How To Manage Your WordPress Plugins

Learn how to install, update, and delete WordPress plugins with our WordPress Plugin Management tutorials.

WordPress Plugin ManagementThis tutorial is part of our WordPress Management tutorial series. In this tutorial overview, we provide links to our step-by-step tutorials on installing, updating, and deleting WordPress plugins.

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WordPress Plugin Management

As explained in previous tutorials, WordPress frequently gets updated to protect the software from vulnerabilities, fix bugs, and to improve its features and functionality.

Whenever a new WordPress version is released, some of your WordPress plugins may become outdated and may need to be upgraded to prevent errors and conflicts with the newer version. When this happens, you will receive an alert inside your WordPress dashboard that your plugins need to be upgraded …

WordPress plugins need updating

(WordPress plugins need updating)

The tutorials in this section show you how to manage your WordPress plugins. You will learn how to install, update, and delete WordPress plugins using both automatic and manual methods.

WordPress Plugin Management Tutorials

This section includes the following tutorials:

To learn how to use and install WordPress plugins from your WordPress dashboard, see the tutorial below:

To learn how to install WordPress plugins manually, see the tutorial below:

To learn how to update and delete WordPress plugins automatically from your WordPress dashboard, see the tutorial below:

To learn how to update and delete WordPress plugins manually, see the tutorial below:

Important

We recommend completing all of the above tutorials before continuing to the next section.

Next Step:

After learning how to upgrade and manage your WordPress plugins, the next step is to learn how to manage your WordPress themes.

To learn how to set up an offsite data backup storage system, see the tutorial below:

How To Manage Your WordPress Plugins

(Source: Pixabay)

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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)

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How To Install WordPress Plugins Via The WordPress Dashboard

Learn how to install and active plugins on your WordPress site via the WordPress dashboard.

How To Install WordPress PluginsBecause WordPress is distributed as free Open Source software, its code can be extensively modified and customized by software developers to create an almost unlimited number of functional applications, add-ons, and enhancements to the software.

These applications are called plugins. Plugins provide additional functionality for your WordPress site and most work seamlessly and natively with the WordPress platform. Thousands of free or low-cost WordPress plugins are available to help expand the functionality of your WordPress site. Best of all, most plugins will instantly extend, enhance, and add new capabilities to your WordPress site with only a couple of clicks and no technical skills required to configure or use these.

If there’s something you want your WordPress site to do, the chances are that someone has probably already created a plugin that will do this for you.

To learn more about WordPress Plugins, see the tutorial below:

To learn about many useful and essential WordPress Plugins, see the training module below:

In this tutorial, you will learn how to install and activate WordPress plugins via your WordPress dashboard using various plugin installation options.

How To Install WordPress Plugins

As you will see shortly in the section below, there are several options for uploading and installing free plugins automatically in WordPress, whereas installing paid plugins is normally done by manually downloading the plugin from the vendor’s site to your hard drive first, and then uploading and installing it on your site using the Upload method described below.

How To Install WordPress Plugins Using The WordPress Dashboard: Tutorial

Log into your WordPress admin section, then scroll down your WordPress admin menu and click on Plugins > Add New

WordPress Plugins Menu - Add New

(Plugins Menu – Add New)

You will be taken to the ‘Add Plugins’ section …

Add Plugins screen

(Add Plugins section)

You can also access the ‘Add Plugins’ area by clicking on Plugins > Installed Plugins …

Plugins Menu - Installed Plugins

(WordPress Plugins Menu – Installed Plugins)

And clicking on Plugins > Add New …

Plugins - Add New

(Plugins – Add New)

There are several ways you can install WordPress plugins automatically on your site:

  • Upload method
  • Search method
  • Featured method
  • Popular method
  • Recommended method
  • Favorites method

Add Plugins screen options

(Add Plugins area options)

Let’s go through each of the plugin installation options available on this screen.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin – Upload Method

If using the Upload method, make sure that you have downloaded a zipped version of the WordPress plugin you are planning to install on your site. This can either be a free WordPress plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory or a premium plugin that you have purchased from a plugin vendor online …

Make sure that you have the plugin you plan to upload to WordPress ready

(Make sure that you have the plugin you plan to upload to WordPress ready)

help If you need a file compression and extraction utility (to create and extract zip files), go here:

redarrow WinZip

After downloading the WordPress plugin file to your hard drive, you can upload and install it on your site using the built-in Upload feature in WordPress.

