How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

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

How To Update And Delete PluginsIn another post, we provide a detailed explanation of what WP plugins are about and how you can use plugins to add new features and functionality to your website or blog with no software programming skills required.

To read the article, go here:

In this tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping your WordPress plugins up-to-date, how to upgrade and uninstall plugins, and practical tools to help you better manage your plugins.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why Some WordPress Plugins Need To Be Upgraded

New versions of WordPress are frequently being released (about every 3-4 months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in older releases, as well as to improve existing features or introduce new functionality to users.

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, there will typically be new new update notices for plugins when WordPress releases a new version.

This is because most plugins for WordPress are created by third-party developers, so sometimes code in the newly-released WordPress version conflicts with plugins that were developed and tested with a previous version. When this happens, there is a potential for problems to sometimes occur.

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

Useful Info

Keeping your plugins regularly updated and removing old plugins you no longer need is an essential aspect of good WordPress site management and helps to avoid potential problems and errors.

The WordPress step-by-step tutorial below explains how to update and delete plugins safely without requiring web coding or programming knowledge or skills.

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In The WordPress Dashboard – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress utilizes several methods to inform you when plugins need updating.

For example, you can see how many plugins need updating inside your Admin area just by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

In the screenshot below, 9 plugins have older versions that need updating …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

You can also see how many plugins need updating from your WordPress Admin Toolbar (in the screenshot below, you can again see that nine plugins require updating) …

How To Update And Delete Plugins In The WordPress Dashboard

The Plugins page (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also tells you how many plugins need to be updated …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

As well as providing information about plugins that have available updates, the Plugins page provides links to the plugin download pages and gives you the option to update the plugin individually or in bulk …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

Let’s start by learning how to update individual plugins.

Upgrade Plugins Individually

Warning

Always make a full backup of your website before upgrading your website.

In your admin menu, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins

You will be taken to the “Plugins” screen. The table of plugins can go down your screen for a while, depending on how many plugins you have added to your blog …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Inside The Dashboard

(Plugins Page)

Useful Tip

Notes:

If you have too many plugins and would like to make this section more manageable, then click on the Screen Options tab at the top of your Plugins page and type in a smaller number of items per page (by default, all plugins display on the page), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

Your Plugins area will now be reduced in size with a page scrolling feature added. You can find an installed plugin by scrolling through the pages or using the “Search Plugins” function …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins From The WP Admin Dashboard

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

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

Plugins that need updating have a distinctive notification message: “There is a new version of [Plugin] available”

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

WordPress provides simpler plugin updates, so that the process of updating your plugins happens with just “one click” without leaving your Plugins area …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Inside Your WP Dashboard

Repeat the above process for any other plugins on your site that need updating, or see the section below if you have several plugins that are out-of-date and would like to upgrade all plugins in one simple operation.

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Now that you know how to update one WordPress plugin at a time, let’s show you how to bulk-update WordPress plugins.

How To Update Several Plugins Simultaneously

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Tick the check box in the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select only the plugins you want to upgrade by checking its box …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

In the Bulk Actions drop down menu above the plugin table, select Update

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

Click Apply

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In Your Dashboard

Your selected plugins will begin to update automatically …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

After the update process has been completed, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to return to the Plugins screen, or go to a different section of your dashboard …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

You have updated all plugins on your site!

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins From The Dashboard

(When your site uses the latest version of all plugins, update messages do not display)

Now that you know how to automatically upgrade in the WP dashboard, let’s show you how to uninstall plugins from your blog or website.

Deleting Plugins

It’s a good idea to uninstall plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This decreases server resources and eliminates problems.

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

Warning

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

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside Your WP Dashboard

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

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins In The Dashboard

Next, click Delete

Updating And Deleting Plugins From Your Dashboard

If you would like to review a list of all the files that will be deleted before proceeding any further, then click on the “Click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” link in the “Delete Plugin” section …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

All files associated with the plugin that you are about to delete will be listed on your screen …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

If you are absolutely sure that you want to proceed and delete the selected plugin, then click on the Yes, Delete these files button …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

Your plugins and related files will be deleted from your server …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Bulk-Deleting WP Plugins

You can bulk-delete all inactive plugins on your site, or select a combination of active and inactive plugins to be uninstalled.

Useful Information

Note: To delete any plugins that are currently active, your will first need to 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 check box next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

Once you have done this, choose Deactivate from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In Your WordPress Dashboard

Click the Apply button …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

Your selected plugins will be deactivated …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely

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

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

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

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

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins In The WordPress Dashboard

Click Apply

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins From Your Dashboard

A list of all selected plugins will show up in the Delete Plugins screen. 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 sure that you would like to go ahead and delete all of the plugins listed …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins From The Dashboard

All selected plugins will be deleted …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

Management Tools For WordPress Plugins

As well as the methods shown above, you can use other WordPress plugins to 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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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)