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How To Update WordPress Plugins

In another blog post, we provide a detailed explanation of what plugins are all about and how you can use plugins to add new features or functionality to your website without editing code.

To read the article, go here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping your plugins up-to-date, how to easily update and delete your WordPress plugins, and discover practical plugin management tips if you need to run multiple WordPress sites or blogs.

Why Some WordPress Plugins Need Regular Updating

New WordPress versions are constantly being released (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in previous software releases, as well as 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 every.

This is because most WordPress plugins are created by external developers, so sometimes code in the newly-released WordPress version conflict with plugins that were developed for a previous version. Whenever this happens, there is a potential for conflicts to 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 required). All you have to do as a WordPress user, is just keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon learn, is really easy to do.

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

The tutorial below explains how to automatically update and delete plugins without requiring coding knowledge or skills.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins In The WP Dashboard – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress has a few ways to inform you when plugins need to be updated.

For example, you can immediately see how many plugins are out-of-date as soon as you log into your Site’s Dashboard by looking at the “Plugins” menu.

In the screenshot below, you can see that 9 plugins are out of date and need to be updated …

You can also see how many plugins need to be updated from your WordPress Admin Toolbar (the example below shows that a number of plugins should be updated) …

The Plugins page (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also tells you how many plugins need updating …

As well as providing information about which plugins have available updates, the Plugins page provides links to the plugin developer sites and gives you the option to update your plugins with one-click …

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

Update Single A Plugin

We recommend performing a backup of your website before making any upgrades to your website or blog.

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

The “Plugins” area will display in your browser. The list of plugins can flow down your screen for some length, depending on how many plugins you have installed in your blog …

(Plugins Section)

Useful Information:

If you have too many plugins installed and would like to reduce the number of plugins showing 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 page), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

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 Plugins” field …

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Update Many WordPress Plugins

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

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 its box …

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

And then click Apply

Your selected plugins will begin updating …

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

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

You have updated all plugins on your site!

(When plugins on your site are up-to-date, the notification icons no longer appear)

Now that you know how to automatically update plugins, it’s time to learn how to uninstall plugins from your WordPress site or blog.

How To Delete Plugins

It’s a good idea to remove plugins that you no longer use. This conserves resources on your server and also helps to eliminate causes of some problems.

In this section, we show you how to uninstall unused plugins from your blog or site.

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

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

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

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

Next, click on Delete

If you would like 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 …

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

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

Your plugin(s) will be deleted …

How To Safely Bulk-Delete Plugins

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

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

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

Click the Apply button …

Your selected plugins will be deactivated …

To delete all or some of the inactive plugins on your site, go to the “Plugins” page and click on the Inactive link in the Plugins menu …

Select all of the plugins you want to delete by either placing a tick next to their checkbox, or click on the check box next to the Plugin column header to select and delete all inactive plugins …

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

Click Apply

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 sure that you want to proceed to the next step and remove all of the plugins listed …

The plugins will be deleted …

Tools For Managing Plugins

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

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin Central is a Free plugin that improves the management of your plugins by allowing you to install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update in the Admin area and lets you update many plugins at once with one click …

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

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

When plugin updates get released, the best practice is to upgrde the plugin as soon as possible.

What if you have multiple WordPress sites using the same plugin? Typically, you would need to login to each site individually and then go through the plugin update process from that site’s own WordPress dashboard. With multiple sites, this process can take quite some time to complete!

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

Here are just a few great WordPress management tools you may want to look at:

Jetpack

Jetpack is a versatile WordPress plugin that offers users a powerful range of added functionality, allowing self-hosted WordPress site owners to benefit from WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of things like robust stats, easy social sharing, and a host of other features.

(The Jetpack Plugin gives you access to range of powerful WordPress features)

One of these features is “Manage”.

Jetpack Manage lets you manage your self-hosted WordPress sites and WordPress.com sites from one dashboard.

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

To download and use the plugin, go here:

ManageWP

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

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

Visit this site to download and use this plugin:

WP Pipeline – WordPress Mass Control Plugin

(With WP Pipeline, you can update all of your WordPress sites, plugins and themes from one central location)

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 one single WP installation.

To download and use this plugin, go here:

Congratulations! Now you know how to upgrade and safely delete plugins via the dashboard.

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