How To Update WordPress Plugins

Learn how to easily update all of your plugins inside your WordPress dashboard…

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely From The DashboardIn a previous post, we provide an overview of what plugins are about and how you can use plugins to add new features and functionality to your website or blog with no coding skills required.

You can view the article here:

In this tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping all WordPress plugins up-to-date, how to automatically update and delete plugins, and discover practical tips to help you better manage your plugins if you need to own or manage multiple WordPress sites or blogs.

Why Your WordPress Plugins Need Regular Updating

New versions of WordPress are frequently being released (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in previous 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 WordPress plugins whenever new WordPress versions are announced.

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

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 needed). All you have to do on your end, is just maintain your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is really simple and easy to do.

Important Info

Keeping your WordPress plugins up-to-date and deleting old plugins you no longer use is part of good WordPress management and helps to avoid any potential errors and conflicts.

The WordPress step-by-step tutorial below explains how to update and delete plugins without editing web code.

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins In The WordPress Dashboard – Tutorial

WordPress has a number of different ways of letting you know when plugins on your blog need to be updated.

For example, you can see ‘at a glance’ how many plugins need updating inside your WordPress Dashboard just by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

For example, in the screenshot below, 9 WordPress plugins have older versions that need updating …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins In Your Dashboard

You can also view how many plugins need to be updated from your WP Toolbar (as shown below, 9 plugins should be brought up to date) …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From The Dashboard

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely From The WP Dashboard

In addition to providing information about which plugins have available updates, the Plugins section provides links to the plugin developer sites and gives you the option to update your plugin with one-click …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

Let’s start by learning how to upgrade plugins individually.

How To Upgrade Single A Plugin

Warning

Always make a complete backup of your website before updating your blog or website.

From your admin menu, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

You will be taken to the “Plugins” area. The list of plugins can flow down your page for some length, depending on how many plugins you have installed in your site …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely

(Plugins Section)

Useful Tip

Useful Information:

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 type in a smaller number of items per page (by default, all plugins display on the page), then click Apply …

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins From The WordPress Admin Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside Your WP Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

Locate the plugin that needs to be updated and click on the update now link …

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

Repeat the above process for all 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 update them all in bulk.

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Now that you know how to upgrade individual plugins, it’s time to learn how to bulk-update plugins.

Bulk-Updating WP Plugins

To bulk-upgrade WordPress plugins simultaneously from your admin area, go to the “Plugins” area and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

In the Bulk Actions dropdown menu above the table of plugins, choose Update

Updating And Deleting Plugins

And then click Apply

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Your selected plugins will automatically begin to update …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins

Once all updates have completed, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to return to the Plugins section, or select another option from the WP admin menu …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

All plugins are now up-to-date!

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From Your Dashboard

(When plugins on your site are up-to-date, notification icons disappear)

Now that you know how to automatically upgrade your in your admin dashboard, let’s show you how to safely delete plugins from your WordPress site.

How To Delete WordPress Plugins

As part of good WordPress blog management practices, it’s a good idea to delete plugins that you no longer need. This can decrease resources on your server and helps to eliminate problems.

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

Warning

Always create 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 main menu and select Plugins > Installed Plugins

Updating And Deleting Plugins Inside The WordPress Dashboard

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

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins In Your WP Dashboard

Next, click on Delete

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In The WordPress Admin Dashboard

If you want to review a list of 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 Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress

The entire list of files belonging to the plugin selected for removalwill be listed on your screen …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely In The WordPress Admin Dashboard

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

The selected plugins and related files will be deleted …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

How To Safely Bulk-Delete WordPress Plugins

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

Info

Note: To delete any plugins that are currently 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 check box, or selecting the check box 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

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Click the Apply button …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely From The WP Dashboard

Once you have deactivated these plugins, click on the Inactive link on the menu at the top of the page …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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 …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

Once you have selected all of the plugins that you want to delete, choose Delete from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Click Apply

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

A list of all selected plugins will display 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 sure that you want to proceed to the next step and delete all of the selected plugins …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely From Your WP Admin Dashboard

All plugins will be deleted …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In Your WP Dashboard

WordPress Tools For Managing Plugins

In addition to the methods shown above, you can use a number of 3rd-party 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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"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)