How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress PluginsIn a previous post, we explain what plugins are and how you can use these to easily add new features or functionality to your website or blog without editing code.

To view this article, go here:

In this tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping WordPress plugins up-to-date, how to automatically update and uninstall plugins from your site, and useful tips to help you better manage your plugins if you currently run multiple WordPress sites or blogs.

Why Some Of Your Plugins Need Regular Updating

The WordPress software is regularly updated (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in earlier versions, and to improve existing features.

Depending on how many plugins you have installed on your site, you can expect to see at least some new new update notices for WordPress plugins whenever new WordPress versions are announced.

The reason for this, is because most plugins for WordPress are created by third-party developers, so sometimes code in the newly-released WordPress version conflict with plugins that were built for a previous version. When this happens, there is a potential for issues 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 this is needed). All you need to do as a website owner, is maintain your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon learn, is very quick, simple and easy to do.

Important Info

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

The step-by-step tutorial below explains how to update and delete plugins from the dashboard without web coding knowledge needed.

Updating And Deleting Plugins – Tutorial

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

For example, you can immediately see how many plugins are out-of-date as soon as you log into your Administration area simply by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

In the example below, you can see that nine WordPress plugins are out of date and need to be updated …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

You can also see how many plugins need to be updated from your WP Admin Toolbar (as shown below, several plugins should be updated) …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From The WordPress Dashboard

The Plugins page (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also provides information about plugins that need to be updated …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

In addition to 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 plugin individually or in bulk …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely

Let’s start by showing you how to upgrade WordPress plugins one at a time.

Upgrading Single A Plugin

Warning

We strongly recommend making a complete backup of your data and files before updating your blog or website.

In your main menu, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

The “Plugins” section will display in your browser. The table of plugins can flow down your screen for some length, depending on the number of plugins you have added to your site …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

(The WordPress Plugins Section)

Useful Tip

Notes:

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

WordPress displays 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) …

How To Update And Delete Plugins

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

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

Repeat this 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 at the same time.

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Now that you know how to upgrade plugins one at a time, the next step is to learn how to update many plugins simultaneously.

How To Upgrade Various WordPress Plugins

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

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 …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Click Apply

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

The plugins you have selected will begin the update process …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The WP Admin Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In The WP Dashboard

Once your plugins are all up-to-date, any plugin alerts 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) …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

You have updated all plugins on your site!

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

(When your site uses the latest version of all plugins, update notices disappear)

Now that you know how to automatically update inside your dashboard, it’s time to learn how to safely uninstall plugins from your WordPress blog or website.

Deleting Plugins

It’s a good idea to delete plugins that you no longer use. This can help to conserve resources on your server and also help to eliminate causes of problems.

In this section, we show you how to safely deactivate and delete unused plugins from your WordPress 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 choose Plugins > Installed Plugins

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

Next, click on Delete

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

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” screen …

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

A complete list of files belonging to the plugin that you are about to remove will be listed on your screen …

How To Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress

If you are positively sure that you would like to go ahead and delete these plugin, then click on the Yes, Delete these files button …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins

The selected plugin(s) will be deleted from your WordPress installation …

How To Update And Delete Plugins In Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

Bulk-Deleting WP Plugins

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

Important

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

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

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely From Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

Click the Apply button …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

Updating And Deleting Plugins From The WP Admin 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 …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside The Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

Once you have selected all the plugins that you want deleted, specify Delete from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu …

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

Click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins Inside The Dashboard

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

All plugins will be deleted …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

Managing WP Plugins – Tools

As well as the methods shown above, you can install a number of tools to manage your 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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"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum