the efficiency and maintainability of WordPress projects.

Start using Composer and WPackagist today to streamline your WordPress development process and take advantage of modern dependency management techniques in PHP.

Customizing WordPress Plugin and Theme Installation with Composer

When managing WordPress projects with Composer, you can customize where Composer installs themes and plugins. By default, Composer places dependencies in a vendor directory. However, you can configure Composer to install WordPress themes and plugins directly into your wp-content directory, simplifying your development setup.

Why Customize Installation Paths?

Customizing installation paths offers several benefits:

  • Organizational Structure: Keep WordPress-specific files separate from other dependencies.

  • Version Control: Exclude WordPress core files and plugins/themes from version control by targeting specific directories.

  • Simplified Deployment: Ensure that WordPress themes and plugins are in predictable locations for deployment.

Configuring Custom Installation Paths

To configure Composer to install WordPress themes and plugins into specific directories within wp-content, follow these steps:

Step 1: Modify composer.json

Open your project's composer.json file and add an extra section with installer-paths configuration:

"extra": {

"installer-paths": {

"wordpress/wp-content/plugins/{$name}/": [



"wordpress/wp-content/themes/{$name}/": [



"wordpress/wp-content/mu-plugins/{$name}/": [





  • wordpress/wp-content/plugins/{$name}/: Sets the installation path for WordPress plugins.

  • wordpress/wp-content/themes/{$name}/: Sets the installation path for WordPress themes.

  • wordpress/wp-content/mu-plugins/{$name}/: Sets the installation path for must-use plugins.

Replace {$name} with the actual package name to create a directory structure like wordpress/wp-content/plugins/plugin-name/ or wordpress/wp-content/themes/theme-name/.

Step 2: Update .gitignore

To prevent Composer-installed WordPress files from being tracked in version control, update your .gitignore file to exclude the custom installation directories. Add entries like:




Step 3: Installing WordPress Plugins

To install a WordPress plugin from WPackagist using Composer, follow these steps:

  1. Search for the Plugin: Identify the plugin you want to install. For example, let's install the popular "Yoast SEO" plugin.

  2. Run Composer Command: Open your terminal or command prompt and navigate to your WordPress project directory. Use the following command:

composer require wpackagist-plugin/wordpress-seo

Replace wordpress-seo with the slug of the plugin you want to install. Composer will fetch the plugin from WPackagist and install it into your project.

Step 4: Installing WordPress Themes

To install a WordPress theme from WPackagist, follow a similar process:

  1. Identify the Theme: Decide which theme you want to use. For example, let's install the "Hueman" theme.

  2. Run Composer Command: Use the following command in your terminal:

composer require wpackagist-theme/hueman

Replace hueman with the theme slug you wish to install. Composer will download the theme from WPackagist and place it in your project directory.

Step 5: Install/Update Dependencies

After modifying composer.json, install or update dependencies to apply the new configuration:

composer install

Benefits of Custom Install Paths

By customizing installation paths, you can better organize your WordPress project and simplify dependency management. Composer will automatically install WordPress themes and plugins into designated directories, ensuring that your project structure remains clean and consistent.


Customizing Composer installation paths for WordPress themes and plugins enhances the development experience by promoting a modular and organized project structure. It allows for better version control and deployment strategies, making WordPress development more efficient and manageable.

Implement these steps in your WordPress projects to optimize your Composer setup and streamline your development workflow.

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