How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In The WP Admin DashboardIn a previous blog post, we explain what plugins are and how you can use these to easily add new features and functionality to your site with no technical skills required.

To view this article, go here:

In this tutorial you will learn why WordPress plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to safely update and delete your WordPress plugins, and discover useful tools to help you better manage your plugins.

Why Plugins Need Updating

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

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

The reason for this, is because most plugins for WordPress are created by third-party developers, so sometimes code in the new WordPress version conflicts with plugins that were developed for a previous version. When this happens, issues can sometimes occur.

Fortunately, most WordPress plugin developers (and the WordPress developer community itself) are quite proactive when it comes to making sure that plugins get updated when a new version of WordPress is released (if required). All you need to do on your end, is just maintain your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is really simple to do.

Useful Information

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

The step-by-step tutorial below explains how to upgrade and delete plugins safely from the WP admin dashboard with no web programming skills needed.

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely – Tutorial

WordPress utilizes several ways to inform you when plugins need to be updated.

For example, you can instantly see how many plugins need updating from your WordPress Dashboard simply by looking at the “Plugins” menu.

In the example below, you can see that nine plugins are out of date and need to be updated …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins In Your Dashboard

You can also check how many plugins need updating from your WP Toolbar (in the screenshot below, you can again see that nine plugins have to be updated) …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely In Your WP Admin Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

How To Upgrade Individual Plugins

Warning

Always make a full backup of your data and files before upgrading your blog or website.

From your WP admin menu, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely In Your Dashboard

You will be taken to the “Plugins” screen. The table of plugins can flow down your screen for some length, depending on the number of plugins you have added to your blog …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely

(Plugins Section)

Tip

Additional Info:

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Your Plugins section 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 “Plugin Search” feature …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Repeat the above process for any other plugins on your site that need updating, or refer to 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 update individual plugins, let’s show you how to bulk-upgrade WordPress plugins.

Bulk-Upgrading WP Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

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 their individual boxes …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

In the Bulk Actions pull-down menu at the top of the page, choose Update

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In Your Dashboard

Click Apply

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

Your selected plugins will automatically begin to update …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins From Your Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Once your plugins are all up-to-date, the update reminders will 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 Update And Delete Plugins From Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

All plugins are now up-to-date!

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

Now that you know how to upgrade WP plugins, it’s time to learn how to safely uninstall plugins from your site or blog.

How To Remove Plugins

As part of smart blog management practices, it’s a good idea to uninstall plugins that are no longer needed or being used on your site. This helps to conserve resources on your server and also will help you avoid potential problems.

In this section, you will learn how to safely uninstall unused plugins from your site or blog.

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 reinstall your site.

To remove a plugin, go to your main menu and click on Plugins > Installed Plugins

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In The Dashboard

In the Plugins page, find 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, then click on Deactivate before proceeding …

Updating And Deleting Plugins From The Dashboard

Next, click on Delete

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins In Your WP Dashboard

If you need to have a look at 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” page …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Your plugins and related files will be deleted …

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

How To Safely Delete Multiple Plugins Simultaneously

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

Important

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 checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely In The WordPress Dashboard

Once you have done this, select Deactivate from the Bulk Actions drop down menu …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

Click Apply

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

How To Automatically Update 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 delete by checking its box …

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 Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

Click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

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 absolutely certain that you want to proceed to the next step and delete all of the selected plugins …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Plugin Management – Tools

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)