How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In The DashboardIn another post, we explain what plugins are and how you can use plugins to easily extend your website’s capabilities.

You can view the article here:

In this tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping WordPress plugins up-to-date, how to safely upgrade and delete plugins from your site, and some great tips to help you better manage your plugins if you plan to run or manage multiple WordPress sites.

Why Plugins Need Updating

New versions of WordPress are frequently being released (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in earlier software versions, and to improve existing features.

Depending on how many plugins you have installed on your site, there will typically be new updates for plugins every.

The reason for this, is because most plugins for WordPress are created by external developers, so sometimes code or features in the newly-released WordPress version conflict with plugins that were built for a previous version. When this happens, conflicts can sometimes develop.

Fortunately, most WordPress plugin developers (and the WordPress developer community itself) are very proactive when it comes to ensuring that plugins get updated when a new version of WordPress is released (if required). All you have to do as a website owner, is simply keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is very quick, simple and easy to do.

Important Info

Keeping your plugins up-to-date and removing old plugins you no longer need is part of good WordPress management and helps to avoid problems or errors.

The tutorial below explains how to update and delete plugins safely with no coding knowledge or skills required.

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In Your Dashboard – Tutorial

WordPress has a number of different ways to let users know when plugins on their blog need to be updated.

For example, you can see how many plugins need to be updated as soon as you log into your Admin area just by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

In the screenshot below, you can see that 9 plugins have older versions that need to be updated …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

You can also see how many plugins need to be updated from your WP Toolbar (in the example below, you can see how many plugins should be brought up to date) …

How To Update And Delete Plugins From The Dashboard

The Plugins page (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also lets you know which plugins need to be updated …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From Your Dashboard

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

Update Plugins One At A Time

Warning

Always make a full backup of your website before updating your website.

In your dashboard menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

The “Plugins” screen will display in your browser. The page can be quite long depending on how many plugins you have added to your site …

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins

(Plugins Section)

Tip

Notes:

If you have too many plugins 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 enter a smaller number of items per page (by default, all plugins display on the screen), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely In The WordPress Admin Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

Repeat this process for all plugins on your site that need updating, or see the section below if you have a number of plugins that are out-of-date and would like to upgrade them all at once.

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

Bulk-Updating Plugins

To bulk-upgrade WordPress plugins using the automatic updating feature, go to the “Plugins” area and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Click on the check box next to 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 In The Dashboard

In the Bulk Actions dropdown menu at the top of the page, choose Update

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins In Your WordPress Dashboard

And then click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

The plugins you have selected will automatically begin to update …

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

After the update process has been completed, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to the Plugins section, or select another section of your dashboard …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The WP Dashboard

Once all plugins are up-to-date, any plugin alerts 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 Upgrade And Delete Plugins From The WordPress Dashboard

All plugins are now up-to-date!

How To Update And Delete Plugins

(When plugins on your site are all up-to-date, update icons no longer display)

Now that you know how to upgrade WordPress in the admin dashboard, let’s take a look at how to delete plugins safely from your site.

How To Delete WP Plugins

Occasionally, you may want to delete WordPress plugins that are no longer needed or being used on your site. This helps to conserve server resources and also help to minimize problems.

In this section, you will learn how to safely remove 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 reinstall your site.

To delete a plugin, go to your WP admin menu and choose Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins In Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

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 background color than active plugins and show an “Activate” link below the plugin name …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From The Dashboard

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins

Click Delete

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

If you would like to review a list of all the files that will be deleted before proceeding, then click on the “Click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” link in the “Delete Plugin” section …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your WP 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 …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Your plugins and related files will be deleted …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

How To Bulk-Delete Plugins

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

Important

Note: To delete any plugins that are presently active, you 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) …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your WordPress Dashboard

Click the Apply button …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From Your WP Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely

Click Apply

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely From Your WP Dashboard

A list of all selected plugins will display 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 sure that you would like to go ahead and delete all of the plugins listed …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

All plugins will be deleted …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

Managing WordPress Plugins – Tools

In addition to the methods shown above, you can use a range of 3rd-party tools that let you 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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"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)