Go to the ‘Add Plugins’ area and click on Upload Plugin in the top menu section …

Add Plugins - Upload Plugin

(Add Plugins – Upload Plugin)

Click on ‘Choose File’ …

Add Plugins - Choose File

(Add Plugins – Choose File)

Select the file you want to upload to your WordPress site and click Open

Use the file uploader to locate your plugin file

(Use the file uploader to locate your plugin file)

After your file has been uploaded to WordPress, click Install Now

Add Plugins - Install Now

(Add Plugins – Install Now)

If your upload is successful, you will see a ‘Plugin installed successfully” message …

Your plugin has installed successfully!

(Your plugin has installed successfully!)

Useful Info

If the plugin file already exists in your WordPress plugins folder, you will get a “Plugin install failed” message …

Plugin Installation Failed

(Plugin Installation Failed)

The plugin file may already exist in your WordPress plugins folder because:

  • It was previously installed, and
  • The plugin may have been deactivated, but its files have not been removed.

To learn how to delete a plugin, see the tutorial below:

Once your plugin has been successfully installed, click on the Activate Plugin link to enable it …

Activate Plugin

(Activate Plugin)

Your plugin is now active …

Plugin Activated

(Plugin Activated)

You can also activate a plugin by going into the ‘Plugin’ section and clicking on the Activate link in the menu displayed below the plugin name …

Activate Plugin

(Activate Plugin)

How To Install A WordPress Plugin – Search Method

You can search free WordPress plugins listed in the WordPress Plugin Directory and install them in WordPress using the Search method. It helps if you know what plugin you are looking for, otherwise just type in a general search phrase or keyword.

Useful Tip

If you search for plugins in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory, you can narrow down your search further using filters (Keyword, Author, Tag) …

WordPress.org - Filtered Plugin Search

(WordPress.org – Filtered Plugin Search)

If searching for plugins inside the WordPress dashboard, go to the ‘Add Plugins’ screen. The Search Plugins option is located next to all of the other installation options …

Add Plugins - Search Method

(Add Plugins – Search Method)

Type a search term into the Search field and hit Enter …

Enter your search term to find a plugin

(Enter your search term to find a plugin)

Find the plugin you would like to install from the ‘Search Results’ list and click on the Install Now button to install the plugin into your WordPress site …

Add Plugins - Search Results

(Add Plugins – Search Results)

The plugin will begin to install. After your plugin has installed successfully, click on Activate Plugin to enable the plugin …

Install and activate your plugin

(Install and activate your plugin)

Important

Finding and installing WordPress plugins using the Featured, Popular, Recommended, and Favorites methods all follow the same process.

Let’s take a look at these plugin installation methods …

How To Install WordPress Plugins – Featured Method

You can install plugins on your WordPress site using the Featured option. The Featured option is selected by default when you arrive on the Add Plugins area …

Add Plugins - Featured Plugins

(Add Plugins – Featured Plugins)

A list of featured plugins from the WordPress Plugin Directory is returned in your screen. Select the plugin you want to install and click on the Install Now button to install the plugin on your WordPress site. Follow the process described earlier to activate your plugin.

How To Install WordPress Plugins – Popular Method

You can install plugins on your WordPress site using the Popular option. Go to the ‘Add Plugins’ screen and click on Popular from the options menu …

Add Plugins - Popular Plugins

(Add Plugins – Popular Plugins)

A list of plugins voted by users as being the most popular on the WordPress Plugin Directory is returned in your screen. Locate the plugin you want to install and click on the Install Now button to install the plugin on your WordPress site. Follow the process described earlier to activate your plugin.

How To Install WordPress Plugins – Recommended Method

You can install plugins on your WordPress site using the Recommended option. Go to the ‘Add Plugins’ area and click on Recommended from the options menu

Add Plugins - Recommended Plugins

(Add Plugins – Recommended Plugins)

A list of suggested plugins that other WordPress users have installed on their sites is returned in your screen. Select the plugin you want to install and click on the Install Now button to install the plugin on your WordPress site. Follow the process described earlier to activate your plugin.

How To Install WordPress Plugins – Favorites Method

You can install “Favorite” plugins into your WordPress site using this option. The Favorites method allows WordPress users to share their favorite free WordPress plugins with other users …

Add Plugins - Favorites

(Add Plugins – Favorites)

Practical Tip

The Favorites feature is useful if you perform multiple WordPress installations, as it allows you to access all of the plugins you would normally add to each new WordPress installation you perform.

