How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins SafelyIn a previous post, we explain what plugins are and how you can use plugins to easily add new features to your website with no coding skills required.

To view the article, go here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn why WordPress plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to update and uninstall plugins, and some tips to help you better manage your plugins if you currently own or manage multiple WordPress sites or blogs.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why Many WordPress Plugins Need Frequent Updating

WordPress regularly updates its software (about every 3-4 months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in earlier software versions, and to improve existing features.

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, there will typically be new new update notifications for plugins each time a new WordPress version is made available.

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

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

Important Info

Keeping your WordPress plugins up-to-date and deleting old plugins you no longer use is an essential aspect of good WordPress site management and helps to avoid errors and conflicts.

The WordPress tutorial below explains how to automatically update and delete plugins without requiring coding skills.

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress employs several methods of letting users know when plugins need to be updated.

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

In the example below, you can see that nine WP plugins have older versions that need to be updated …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

You can also check how many plugins need updating from your WordPress Notification Toolbar (in the example below, you can see how many plugins need to be updated) …

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins In The WordPress Admin Dashboard

The Plugins screen (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also provides information about plugins that need updating …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

Let’s start by showing you how to upgrade WP plugins individually.

Update Single WordPress Plugins

Warning

We strongly recommend making a complete backup of your website before making any changes to your blog or website.

From your admin menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Update And Delete Plugins

The “Plugins” area will display in your browser. The table of plugins can flow down your screen for a while, depending on the number of plugins you have added to your blog …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

(The WordPress Plugins Section)

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 screen and enter a smaller number of items per page (by default, all plugins display on the screen), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

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

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In The Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Plugins that need upgrading show the following notification message: “There is a new version of [Insert Plugin Name] available”

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

WordPress has done away with the loading screen when updating plugins and streamlined the process, so that updating your plugins happens “behind the scenes” without leaving your Plugins screen …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Inside Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

Repeat the above process for any other plugins on your site that need to be updated, or refer to the section below if you have many plugins that are out-of-date and would like to update them all in bulk.

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Now that you know how to upgrade individual plugins, the next step is to learn how to bulk-upgrade WP plugins.

How To Upgrade Several WP Plugins

To bulk-upgrade WordPress plugins using the automatic updating feature, go to the “Plugins” page and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The WordPress Admin Dashboard

Click on the checkbox in the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select only the plugins you want to update by checking its box …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

In the Bulk Actions dropdown menu above your plugin table, choose Update

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

And then click Apply

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

The plugins you have selected will automatically begin updating …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

Once all plugins have been updated, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to return to the Plugins section, or choose another option from the admin menu …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely In The WP Dashboard

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

You have updated all plugins on your site!

How To Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress

(When your plugins are all up-to-date, notification icons do not display)

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

Deleting WordPress Plugins

At times, you may want to delete plugins that are no longer needed or being used on your site. This can help to decrease resource usage and helps to eliminate potential problems.

In this section, we show you how to safely 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 delete a plugin, go to your dashboard menu and click on Plugins > Installed Plugins

Updating And Deleting Plugins From The WordPress Admin Dashboard

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

Hint: Inactive plugins are listed in a different background color than active plugins and display an “Activate” link below the plugin name …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

If the plugin is active, then click on Deactivate before proceeding with your plugin deletion …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

Click Delete

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

If you would like to have a look at all the files that will be deleted before taking the next step, then click on the “Click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” link in the “Delete Plugin” section …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

The entire list of files belonging to the plugin that you are about to delete will be listed on your screen …

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins In Your Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

The selected plugin(s) will be deleted …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Deleting Multiple Plugins Simultaneously

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

Info

Note: To delete any plugins that are presently active, you 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 checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

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

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

Click the Apply button …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely From Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

Your selected plugins will be deactivated …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Click the checkbox in the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select only the plugins you want to delete by checking its box …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

Once you have ticked all the check boxes next to the plugins that you want to delete, specify Delete from the Bulk Actions drop-down menu …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

Click Apply

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

A list of all selected plugins will display 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 would like to go ahead and delete all of the selected plugins …

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

The plugins will be deleted and their associated files will be removed from your server …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

Useful Management Tools For Plugins

In addition to the methods shown above, you can install a number of third-party tools 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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