How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Learn how to update and delete WordPress plugins inside your WordPress dashboard…

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete PluginsIn another article, we explain what plugins are and how you can use these to add new features to your website or blog without editing code.

You can read the article here:

In this tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping all WordPress plugins up-to-date, how to update and delete plugins from your site, and discover some great tools to help you better manage your plugins.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why Many WordPress Plugins Need Updating

WordPress constantly updates its software (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in earlier versions, and to improve existing features or introduce new functionality to WordPress users.

Depending on how many plugins you have installed on your site, you can expect to see at least some new new update notices for WordPress plugins each time a new version of WordPress is released.

This is because most WordPress plugins are created by 3rd-party developers, so sometimes the code in the new WordPress version conflicts with plugins that were built for a previous version. Whenever this happens, there is a potential for issues to sometimes develop.

Fortunately, most WordPress plugin developers (and the WordPress developer community itself) are very proactive when it comes to making sure that plugins get updated when a new version of WordPress is released (if needed). All you need to do as a WordPress user, is simply keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is very quick, simple and easy to do.

Useful Info

Keeping your plugins regularly updated and deleting old plugins you no longer need is part of good WordPress management and helps to avoid potential errors or problems.

The WordPress step-by-step tutorial below explains how to upgrade and delete plugins safely inside the WP dashboard without requiring web coding or programming skills.

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress uses several ways of letting users know when plugins need to be updated.

For example, you can see how many plugins need to be updated as soon as you log into your Admin area simply by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

In the screenshot below, you can see that 9 WordPress plugins have older versions that need to be updated …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

You can also tell how many plugins need updating from your WP Toolbar (the screenshot below shows that 9 plugins need updating) …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely From The WP Dashboard

The Plugins screen (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also tells you how many plugins need updating …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

As well as providing information about which plugins have available updates, the Plugins screen provides links to the plugin download sites and gives you the option to update your plugins with one-click …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Let’s start by learning how to update one WP plugin at a time.

Update WordPress Plugins Individually

Warning

Always make a complete backup of your site files and database before upgrading your blog or website.

From your main menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

The “Plugins” screen will display in your browser. The table of plugins can run down your page for a while, depending on how many plugins you have installed in your blog …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

(The WordPress Plugins Page)

Practical Tip

Additional Information:

If you have too many plugins installed and would like to reduce the number of plugins displayed on the page, then click on the Screen Options tab at the top of your Plugins screen and enter a smaller number of items per page (all plugins show up on the page by default), then click Apply …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Your Plugins area will now be made more manageable with a pagination feature added. You can find an installed plugin by scrolling through the pages or using the “Plugin Search” function …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins

WordPress displays plugin information in different backgrounds depending on the status of your plugins (inactive vs. active and up-to-date vs. outdated) …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Plugins that require upgrading have a distinctive notification message: “There is a new version of [Plugin Name] available”

How To Update And Delete Plugins

Locate the plugin that needs updating and click on the update now link …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The Dashboard

WordPress has done away with the loading screen when updating plugins and streamlined the process, so that updating your plugins takes place with just “one click” without leaving your Plugins area …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside The WP Admin Dashboard

Repeat the above process for all plugins on your site that need updating, or see the section below if you have many plugins that are out-of-date and would like to upgrade them all in bulk.

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Now that you know how to update WordPress plugins one at a time, it’s time to learn how to upgrade multiple WordPress plugins simultaneously.

How To Update Various Plugins Simultaneously

To upgrade multiple plugins simultaneously directly inside your dashboard, go to the “Plugins” area and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

Tick the checkbox in the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select each plugin you want to update by checking its box …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

In the Bulk Actions drop down menu above the list of plugins, choose Update

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins From The Dashboard

And then click Apply

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins

Your selected plugins will all be updated at once …

How To Update And Delete Plugins

After your plugins have all been updated, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to your Plugins area, or select another option from the sidebar menu …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

Once all plugins are up-to-date, any plugin alerts disappear (i.e. the “at-a-glance” indicators and “There is a new version of XYZ plugin available” notices no longer display on your screen, toolbar and menus) …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

You have updated all plugins on your site!

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely From The WP Dashboard

(When your site or blog uses the latest version of all plugins, the notification icons do not display)

Now that you know how to automatically update plugins, let’s show you how to safely remove plugins from your site or blog.

How To Remove Plugins

It’s a good idea to delete inactive plugins. This helps to decrease server resources and helps to eliminate causes of problems.

In this section, you will learn how to delete unused plugins from your site.

Warning

We strongly recommend creating a full back up of your site before installing, upgrading or deleting plugins, in case something goes wrong and you need to recover data or restore your site.

