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How To Update WordPress Plugins

In another article, we provide an overview of what WordPress plugins are all about and how you can use plugins to easily add new features to your web site without editing code.

You can view this article here:

In this tutorial you will learn why WordPress plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to safely upgrade and delete your WordPress plugins, and discover some great plugin management tips.

Why Some WordPress Plugins Need Upgrading

New versions of WordPress are regularly released (about every 3-4 months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in older software releases, and 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 updates for WordPress plugins every.

The reason for this, is because most WordPress plugins are created by 3rd-party developers, so sometimes the code in the new WordPress version conflicts with plugins that were built for a previous version. Whenever this happens, there is a potential for problems to 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 this is needed). All you need to do on your end, is keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is very quick, simple and easy to do.

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

The step-by-step tutorial below explains how to automatically update and delete plugins from the dashboard without requiring web coding or programming knowledge or skills.

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress – Tutorial

WordPress provides several ways to alert you when plugins need to be updated.

For example, you can see ‘at a glance’ how many plugins need to be updated inside your WP Dashboard simply by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

For example, in the screenshot below, nine plugins have older versions that need updating …

You can also see how many plugins need updating from your WP Notification Toolbar (as shown below, several plugins need to be updated) …

The Plugins page (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also tells you how many plugins need to be updated …

In addition to providing information about which plugins have available updates, the Plugins page provides links to the plugin download sites and gives you the option to update the plugin individually or in bulk …

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

How To Upgrade Single WordPress Plugins

Always make a complete backup of your website before upgrading your website or blog.

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

You will be taken to the “Plugins” screen. The list of plugins can be quite long depending on how many plugins you have installed in your blog …

(Plugins Page)

Useful Tips:

If you have too many plugins 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 …

Your Plugins area 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 “Search” box …

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

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

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

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 area …

Repeat the above process for all plugins on your site that need to be updated, or see the section below if you have several 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 upgrade one WordPress plugin at a time, the next step is to learn how to update multiple WP plugins simultaneously.

How To Bulk-Update Plugins

To bulk-update plugins from your admin area, go to the “Plugins” page and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

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

In the Bulk Actions dropdown menu above the plugin list, choose Update

Click Apply

Your selected plugins will begin to update automatically …

Once the update process has been completed, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to return to your Plugins area, or choose another option from the WordPress admin menu …

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) …

All plugins have now been upgraded to their latest versions!

(When your site or blog uses the latest version of all plugins, notification icons do not display)

Now that you know how to automatically update WP plugins, let’s take a look at how to remove plugins safely from your WordPress site or blog.

How To Safely Delete Plugins

Occasionally, you may choose to delete plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This conserves server resources and also help to minimize problems.

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

We strongly recommend creating 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 restore your site.

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

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

Hint: Inactive plugins have 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 with your plugin deletion …

Next, click on Delete

If you want to review a list of 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 …

A complete list of files belonging to the plugin selected for removalwill display on your screen …

If you are absolutely sure that you would like to proceed and delete these plugin, then click on the Yes, Delete these files button …

The selected plugins and related files will be deleted …

How To Safely Bulk-Delete Plugins

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

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

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

Click Apply

All selected plugins will be deactivated …

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

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

Once you have ticked all the checkboxes next to the plugins that you want deleted, select Delete from the Bulk Actions pull-down menu …

Click the Apply button …

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

The plugins will be deleted …

Plugin Management – Useful WordPress Tools

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

PLUGIN CENTRAL

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

For more details about this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

When plugin updates get released, the best practice is to upgrde that plugin right away.

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

WordPress Power User Tip: If you manage multiple WordPress sites or blogs, you can install, upgrade and deactivate plugins on multiple sites automatically and simultaneously using various WordPress management tools.

Here are a couple of WordPress management tools you may want to look at:

Jetpack Manage

The Jetpack plugin is a single plugin for WordPress that offers users a wide range of features, allowing self-hosted WordPress site users to benefit from WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of robust stats, easy social sharing, and a whole lot more.

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

One of these features is “Jetpack Manage”.

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

With Manage, you can upgrade 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 mobile device.

Go here to download and use the plugin:

ManageWP.com – Update All Your WP Plugins From One Central Location

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

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

To learn more about the plugin, visit this site:

WP Pipeline.com

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

Go here to download and use the plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to upgrade and delete WordPress plugins safely without web coding skills or knowledge necessary.

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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