how to install and manage addons
  • Author: Luxrah
  • Date: April 6, 2023
  • Updated: April 6, 2023
  • Expansion: World of Warcraft

Third-party addons are widely used in World of Warcraft to modify the interface and add functionality beyond what the default UI provides. While they are not required to play the game, addons can enhance a player’s ability to recognize and react to various game mechanics. Many high-level guilds and groups require their members to have at least a few addons installed, such as a boss mod, damage meter, and aura tracker.

One thing to keep in mind when installing addons is that World of Warcraft is a live game which is receiving constant updates, and addons also need to be updated regularly to keep them current. For this reason, we recommend using an addon manager. While it is possible to download and update addons manually, an addon manager makes the process much simpler.

Where to Find Addons

There are several addon repositories that you can browse for addons. Some of them have their own addon managers, and some can be accessed by other addon managers.

  • CurseForge is the largest addon repository for World of Warcraft. It also has its own very popular addon manager.
  • WoWInterface is a longstanding alternative to CurseForge. It does not have its own addon manager.
  • Wago has a growing addon repository to compliment their very popular profile sharing site for WeakAuras and other addons. They also have their own addon manager, WagoApp.
  • Tukui is a smaller site that supports the popular Tukui and ElvUI interface overhauls and their associated addons. The site has its own addon manager, Tukui Client.

We’ll cover the addon managers for Curse, Wago, and Tukui in their own sections below. First, we’ll look at manual installation of addons without using an app.

curse most downloaded addons
The most downloaded addons on CurseForge

How to Install Addons Manually

Installing addons manually is a simple matter of downloading the files and placing them in the correct folder.

Download

Go to the page for the addon you want to install using your web browser and look for a download button. Be sure to download the correct version of the addon! You may see different versions for Classic WoW or other old expansions. Look for the current expansion and ideally the current patch number.

Install

Now navigate to your Downloads folder (or wherever you chose to download the file to your hard drive). Find the file you downloaded, which should be a .zip file. Right-click it and select Extract All. The addon folders should appear in your downloads folder.

Next you’ll need to locate the folder where World of Warcraft is installed on your hard drive and find your Addons folder inside it. By default this should be C:\ProgramFiles(x86)\WorldofWarcraft\_retail_\Interface\Addons, but you may have installed it in a different location. When you find it, move or paste the folders you extracted in your downloads folder.

Enable

Now you can launch the game. In the character selection screen, look for the AddOns button in the bottom left corner. Click it ensure that the addons you want to use have their checkboxes ticked. You can also enable addons in the game by hitting Esc and clicking the AddOns button in the Game Menu.

in game addon list
The character selection screen AddOn List

How to Use Addon Managers

Using an addon manager can make installing and updating your addons a lot easier. But which one should you use?

  • WoWUp is a popular open source addon manager that was developed to support multiple repositories. It currently supports addons from CurseForge, Wago, WoWInterface, and Tukui.
  • CurseForge is a widely-used addon manager, with access to the largest repository of addons on the web. There are a few addons that aren’t available through CurseForge, but not many.
  • WagoApp is a newer addon manager that allows you to update your individual WeakAuras as well as any addons that are available on the Wago site.
  • Tukui Client is the addon manager for the Tukui website, which is the only place you can download ElvUI.

There have been some other niche addon managers, but these are the most widely used and well-supported. Which one you choose will depend upon what addons you plan to install and your own preferences. You may even want to use more than one: for example, WagoApp to manage your WeakAuras, Tukui Client for ElvUI, and CurseForge for everything else.

WoWUp is an open source addon manager that currently supports addons from all of the major sites as well as those that have been uploaded to its own growing repository. The addon manager was originally designed as an alternative to the CurseForge client before the standalone version was made available. It remains popular due to its support of multiple sites, something that none of the other addon managers on our list can do. The only thing it doesn’t support is updating individual WeakAuras, which only WagoApp can do. It also has a spotty history of support for CurseForge due to the strict restrictions around the use of CurseForge’s API.

Download

To download the WoWUp addon manager, head to WowUp.io and choose your version. The Wago version will allow you to download addons from the Wago repository while the CurseForge version will allow you to download from CurseForge. Unfortunately, you can’t have both in the same app.

wowup download options
Choose the Wago or CurseForge version

Install

Download the version you want to use and run the installer, and you’ll be able to use the WowUp app. There isn’t much setup required for this app, so you should be able to jump right in.

If you run into trouble with WoWUp, the Guide and Discord buttons in the lower left can help you find support. You can get to the app’s settings by clicking on Options on the left.

Manage

If you have multiple versions of WoW installed, you can switch between them using the dropdown menu at the top of the app. Make sure you are in the correct version when you install your addons.

wowup addon manager
The WoWUp addon manager

You can manage your addons by clicking one of the buttons in the upper left-hand corner of the app.

My Addons is where you can update and manage your currently installed addons. Right-click on any addon in the list to get a menu with a bunch of options like Re-Install, Remove, Show Folder, or View on Website.

Get Addons is where you can browse addons across all of the repositories available to WoWUp. You can click on the Categories button in the upper right-hand corner to view addons from different categories, or you can click on the Downloads column heading to see the most downloaded. Click on the name of any addon in the list to see more about it. You can install an addon from the list or from its popup page. It will then appear in your My Addons tab.

Enable

Be sure to enable your new addons in the game! In the character selection screen, look for the AddOns button in the bottom left corner. Click it ensure that the addons you want to use have their checkboxes ticked. You can also enable addons in the game by hitting Esc and clicking the AddOns button in the Game Menu.