To remove a plugin, go to your admin menu and select Plugins > Installed Plugins

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

In the Plugins section, locate the plugin you want to delete and make sure it is deactivated.

Hint: Inactive plugins appear in a different colored background than active plugins and show an “Activate” link below the plugin name …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins In The WordPress Admin Dashboard

If the plugin is active, then click on Deactivate before going any further …

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely From Your WP Dashboard

Click on Delete

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

If you want to browse all the files that will be deleted before going ahead with the next step, then click on the “Click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” link in the “Delete Plugin” page …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

A complete list of files associated with the plugin that you are about to remove will be listed on your screen …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your WP Dashboard

If you are certain that you would like to go ahead and delete the selected plugin, click on the Yes, Delete these files button …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely From The WordPress Admin Dashboard

The selected plugin(s) will be removed from your server …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From The WP Admin Dashboard

Bulk-Deleting Plugins

You can delete all inactive plugins at once, or select a combination of active and inactive plugins to be deleted.

Info

Note: To delete any plugins that are presently active, you must first deactivate them.

Go to the “Plugins” section and select all of the active plugins that you want to delete by either placing a tick next to their checkbox, or selecting the checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely Inside The WP Admin Dashboard

Next, specify Deactivate from the Bulk Actions pull-down menu …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

Click Apply

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In The WP Admin Dashboard

To delete all or some of the inactive plugins on your site, go to the “Plugins” area and click on the Inactive link in the Plugins menu …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

Select all of the plugins you want to delete by either placing a tick next to their checkbox, or click on the checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select and delete all inactive plugins …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

Once you have ticked all the checkboxes next to the plugins that you want to delete, choose Delete from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

Click Apply

How To Update And Delete Plugins In Your Dashboard

A list of all selected plugins will be displayed in the Delete Plugins area. Click on “click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” to review all the plugin files that you are about to delete, or click on the Yes, Delete these files button if you are absolutely certain that you want to proceed to the next step and delete all of the selected plugins …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From The WordPress Dashboard

Your plugins will be deleted …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins

Managing Plugins

In addition to the methods shown above, you can use a range of tools that help you manage your WordPress plugins.

Health Check & troubleshooting

Health Check & Troubleshooting WordPress plugin
Health Check identifies common problems and helps you troubleshoot plugin and theme conflicts.

This plugin provides comprehensive checks for your WordPress installation to detect common configuration errors and known issues. It also enables plugins and themes to add their own custom checks.

The debug section allows you to easily gather information about your WordPress and server configuration, which can be shared with support representatives for themes, plugins, or on the official WordPress.org support forums.

The troubleshooting feature allows you to initiate a clean WordPress session, where all plugins are disabled and a default theme is used, but only for your user account until you choose to disable it or log out.

The Tools section offers the ability to check for file tampering in WordPress, test email-sending functionality, and verify plugin compatibility with future PHP version updates.

For more details, go here: Health Check And Troubleshooting

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

As discussed earlier, when plugin updates are released, the best practice is to update the plugin as soon as possible to its latest version.

What if you run multiple WordPress sites using the same plugin?

Typically, you would need to log in to every site individually and update the plugin manually from the site’s admin dashboard.

If you manage or plan to manage multiple sites, this process can become very time-consuming, especially as plugins get updated quite often.

If you manage multiple WordPress sites, you can install, update, and delete multiple plugins on all your sites automatically and simultaneously using WordPress site management tools, like the one below:

WPMU DEV’s The Hub

WPMU DEV's The Hub - Unlimited WordPress Site Management
WPMU DEV’s The Hub – Unlimited WordPress Site Management

The Hub lets you manage unlimited WordPress sites easily and effectively from one central command center.

The Updates section of The Hub shows you exactly what needs updating on each of your managed site(s), including plugins, themes, and core software updates.

WPMU DEV: The Hub - My Sites - Updates menu

The Hub’s Updates features display how many outdated components need updating on your site(s).

You can choose to either update all your plugins at once or update them individually with just a few clicks. Best of all, you don’t need to log into every site separately to perform your plugin updates.

WPMU DEV: The Hub - My Sites - Updates menu

Update everything at once or perform individual updates directly in The Hub with a few clicks.

This can be a real time-saver when managing multiple WordPress sites, especially when WordPress releases a new version and you have to update many plugins and themes to prevent potential issues from happening.

The Hub - Update notifications.
This feature can help you save a lot of time updating multiple WordPress sites, especially when WordPress releases a new version of its software.

You can read our comprehensive article on managing multiple sites effectively using the Hub or visit WPMU DEV to learn more and try The Hub for free.

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