A quick guide to finding your addon folder and using an addon manager for Classic WoW and Shadowlands players
You want to take your game to the next level with that sweet new addon, but first, you need to find your WoW addon folder. In this brief guide, I’ll show you where the default folder is and a neat trick to find it if it seems to be missing.
Where is the WoW addon folder?
The WoW addon folder is located in the same path as your World of Warcraft installation. On Windows 10, the default path is C:\World of Warcraft\_retail_\Interface\AddOns. If you are looking for the WoW Classic addon folder, the path will be the same except the “_retail_” should be replaced with “_classic_”.
If you are playing on a Mac, you can see the default locations listed in the following table:
|OS||Version||Addon Folder Location|
|Windows 10||Retail||C:\World of Warcraft\_retail_\Interface\AddOns|
|Windows 10||Classic||C:\World of Warcraft\_classic_\Interface\AddOns|
|Mac||Retail||Macintosh HD/Applications/World of Warcraft/_retail_/Interface/Addons|
|Mac||Classic||Macintosh HD/Applications/World of Warcraft/_classic_/Interface/Addons|
What if I can’t find my WoW addon folder?
You have searched high and low in the default location and cannot find the addons folder to save your life.
If this happens, the most likely problem is that your World of Warcraft game files was installed somewhere other than the default. This can happen if you choose a different location when you first set up the game. Hey, I get it, World of Warcraft takes up a lot of memory and you had to move it to a different location.
Luckily, it is a super easy fix.
You can follow these steps to find the exact location of your WoW addon folder:
- Open your Battle.net application
- Click on the Options cogwheel next to your ‘Play’ button.
- Select ‘Show in Explorer’ from the list.
- Navigate to World of Warcraft -> _retail_ OR _classic_ -> Interface -> AddOns
If you have a working installation of the game, this approach will work 99 out of 100 times. However, what if you can’t find the addon folder because it doesn’t exist?
I have no WoW addon folder!
Let’s say you find your World of Warcraft installation and navigate to the appropriate game files (retail or classic) and do not have an AddOns folder in Interface. If this happens, you can actually just create a new folder in its place. Just make sure to follow the exact capitalization because it is case-sensitive.
By default, the AddOns folder is empty so you don’t need to add anything else to it. From there, you are free to fill it up with the files for the addons you want to use. Just make sure you unzip the addons before placing them in the folder. Most addons downloads come in a zipped format, which will not load into the game properly if not unzipped first.
Installing addons with an addon manager
Chances are good that you stumbled on this article because you are trying to install or update addons. As an alternative to manually unzipping and placing addons in your folder, you can use an addon manager.
An addon manager will allow you to download and update addons with a single click… and even better, they will usually automatically detect the location of your WoW addon folder.
Even addons which traditionally required manual installation like ElvUI are now installable and updatable through addon managers.
The manager I recommend is WowUp. It is lightweight, free, and open source. It supports addons on Windows, Mac, and Linux!
If you want to read more about addon managers and installing addons, check out my article: How to Install WoW Addons in 2021.
Addons make playing World of Warcraft a much more enjoyable experience. It is even better when you realize that addons are being created by passionate members of the community who love the game and develop helpful tools without the expectation of reward. So, next time you run into an addon developer on the street, make sure to give them a big hug and thank them for all their work.