To access this feature, you must have an account set up with WordPress.

To set up a Free WordPress account, go here:

Once you have set up your WordPress account, you will be able to log into the WordPress.org site …

(Set up a free account at WordPress.org)

Once you’re logged into your WordPress.org account, click on My Favorites

WordPress.org - My Favorites

(WordPress.org – My Favorites)

This will take you to your Profile area …

WordPress.org - Your Profile area

(WordPress.org – Your Profile section)

While you are logged into the WordPress.org site, you will see a ‘Favorited’ link displayed below the download buttons of all plugins listed in the WordPress Plugins directory …

Installing WordPress Plugins

Click on the ‘Favorited’ links of the plugins (and themes) you like …

Favorite any plugins you like

(Favorite any plugins you like)

This adds the plugin to the ‘Favorites’ section in your WordPress.org profile …

Your Favorite Plugins

(Your Favorited Plugins)

As you add more favorited plugins, these will get added to your profile …

Your Favorites

(Your Favorites)

Once you have favorited plugins in your WordPress.org account, you (and anyone else) can access these plugin, by going to Add Plugins > Favorites, entering your (or another user’s) WordPress.org username, and clicking the ‘Get Favorites’ button …

Add Plugins - Get Favorites

(Add Plugins – Get Favorites)

This returns a list of all plugins that you or someone else has marked as a “Favorite” in the WordPress Plugin Directory …

Favorite WordPress Plugins

(Favorite WordPress Plugins)

Select the plugin you want to install and click on the Install Now button to install the plugin on your WordPress site. Follow the process described earlier to activate your plugin.

Useful Tip

For a list of our favorite free WordPress plugins, log into your WordPress dashboard, go to Add Plugins > Favorites and enter username wptrainme into the username field.

Activating Multiple Plugins

If you have installed several plugins in a row but have not activated these yet, you can activate these all at once.

To activate multiple plugins simultaneously, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins …

WordPress Plugins Menu - Installed Plugins

(Plugins Menu – Installed Plugins)

Click on the ‘Inactive’ link on the menu at the top of your screen …

Plugins - Inactive

(Plugins – Inactive)

Click on the main checkbox next to the ‘Plugin’ column header to select all plugins at once (deselect individual plugins that you do not want to activate), or individually select plugins that you would like to activate …

Select All Plugins

(Select All Plugins)

In the Bulk Actions drop-down menu, select Activate (1) and then click Apply (2) …

Bulk Actions Menu - Activate and Apply

(Bulk Actions Menu – Activate and Apply)

Your selected plugins will be activated …

Selected plugins activated

(Selected plugins activated)

Congratulations! Now that you know how to install and activate plugins via your WordPress dashboard, there is no limit to how far you can extend and enhance the functionality of your WordPress site.

Discover great plugins that will help to extend the functionality of your WordPress site and learn how to install, configure, and use essential WordPress plugins in this training module:

How To Install WordPress Plugins

(Source: Pixabay)

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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

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How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPressIn another article, we explain what plugins are and how you can use these to expand your site’s functionality.

To view this article, go here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping plugins up-to-date, how to automatically update and remove your WordPress plugins, and some great plugin management tools.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why Your Plugins Need Upgrading

The WordPress software is constantly updated (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in older software releases, as well as to improve existing features or introduce new functionality to users.

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, there will typically be new new update notices for plugins whenever WordPress releases a new version.

This is because most plugins for WordPress are created by 3rd-party developers, so sometimes the code in the newly-released WordPress version conflicts with plugins that were developed 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 fairly proactive when it comes to ensuring that plugins get updated when a new version of WordPress is released (if updating is required). All you have to do on your end, is keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is very simple, quick and easy to do.

Useful Information

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 any potential problems and errors.

The step-by-step tutorial below explains how to automatically upgrade and delete plugins in your dashboard without requiring coding knowledge or skills.

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely – Tutorial

WordPress utilizes several ways to notify users when plugins need to be updated.

For example, you can see how many plugins are out-of-date inside your Admin area by looking at the “Plugins” menu.

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins From Your WP Admin Dashboard

You can also see how many plugins need updating from your WordPress Toolbar (as shown below, a number of plugins need to be updated) …

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins In The Dashboard

The Plugins screen (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also tells you what plugins need to be updated …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From Your Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

Upgrading Single A Plugin

Warning

We recommend performing a backup of your website before updating your website.

