Earlier this year, WordPress.com launched an experiment giving Business plan subscribers the ability to install third-party plugins and themes. Automattic concluded the experiment earlier this week and officially made the features part of the subscription plan. “With support for plugins and third-party themes, WordPress.com Business users will be able to connect their sites to great email and social media tools, e-commerce solutions, publishing and subscription services, and more,” Mark Armstrong said.
This change is twelve years in the making. With the exception of WordPress VIP, customers have not had the ability to install third-party themes and plugins on WordPress.com.
Customers Can Only Install Custom Plugins Through The WP-Admin Interface
Customers can install plugins or themes from the WordPress.org directories or they can upload custom themes and plugins. WordPress.com has two user interfaces, one that resembles Calypso and the other is WP-Admin.
Here is what adding plugins looks like using the Calypso interface. Plugins are displayed from the WordPress.org plugin directory with no way to upload a custom plugin.
This is what adding plugins looks like using the WP-Admin