I have a plugin that I do not want to be activated if it doesn't meet a certain WP version number then show error message in admin_notices action hook. As far as I have researched, the code below is the best that I can achieve this goal:

$wp_version = get_bloginfo('version');
if ( $wp_version < 4.5 ) {
    add_action( 'admin_init', 'deactivate_plugin_now' );
    add_action( 'admin_notices', 'errormsg' ) );

public function deactivate_plugin_now() {
    if ( is_plugin_active('myplugin/myplugin.php') ) {

public function errormsg () {
    $class = 'notice notice-error';
    $message = __( 'Error you did not meet the WP minimum version', 'text-domain' );
    printf( '<div class="%1$s"><p>%2$s</p></div>', $class, $message );

But I think I am still doing it wrong because I'm getting the plugin activated message at the same time with the error notice that I assigned.

Stop a plugin in the activation process when a certain WP version is not met

What would be the proper action hook / filter to properly stop the plugin activation process so I will only get the error message?

  • Plese @CarlAlberto consider my answer.
    – prosti
    Jan 5 '17 at 17:15

I may be late to this party, but to stop plugin activation and have WordPress show an error message where the admin notices go, I simply output an error message and terminate execution. This has the added advantage of playing nice with wp-cli:

Plugin activation failed


class testPlugin() {


   static function activate() {

   //[do some stuff here]

   if ($error) {
      die('Plugin NOT activated: ' . $error);


register_activation_hook( __FILE__, array( 'testPlugin', 'activate' ));

Essentialy, you can not do it the way you want. All wordpress form are redirecting after completing their process and do not generate output by themself and therefor the error message is generated on a different page request. If your plugin will not be active at that point, there will be no message displayed. Further complication is that plugins might be activated by Ajax.

An ugly but working way is to fail the activation by generating an php error, or IIRC any output will do, so you can just output something like "version mismatch" in the plugin activation hook, which will be displayed in the error output box that is being displayed when activation fails.

Something to think about: people might include your plugin files, or somehow activate it forcefully by bypassing the UI, or using wp-cli. depending on the reasons you want to fail the activation, just having the error message might be better than trying to fail the activation


Since you updated the title I need to provide the another answer, the previous one please don't ignore because it is even more simple than this one.

add_action( 'admin_notices', 'my_plugin_admin_notices' );

function my_plugin_admin_notices() {
    if ( ! is_plugin_active( 'hello.php' ) && isset( $_GET['customhello'] ) ) {
        echo '<div class="error"><p>WordPress need to be at least 8.5 to activate this plugin</p></div>';

add_action( 'activate_plugin', '_20170113_superess_activate', 10, 2 );

function _20170113_superess_activate( $plugin, $network_wide ) {
    global $wp_version;
    if ( $wp_version < 8.5 && 'hello.php' == $plugin ) {
        $redirect = self_admin_url( 'plugins.php?customhello=1' );
        wp_redirect( $redirect );

enter image description here

Please note that when you try to activate the plugin you interact with plugins.php file. In there you have a big switch of actions that you can run.

And in case you have the error set $_GET['error'] at the moment you have just the predefined error messages — you cannot create your own custom message. This is why I proposed you the solution like this.

enter image description here

One may propose the custom messages as admin notices to the WordPress core in cases plugins do not meet some requirements.

  • 4
    This does not work. If the plugin is not active, WP won't execute the scripts in the file, therefore, when hitting the redirect url, the function hooked to admin_notices isn't fired.
    – JakeParis
    Jun 6 '17 at 15:12

How about this code to suppress hello.php (Hello Dolly) if WP < 8.5:

 add_action( 'activate_plugin', '_20170113_superess_activate' , 10, 2);

 function _20170113_superess_activate($plugin, $network_wide){
      global $wp_version;

      if ( $wp_version < 8.5 && 'hello.php' == $plugin ) {
        error_log( 'WordPress need to be at least 8.5' );      
        $args = var_export( func_get_args(), true );
        error_log( $args );
        wp_die( 'WordPress need to be at least 8.5 to activate this plugin' );

I think this is good because it doesn't force you to create admin notices. You will simply get the feedback about the reason for abortion of the plugin install.

I added this code for HelloDolly, but you will need to adjust.

  • 1
    thanks, using this method to prevent users from activating certain plugins Nov 19 at 15:11
  • 1
    ah, it takes sometimes so long 4 years for the code snippet to help someone. :) nice.
    – prosti
    Nov 22 at 9:40

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