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins In The WP Dashboard

The “Plugins” page will display in your browser. This list of plugins can be quite long depending on the number of plugins you have installed in your site …

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins In Your Dashboard

(The WordPress Plugins Page)

Practical Tip

Additional Info:

If you have too many plugins installed and would like to reduce the number of plugins displaying on the screen, then click on the Screen Options tab at the top of your Plugins area and type in a smaller number of items per page (by default, all plugins display on the page), then click Apply …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

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 Installed Plugins” feature …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

Repeat this process for all plugins on your site that need updating, or refer to the section below if you have many plugins that are out-of-date and would like to upgrade all plugins in one simple operation.

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Now that you know how to update one WP plugin at a time, let’s show you how to update many plugins simultaneously.

Bulk-Upgrading WP Plugins

To upgrade multiple plugins in one go using the automatic upgrade feature, go to the “Plugins” screen and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely

Tick 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 their individual boxes …

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely From The WP Dashboard

In the Bulk Actions drop-down menu above your plugin table, choose Update

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The Dashboard

Click Apply

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

Your selected plugins will begin to update automatically …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

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

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

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” notices no longer display) …

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

You have updated all plugins on your site!

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

(When your plugins are up-to-date, update alerts no longer appear)

Now that you know how to update your in your WP dashboard, let’s take a look at how to delete plugins safely from your WordPress site or blog.

How To Delete Plugins

As part of smart blog management practice, it’s a good idea to delete inactive plugins. This conserves resources on your server and also eliminates problems.

In this section, we show you how to safely deactivate and delete unused plugins from your WordPress site or blog.

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 reinstall your site.

To remove a plugin, go to your WP admin menu and select Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins From The WordPress Dashboard

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

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins From Your WP Dashboard

Next, click Delete

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

If you need 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” page …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In The Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Bulk-Deleting Plugins

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

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

Click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins From The WP Dashboard

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting 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 pull-down menu …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From The WP Admin Dashboard

Click the Apply button …

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

A list of all selected plugins will be displayed 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 want to proceed to the next step and remove all of the selected plugins …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins In Your Dashboard

Plugin Management – Useful Tools

In addition to the methods shown above, you can use a range of third-party tools to manage your plugins.

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin Central - WordPress Plugin

Plugin Central helps you manage your plugins with options that let you install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update on the Dashboard and lets you update many plugins at once with a single click …

Plugin Management For WordPress

To learn more about this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

When plugin updates get released, the best practice is to update the plugin right away.

What if you have multiple sites with the same plugin installed? One option, is to login to each site individually and then update the plugin manually from that site’s own WordPress admin dashboard. With multiple sites, this process can take quite some time to complete!

WordPress Power User Tip: If you manage multiple WordPress sites, you can install, upgrade or delete plugins on multiple sites automatically and simultaneously using a number of WordPress management tools.

Below are a few WordPress management tools you should look at:

Jetpack Manage – Single WP Dashboard Management

Jetpack Plugin For WordPress

Jetpack is a single plugin for WordPress that provides users with a wide range of features, allowing self-hosted WordPress site owners to benefit from WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of things like stats reporting, automated social sharing, and so much more.

Jetpack

(Jetpack gives you access to range of powerful WordPress.com features)

One of these features is “Jetpack Manage”.

Jetpack Manage allows you to manage multiple WordPress sites from a single dashboard on WordPress.com.

With Manage, you can upgrade plugins, set plugins to automatically update, and activate or deactivate plugins on a per-site basis or all at once, whether you’re on your laptop, tablet, or smart device.

To download this plugin, go here:

ManageWP.com

ManageWP - Manage All Your Blogs From One Central Location

(ManageWP is a widely used WordPress management tool for multiple WordPress sites)

ManageWP lets you easily manage all your WordPress sites from one central location, including upgrades, backups, security and more. The tool features easy and intuitive one-click updates and instant login to all of your WordPress sites.

Go here to learn more about using this plugin:

WP Pipeline

WP Pipeline - Manage All Your Sites From From One Central Dashboard

(WP Pipeline lets you update all of your WordPress sites, plugins and themes from a single WP installation)

WP Pipeline is very similar to ManageWP, but sells for a one-time purchase fee instead of recurring payments. It lets you control and organize your entire online WordPress presence and perform multiple updates from one central WordPress installation.

Go here to download the plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to automatically upgrade and uninstall WordPress plugins via the WP admin dashboard.

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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