Don’t Let Your Plugin Be Activated on Incompatible Sites

When you write a WordPress plugin, you can specify a minimum WordPress version that your code is compatible with, using the “Requires” option in your plugin header, but it isn’t enforced. Along with that, there’s no way to specify a minimum version of PHP or MySQL.

This can cause your users to have bad experiences with your plugin, and you’ll get bad ratings.

So, here’s how I make sure my plugins are only activated when I want them to be.

//  In this example, only allow activation on WordPress 3.7 or higher
class MyPlugin {
    function __construct() {
        add_action( 'admin_init', array( $this, 'check_version' ) );

        // Don't run anything else in the plugin, if we're on an incompatible WordPress version
        if ( ! self::compatible_version() ) {

    // The primary sanity check, automatically disable the plugin on activation if it doesn't
    // meet minimum requirements.
    static function activation_check() {
        if ( ! self::compatible_version() ) {
            deactivate_plugins( plugin_basename( __FILE__ ) );
            wp_die( __( 'My Plugin requires WordPress 3.7 or higher!', 'my-plugin' ) );

    // The backup sanity check, in case the plugin is activated in a weird way,
    // or the versions change after activation.
    function check_version() {
        if ( ! self::compatible_version() ) {
            if ( is_plugin_active( plugin_basename( __FILE__ ) ) ) {
                deactivate_plugins( plugin_basename( __FILE__ ) );
                add_action( 'admin_notices', array( $this, 'disabled_notice' ) );
                if ( isset( $_GET['activate'] ) ) {
                    unset( $_GET['activate'] );

    function disabled_notice() {
       echo '<strong>' . esc_html__( 'My Plugin requires WordPress 3.7 or higher!', 'my-plugin' ) . '</strong>';

    static function compatible_version() {
        if ( version_compare( $GLOBALS['wp_version'], '3.7', '<' ) ) {
             return false;

        // Add sanity checks for other version requirements here

        return true;

global $myplugin;
$myplugin = new MyPlugin();

register_activation_hook( __FILE__, array( 'MyPlugin', 'activation_check' ) );

It’s only a little extra code when added to a plugin, provides complete protection, and won’t cause any weirdness on the front end of your site, it’ll just deactivate itself either on activation, or when someone visits wp-admin.


3 thoughts on “Don’t Let Your Plugin Be Activated on Incompatible Sites

  1. Pingback: How To Prevent WordPress Plugins From Activating On Sites With Incompatible Hosting Environments

  2. Hi,

    You have this Wp pluggin name ‘Job Manager’ does it have this code?

    It’s labeled as ‘Requires: 2.9 or higher’.

    A friend of mine installed it and he told me it was working perfect; recently after he gave the site to his client, the site stoped to show the information for every job entry.

    I told him he was using a newer version of WP but I wanted to ask you just to make sure that’s what’s causing he’s troubles since he told me in the beginning everything was fine.

    Regards from C.R


  3. I have activated the plugin and I have latest version of wordpress but it doesn’t seem to work. When I press apply, it doesn’t show anything..please help

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