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How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

You can read the article here:

In this tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping your WordPress plugins up-to-date, how to safely update and uninstall plugins, and discover some great plugin management tools.

Why Plugins Need To Be Upgraded

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

Depending on how many plugins you have installed on your site, you can expect to see at least some new updates for WordPress plugins every.

The reason for this, is because most plugins for WordPress are created by 3rd-party developers, so sometimes code in the newly-released WordPress version conflicts with plugins that were developed for a previous version. When this happens, issues can sometimes develop.

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 updating is required). All you have to do as a website owner, is simply maintain your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon learn, is really simple, quick and easy to do.

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

The step-by-step tutorial below explains how to automatically upgrade and delete plugins safely without requiring coding knowledge.

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

WordPress provides a number of different ways to alert users when plugins need to be updated.

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

In the example below, you can see that nine plugins have older versions that need updating …

You can also tell how many plugins need to be updated from your WordPress Admin Toolbar (the example below shows that several plugins need updating) …

The Plugins page (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also provides information about plugins that need updating …

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

Let’s start by showing you how to update individual WP plugins.

Update WordPress Plugins One At A Time

We recommend making a backup of your site files and database before updating your website.

From your admin menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

You will be taken to the “Plugins” area. This table of plugins can be quite lengthy depending on the number of plugins you have installed on your site …

(The WordPress Plugins Page)

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 (all plugins show on the screen by default), then click Apply …

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

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

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

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

WordPress has done away with the loading screen when updating plugins and streamlined the process, so that 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 see the section below if you have several plugins that are out-of-date and would like to update them all in bulk.

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

Bulk-Upgrading WordPress Plugins

To upgrade multiple plugins in a single operation directly inside your dashboard, go to the “Plugins” section and click on the Update Available 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 update by checking its box …

In the Bulk Actions drop-down menu at the top of the page, choose Update

Click Apply

Your selected plugins will begin the update process …

After all upgrades are done, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to return to the Plugins area, or choose another option from the main menu …

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

You have updated all plugins on your site!

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

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

Deleting WP Plugins

At times, you may decide to delete WordPress plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This decreases server resources and also help to eliminate potential problems.

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

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 main menu and choose Plugins > Installed Plugins

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

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

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

Next, click Delete

If you would like to have a look at all the files that will be deleted before going ahead with the next step, then click on the “Click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” link in the “Delete Plugin” screen …

The entire list of files associated with the plugin selected for removalwill display on your screen …

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

Your plugin(s) will be deleted from your WordPress installation …

Bulk-Deleting Plugins

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

Note: To delete any plugins that are currently 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 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 the Apply button …

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

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

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 its box …

Once you have ticked all the checkboxes next to the plugins that you want to delete, select Delete from the Bulk Actions dropdown 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 sure that you want to go ahead and delete all of the plugins listed …

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

WordPress Tools For Managing Plugins

In addition to the methods shown above, you can use Free and Premium WordPress plugins that let you manage your plugins.

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin Central improves the management of your plugins with options that let you 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 …

To learn more about using this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

When plugin developers release a new plugin update, the best practice is to upgrde that plugin to the newest version ASAP.

What if you run multiple WordPress sites using the same plugin? Normally, you would have to login to each site individually and then go through the plugin update process from that site’s own admin dashboard. If you run multiple sites, updating the same plugin(s) can take quite some time to complete!

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

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

Jetpack Manage

Jetpack is a versatile plugin for WordPress 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 stats reporting, easy social sharing, and so much more.

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

One of these features is “Manage”.

Jetpack Manage lets you manage multiple WordPress sites from a central 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 PC, tablet, or mobile device.

Go here to download this plugin:

ManageWP

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

ManageWP lets you easily manage all your WordPress sites from one dashboard, including upgrades, backups, security and more. The tool features easy and intuitive one-click updates and instant login to all of your WP sites.

To learn more about the plugin, visit this site:

WP Pipeline – Multiple WordPress Site Management Software

(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 has a one-time license fee instead of recurring payments. It lets you control and organize your entire online WordPress presence and perform multiple updates from one central installation.

For more information about the plugin, visit this site:

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

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"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group