How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your DashboardIn another post, we provide a detailed explanation of what plugins are about and how you can use plugins to easily add new features and functionality to your site with no software programming skills required.

You can read this article here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn why WordPress plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to safely upgrade and remove plugins from your site, and discover some plugin management tools if you need to run or manage multiple WordPress sites.

Why Some Plugins Need To Be Frequently Upgraded

New WordPress versions are regularly released (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in older software versions, and to improve existing features or introduce new ones.

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, there will typically be new updates for WordPress plugins whenever new WordPress versions are released.

The reason for this, is because most plugins for WordPress are created by 3rd-party developers, so sometimes code or features in the newly-released WordPress version conflict with plugins that were developed and tested with a previous version. Whenever this happens, issues can sometimes occur.

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

Important

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

The WordPress step-by-step tutorial below explains how to upgrade and delete plugins safely in your dashboard without requiring web coding skills.

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins In Your WordPress Dashboard – Tutorial

WordPress has a few ways to let users know when plugins on their site need updating.

For example, you can instantly see how many plugins are out-of-date as soon as you log into your Admin area by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

In the screenshot below, you can see that nine plugins are out of date and need updating …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

You can also check how many plugins need to be updated from your WP Admin Toolbar (the screenshot below shows how many plugins need updating) …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins

In addition to providing information about which plugins have updates available, the Plugins page provides links to the plugin developer sites and gives you the option to update your plugins instantly …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

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

Updating Plugins Individually

Warning

Always make a backup of your site files and database before making any updates to your website or blog.

In your WP admin menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

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

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

(WordPress Plugins Screen)

Tip

Notes:

If you have too many plugins and would like to reduce the number of plugins displayed on your 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 (by default, all plugins display on the page), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Inside The Dashboard

Your Plugins area 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 Installed Plugins” function …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins In The Dashboard

WordPress provides smooth & fast plugin updates, so that updating your plugins takes place “behind the scenes” without leaving your Plugins area …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Repeat the above process for all 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 them all in one simple operation.

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Now that you know how to update WordPress plugins one at a time, it’s time to learn how to upgrade multiple plugins simultaneously.

How To Bulk-Update Plugins

To upgrade multiple plugins at the same time using the automatic update feature, go to the “Plugins” area and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In 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 update by checking their individual boxes …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside The WordPress Admin Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

Click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Your selected plugins will automatically begin updating …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From The WordPress Admin Dashboard

Once all plugins have been updated, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to return to the Plugins section, or choose another option from the WordPress admin menu …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Once your plugins are all up-to-date, the update reminders 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) …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

All plugins have now been updated!

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins From Your WordPress Dashboard

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

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

Deleting Plugins

Occasionally, you may decide to remove WordPress plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This can reduce resources on your server and also help to reduce problems.

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

Warning

Always create 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 restore your site.

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins

Click on Delete

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

If you need to have a look at 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 …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Your plugins and related files will be deleted …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

How To Safely Bulk-Delete WordPress Plugins

You can delete all inactive plugins at once, 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 check box next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins

Next, specify Deactivate from the Bulk Actions pull-down menu …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In Your Dashboard

Click Apply

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From The WP Dashboard

Your selected plugins will be deactivated …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The WP Admin Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

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 …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside Your WordPress Dashboard

Click the Apply button …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

A list of all selected plugins will show up 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 want to proceed to the next step and remove all of the plugins listed …

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely In Your WP Dashboard

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your WordPress Dashboard

WordPress Tools For Managing WP Plugins

In addition to the methods shown above, you can use WordPress plugins that help you manage your plugins.

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Management Plugin For WordPress

Plugin Central helps you manage your plugins by allowing you to install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update in the WP Admin and lets you update multiple plugins in one click …

Management Plugin For WordPress

To learn more about this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

Whenever plugin developers release a new plugin update, the best practice is to upgrde that plugin right away.

What if you run multiple WordPress sites with the same plugin installed? One option, is to login to each site individually and then update the plugin from that site’s own WordPress admin dashboard. If you plan to manage multiple sites, updating the same plugin(s) can take quite some time!

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

Below are just some WordPress management tools that are worth knowing about:

Jetpack

Jetpack

The Jetpack plugin is a single WordPress plugin that offers users a powerful range of features, allowing self-hosted WordPress site users to access WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of stats reporting, automated social sharing, and so much more.

Jetpack

(The Jetpack Plugin lets you access a range of powerful WordPress.com features)

One of these features is “Manage”.

Jetpack Manage allows you to manage your self-hosted WordPress sites and WordPress.com sites from one simple 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 mobile device.

Go here for more information about using this plugin:

ManageWP.com – WordPress Management Software

ManageWP

(ManageWP is a very popular management tool for multiple WordPress sites)

ManageWP helps you easily manage all of your sites from one central location, including updates, backups, security and more. This application features easy and intuitive one-click management and instant login to your sites.

Visit this site to download and use this plugin:

WP Pipeline

WP Pipeline.com

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

WP Pipeline works in a similar way to ManageWP, but has a one-time purchase fee instead of recurring payments. It lets you control and organize your entire online WordPress presence and perform multiple upgrades from a central WP installation.

Go here to download and use the plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to automatically update and safely delete your plugins in WordPress via your WP 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

Originally published as How To Update WordPress Plugins.