How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete PluginsIn a previous article, we explain what plugins are and how you can use plugins to easily add new features or functionality to your blog with no software programming knowledge required.

You can view the article here:

In this tutorial you will learn why plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to automatically upgrade and delete your WordPress plugins, and useful plugin management tools.

Why Many WordPress Plugins Need Upgrading

New WordPress versions are regularly released (about every 3-4 months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in previous versions, as well as to improve existing features or introduce new functionality to users.

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, you can expect to see at least some new new update notifications for plugins each time a new WordPress version is announced.

The reason for this, is because most WordPress plugins are created by third-party developers, so sometimes code or features in the new WordPress version conflict with plugins that were created and tested to work with 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 quite proactive when it comes to ensuring that plugins get updated when a new version of WordPress is released (if needed). All you need to do as a website owner, is just keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is very easy and simple to do.

Important Info

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

The WordPress step-by-step tutorial below explains how to automatically upgrade and delete WordPress plugins safely from the dashboard without web coding knowledge or skills necessary.

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress employs a few ways to let you know when your plugins need updating.

For example, you can immediately see how many plugins need updating as soon as you log into your Admin area by looking at the “Plugins” menu.

For example, in the screenshot below, nine WordPress plugins are out of date and need updating …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

You can also check how many plugins need updating from your WP Toolbar (the example below shows that several plugins should be brought up to date) …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

The Plugins section (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also notifies you about plugins that need updating …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

In addition to providing information about which plugins have available updates, the Plugins screen provides links to the plugin developer pages and gives you the option to update your plugin individually or in bulk …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your WordPress Dashboard

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

Upgrade WordPress Plugins Individually

Warning

Always make a backup of your site files and database before updating your website.

In your dashboard menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

The “Plugins” section will display in your browser. The table of plugins can be quite long depending on the number of plugins you have added to your site …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

(Plugins Section)

Useful Tip

Additional Info:

If you have too many plugins installed and would like to reduce the number of plugins displayed on the screen, then click on the Screen Options tab at the top of your Plugins screen and type in a smaller number of items per page (all plugins show up on the screen by default, i.e. “999”), then click Apply …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

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

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

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 area …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Inside The WP 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 update all plugins at the same time.

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

Bulk-Upgrading Plugins

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

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

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

And then click Apply

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The WP Admin Dashboard

Your selected plugins will automatically begin to update …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

Once all updates have been completed, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to the Plugins area, or go to another section of your dashboard …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In Your Dashboard

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” messages no longer display) …

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins In Your WordPress Dashboard

All plugins are now up-to-date!

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely

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

Now that you know how to upgrade inside your admin dashboard, let’s take a look at how to safely delete plugins from your blog or website.

How To Safely Delete Plugins

Occasionally, you may choose to remove WordPress plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This can help reduce resource usage and also help to eliminate potential 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 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 WP admin menu and select Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Update And Delete Plugins

In the Plugins page, find 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 …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Click Delete

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

If you would like to browse 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

All files belonging to the plugin that you are about to delete will display on your screen …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

If you are absolutely sure about going ahead and deleting the plugin files, click on the Yes, Delete these files button …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

Your plugins and related files will be deleted …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

How To Bulk-Delete Plugins

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

Important Info

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

Next, specify Deactivate from the Bulk Actions drop down menu …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Click Apply

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Your selected plugins will be deactivated …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

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

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely Inside Your 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 …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

Click the Apply button …

Updating 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 would like to go ahead and remove all of the plugins listed …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Managing WP Plugins

In addition to the methods shown above, you can use Free and Premium 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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"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)