How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins In Your DashboardIn a separate post, we explain what plugins are and how you can use these to easily extend your web site’s functionality.

To read the article, go here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn why plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to safely upgrade and uninstall your WordPress plugins, and some great plugin management tools.

Why Some Plugins Need Updating

WordPress frequently updates its software (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in previous 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 WordPress plugins whenever new versions of WordPress are released.

This is because most WordPress plugins are created by third-party developers, so sometimes features in the new 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 quite proactive when it comes to making sure that plugins get updated when a new version of WordPress is released (if this is required). All you need to do on your end, is just keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is really simple and easy to do.

Important Info

Keeping your plugins regularly updated and removing old plugins you no longer use is an essential aspect of good WordPress management and helps to avoid errors and problems.

The WordPress tutorial below explains how to upgrade and delete plugins safely from your dashboard with no web coding skills or knowledge required.

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins – Tutorial

WordPress utilizes a number of different methods to inform you when plugins need to be updated.

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

For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that 9 WordPress plugins have older versions that need to be updated …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

The Plugins section (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also lets you know which plugins need updating …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

As well as providing information about plugins that have updates available, the Plugins screen provides links to the plugin developer pages and gives you the option to update the plugins individually or in bulk …

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

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

Upgrading Plugins Individually

Warning

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

In your main menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

You will be taken to the “Plugins” page. This page can be quite long depending on how many plugins you have installed on your blog …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

(Plugins Screen)

Useful 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 screen and type in a smaller number of items per page (by default, all plugins display on the page), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside The WP Admin Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress

WordPress provides smooth & simple plugin updates, so that the process of updating your plugins takes place “behind the scenes” without leaving your Plugins screen …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

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 update all plugins in one simple operation.

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Now that you know how to update one WP plugin at a time, the next step is to learn how to bulk-upgrade plugins.

How To Bulk-Update WP Plugins

To bulk-upgrade plugins simultaneously directly inside your dashboard, go to the “Plugins” page and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

Click on the checkbox in 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 Safely In The Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

And then click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins

The plugins you have selected will update all at once …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Once all updates have been completed, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to the Plugins area, or select another option from the dashboard menu …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins From Your WP Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

All plugins have now been upgraded!

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

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

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

Deleting Plugins

It’s a good idea to uninstall plugins that you no longer require. This reduces resources on your server and also help to eliminate potential problems.

In this section, you will learn how to safely deactivate and delete unused plugins from your site.

Warning

We strongly recommend creating 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 reinstall your site.

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In The WordPress Dashboard

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

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

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

Click Delete

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

If you would like 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” page …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your WordPress Dashboard

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Your plugins and related files will be deleted …

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

How To Bulk-Delete WP Plugins

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

Useful Information

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins From Your Dashboard

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins

Click the Apply button …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

All selected plugins will be deactivated …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The WP Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

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 …

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

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Click the Apply button …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

A list of all selected plugins will display 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 absolutely certain that you would like to proceed to the next step and remove all of the selected plugins …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

Your selected plugins will be deleted …

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

Useful WordPress Tools For Managing Plugins

In addition to the methods shown above, you can install WordPress plugins to manage your WordPress plugins.

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin For WordPress

Plugin Central helps you manage your plugins with features that let you install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update in your Dashboard and also allows you to update many plugins at once with a single click of the mouse …

Plugin Central - WordPress Plugin

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

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

Whenever 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 your sites one by one and then go through the plugin update process from that site’s own dashboard. With multiple sites, this process can take quite some time!

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

Here are a few WordPress management tools that are worth knowing about:

Jetpack

Jetpack

The Jetpack plugin is a versatile plugin for WordPress that provides users with a wide range of added functionality, allowing self-hosted WordPress site owners to access WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of robust stats, automated social sharing, and so much more.

Jetpack By WordPress.com  - Plugin For WordPress

(Jetpack lets you access a range of powerful WordPress features)

One of these features is “Jetpack Manage”.

Jetpack Manage lets you manage multiple WordPress sites and plugins from a central interface.

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

To learn more about using this plugin, go here:

ManageWP.com

ManageWP.com - Multiple WordPress Site Management Software

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

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

Visit this site to learn more about using this plugin:

WP Pipeline.com

WP Pipeline - WordPress Management Software

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

WP Pipeline works in a similar way to ManageWP, but you only have to pay once to access the software. It lets you control and organize your entire online WordPress presence and perform multiple upgrades from one central location.

Visit this site to download this plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to update and safely delete plugins.

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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)

Originally published as How To Update WordPress Plugins.