How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete PluginsIn another post, we provide an overview of what WP plugins are about and how you can use plugins to expand your site’s functionality.

You can read this article here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping all plugins up-to-date, how to automatically upgrade and uninstall plugins from your site, and useful tips to help you better manage your plugins.

Why Many Of Your WordPress Plugins Need Frequent Updating

New WordPress versions are constantly being released (about every 3-4 months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in previous releases, and to improve existing features.

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

This is because most WordPress plugins are created by third-party developers, so sometimes features in the newly-released WordPress version conflict with plugins that were developed and tested with a previous version. When this happens, problems can sometimes develop.

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

Important

Keeping your plugins regularly updated and deleting old plugins you no longer need is part of good WordPress site management and helps to avoid any errors and problems.

The WordPress tutorial below explains how to upgrade and delete plugins safely in WordPress with no web programming skills or knowledge necessary.

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside The Dashboard – Tutorial

WordPress has a few methods of letting you know when your plugins need updating.

For example, you can immediately see how many plugins are out-of-date as soon as you log into your Admin area by looking at the “Plugins” menu.

For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that 9 plugins have older versions that need updating …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

The Plugins section (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also tells you what plugins need updating …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

As well as 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 plugins with one-click …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely From Your Dashboard

Let’s start by learning how to upgrade one WordPress plugin at a time.

How To Upgrade Single A Plugin

Warning

We strongly recommend making a backup of your website before upgrading your website.

From your admin menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

You will be taken to the “Plugins” area. The table 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

(WordPress Plugins Section)

Tip

Useful Tips:

If you have too many plugins installed and would like to make this section more manageable, then click on the Screen Options tab at the top of your Plugins page and enter a smaller number of items per page (by default, all plugins display on the page), then click Apply …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Find the plugin that you want to update and click on the update now link …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The WP Admin Dashboard

Repeat the above process for any other plugins on your site that need to be updated, or refer to the section below if you have several plugins that are out-of-date and would like to upgrade all plugins at once.

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Now that you know how to update plugins individually, it’s time to learn how to update a bunch of WordPress plugins simultaneously.

How To Upgrade Many WordPress Plugins

To bulk-update plugins simultaneously directly inside your dashboard, 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 Safely Inside The Dashboard

Tick the checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select each plugin you want to upgrade by checking their individual boxes …

How To Update And Delete Plugins

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

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

And then click Apply

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

The plugins you have selected will begin to update automatically …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely

After all plugin updates are done, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to the Plugins area, or choose another section of your dashboard …

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

Once all plugins are up-to-date, the update reminders disappear (i.e. the “at-a-glance” indicators and “There is a new version of XYZ plugin available” messages no longer display) …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

You have updated all plugins on your site!

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The WP Dashboard

(When your plugins are up-to-date, notification icons disappear)

Now that you know how to upgrade your plugins, let’s show you how to safely uninstall plugins safely from your WordPress site.

Deleting WP Plugins

At times, you may choose to delete WP plugins that are no longer needed or being used on your site. This helps to decrease server resources and also help you avoid problems.

In this section, you will learn how to remove unused plugins from your 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 main menu and click on Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

In the Plugins area, find the plugin you want to delete 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 …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

Once you have deactivated the plugin, click Delete

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins In The Dashboard

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

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

All files associated with the plugin selected for removalwill display on your screen …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Inside The Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

Your plugins and related files will be removed from your server …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely

Bulk-Deleting WP Plugins

You can delete all inactive plugins at once, or select a combination of active and inactive plugins to be cleared.

Important

Note: To delete any plugins that are currently 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 check box, or selecting the checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Next, choose Deactivate from the Bulk Actions drop down menu …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In Your Dashboard

Click Apply

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins

Your selected plugins will be deactivated …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Once you have ticked all the check boxes next to the plugins that you want to delete, specify Delete from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu …

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

Click the Apply button …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

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 absolutely certain that you would like to proceed to the next step and delete all of the plugins listed …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From The WordPress Admin Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins

Useful Tools For Managing Plugins

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

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin Central

Plugin Central improves the management of your plugins by allowing you to install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update on the Admin area and also allows you to update many plugins at once with one click …

Plugin Central

For more details about this plugin, visit the plugin site:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

Whenever a plugin update is released, the best practice is to update that plugin right away.

What if you run multiple WordPress sites using the same plugin? One option, is to login to each site individually and then go through the plugin update process from that site’s own WP dashboard. With multiple sites, this process can take quite some time!

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

Here are a couple of WordPress management tools you should look at:

Jetpack

Jetpack By WordPress.com - WordPress Plugin

The Jetpack plugin is a versatile WordPress plugin that offers users a powerful range of features, allowing self-hosted WordPress site owners to benefit from WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of things like robust stats, automated social sharing, and so much more.

Jetpack

(Jetpack 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 a central interface.

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

Go here to learn more about using the plugin:

ManageWP.com – WordPress Management Software

ManageWP.com - Update All Your WordPress Plugins From One Central Location

(ManageWP is a leading WordPress management tool for multiple WP sites)

ManageWP helps you easily manage all of your sites and blogs from one place, including upgrades, backups, security and more. The tool features easy one-click management and instant login access to your sites.

To download the plugin, go here:

WP Pipeline

WP Pipeline

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

WP Pipeline is very similar to ManageWP, but you only have to pay once to access the software. It lets you manage your entire online WordPress presence and perform multiple upgrades from one central installation.

To download and use this plugin, go here:

Congratulations! Now you know how to automatically upgrade and delete plugins safely without touching web code.

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"Learning WordPress has been a huge stumbling block for me. I've been looking for something that covers absolutely everything but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Thank you so much ... you have just provided me with what I have been looking for! Truly appreciated!" - Tanya

Originally published as How To Update WordPress Plugins.