CurseForge has been around for a long time, and it’s where you’ll find the largest number of addons for World of Warcraft. The site’s addon manager is extremely popular for this reason. You can browse and install your addons right in the app, and update them there as well. The downside is that it only works for addons that are on the CurseForge site, but there are only a few popular addons that do not fit that criteria (ElvUI being the most notable).

Download

To download the CurseForge addon manager, head to the app’s download page on the CurseForge website. There are two different versions of this addon manager! If you scroll to the download options section, you can choose between the Overwolf and Standalone versions. Overwolf is a much larger program with features that are not needed for addon management. We recommend the Standalone client.

curseforge download options
We recommend CurseForge Standalone

Install

Download the program and run the installer, and you’ll be able to use the CurseForge app. When you first open the app, you will have to select your game. CurseForge can detect and manage mods for many other games beyond World of Warcraft.

In the lower left there are icons for support and app settings.

Manage

If you have multiple versions of WoW installed, you can switch between them using the dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner of the app. Make sure you are in the correct version when you install your addons.

If you click on the three dots next to the version dropdown menu, there is an option to open your Addons folder, which can come in handy.

curseforge client addon manager
The CurseForge standalone client addon manager

At the top of the app underneath the search bar are two tabs.

My Addons is where you can update and manage your currently installed addons. Right-click on any addon in the list to get a menu with a bunch of options like Reinstall, Delete Addon, View Addon Website, and Browse Folder.

Get More Addons is where you can browse all the addons on CurseForge. You can click on Browse by category, or click View All next to Popular or New Releases. Click the name of any addon in the list to see more about it. You can install an addon from the list or from the addon page. It will then appear in your My Addons tab.

Enable

Be sure to enable your new addons in the game! In the character selection screen, look for the AddOns button in the bottom left corner. Click it ensure that the addons you want to use have their checkboxes ticked. You can also enable addons in the game by hitting Esc and clicking the AddOns button in the Game Menu.

Wago started out as a place to share WeakAuras and other importable profiles and settings for addons. They’ve since added their own addon repository and an addon manager to go with it. The thing that sets this app apart from the others is its ability to update your individual WeakAuras as well as your addons.

Download

To download WagoApp, head to the app’s download page on Wago.io. Just hit the big red Download now button. Easy peasy.

wagoapp download options
Push the big red button

Install

Download the program and run the installer, and you’ll be able to use WagoApp. When you first open the app, you’ll have to go through a quick setup process. A couple of clicks later you can start managing your addons.

There’s a Settings button on the left if you need to change anything.

Manage

If you have multiple versions of WoW installed, you can switch between them using the dropdown menu in the lower left-hand corner of the app.

wago addon manager
The WagoApp addon manager

You can manage your addons by clicking one of the buttons in the upper left-hand corner of the app.

Addons is where you can update and manage your currently installed addons. Right-click on any addon in the list to get a menu with options to Browse Folder, Delete Settings, or Delete Addon. You can also click any addon in the list to see more about it.

WeakAuras is where you can update your individual Weakauras. Click on any WeakAura in the list to see more about it.

Note that there is no addon browser built into WagoApp, unlike the other addon managers. You will have to install new addons from the Wago site via your web browser.

Enable

Be sure to enable your addons in the game! In the character selection screen, look for the AddOns button in the bottom left corner. Click it ensure that the addons you want to use have their checkboxes ticked. You can also enable addons in the game by hitting Esc and clicking the AddOns button in the Game Menu.

The Tukui Client is specifically for the management of Tukui, ElvUI, and their associated plugins on the Tukui website. These UI overhauls are exclusive to the Tukui site, and the only other addon manager that can currently access them is WoWUp. Despite this addon manager’s narrow focus, ElvUI in particular is popular enough to warrant including the Tukui Client in this guide.

Download

To download the Tukui Client, head to the download page for your operating system: Windows or Mac. Click the big DOWNLOAD button.

tukui client download options
Download for Windows or Mac

Install

Find the .zip file in your downloads folder and extract it. Then, run Tukui Setup.msi and follow the instructions in the installer.

When you’re done, you’ll be able to use the Tukui Client app.

Settings for the app can be adjusted by going to the Tools menu and clicking on Options.

Manage

If you have multiple versions of WoW installed, you can switch between them using the dropdown menu in the lower right-hand corner of the app. Make sure you are in the correct version when you install your addons.

tukui addon manager
The Tukui Client addon manager

At the top of the app underneath the menu bar are two tabs.

My Addons is where you can update and manage your currently installed addons. Select any addon in the list and click the Visit Site button to see its page on the Tukui website.

Browse is where you can browse all the addons on Tukui.org. You can also install Tukui or ElvUI here – they each have their own button underneath the tabs. Select any addon in the list and click the Visit Site button to see its page on the Tukui website. You can install an addon from the list or from the addon page on the website. It will then appear in your My Addons tab.

Enable

Be sure to enable your new addons in the game! In the character selection screen, look for the AddOns button in the bottom left corner. Click it ensure that the addons you want to use have their checkboxes ticked. You can also enable addons in the game by hitting Esc and clicking the AddOns button in the Game Menu.

ElvUI and some other addons from this site also have their own in-game installers that will pop up when you load the game.

 

About the Author

Luxrah

I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off since vanilla, usually as a healer or caster and often as a guild leader. I play both retail and classic. I also love RPGs, sandboxes, and sims.
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