How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins SafelyIn a separate post, we explain what plugins are and how you can use plugins to add new features to your website without editing code.

You can view the article here:

In this tutorial you will learn why WordPress plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to automatically upgrade and uninstall your WordPress plugins, and practical plugin management tools.

Why WordPress Plugins Need To Be Frequently Upgraded

The WordPress software is constantly updated (about every 3-4 months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in previous software releases, as well as to improve existing features.

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, there will typically be new new update notifications for WordPress plugins every.

This is because most WordPress plugins are created by third-party developers, so sometimes code in the newly-released WordPress version conflict with plugins that were developed and tested with a previous version. Whenever this happens, there is a potential for issues to 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 this is needed). All you need to do on your end, is maintain your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is very simple and easy to do.

Important

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

The step-by-step tutorial below explains how to automatically update and delete WordPress plugins in the dashboard without requiring web programming skills.

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress uses a number of different ways to notify users when plugins need updating.

For example, you can immediately see how many plugins are out-of-date inside your WP Dashboard by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

In the example below, you can see that nine WordPress plugins have older versions that need to be updated …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

You can also check how many plugins need updating from your WP Toolbar (in the screenshot below, you can again see that 9 plugins should be updated) …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

The Plugins section (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also tells you which plugins need to be updated …

Updating And Deleting Plugins In The Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your WP Admin Dashboard

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

How To Update Individual A Plugin

Warning

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

In your WP admin menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

You will be taken to the “Plugins” section. The list of plugins can flow down your page for a while, depending on how many plugins you have added to your site …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

(Plugins Screen)

Useful Tip

Tips:

If you have too many plugins installed and would like to reduce the number of plugins displayed on your 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 …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The WordPress Dashboard

You will see information about plugins 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 Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins In Your WP Admin Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

WordPress provides streamlined plugin updates, so that updating your plugins takes place “behind the scenes” without leaving your Plugins screen …

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

Repeat the above 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 at once.

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Now that you know how to update individual plugins, it’s time to learn how to bulk-update plugins.

Bulk-Updating Plugins

To upgrade multiple plugins in one go 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 …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The Dashboard

Click on the check box next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select only the plugins you want to upgrade by checking their individual boxes …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins

In the Bulk Actions drop down menu above the list of plugins, choose Update

Updating And Deleting Plugins In Your WordPress Dashboard

And then click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins Inside Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

Your selected plugins will begin to update automatically …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

Once all plugins have been updated, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to the Plugins section, or visit a different section of your dashboard …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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” notices no longer display) …

Updating And Deleting Plugins From The WP Admin Dashboard

You have updated all plugins on your site!

Updating And Deleting Plugins In The Dashboard

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

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

Deleting WordPress Plugins

It’s a good idea to remove plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This can conserve resource usage and helps to eliminate potential problems.

In this section, you will learn how to delete unused plugins from your blog or site.

Warning

Always create 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 restore your site.

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely

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

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your WordPress Admin Dashboard

Next, click on Delete

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

If you need to browse all the files that will be deleted before proceeding any further, then click on the “Click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” link in the “Delete Plugin” screen …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

If you are absolutely certain that you want to proceed and delete the plugin, just click on the Yes, Delete these files button …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely Inside The WordPress Dashboard

The selected plugins and related files will be removed from your server …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins In The WordPress Admin Dashboard

How To Safely Bulk-Delete Plugins

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

Important Info

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Once you have done this, choose Deactivate from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

Click Apply

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins From The WP Admin Dashboard

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely In Your Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress

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 …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

Click the Apply button …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

A list of all selected plugins will show up 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 go ahead and remove all of the plugins listed …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From The WordPress Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

Tools For Managing WP Plugins

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

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin Management For WordPress

Plugin Central improves the management of your plugins by allowing you to 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 one click …

Plugin Central

To learn more about using this plugin, visit the plugin site:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

When a plugin update is released, the best practice is to upgrde the plugin right away.

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

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

Below are a couple of WordPress management tools that are worth knowing about:

Jetpack By WordPress.com Plugin For WordPress

Jetpack Manage - Single WordPress Dashboard Management

The Jetpack plugin is a multifunctional plugin for WordPress that provides users with a wide range of features, allowing self-hosted WordPress site owners to access WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of robust stats, easy 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 one simple 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 computer, tablet, or smart device.

To download and use this plugin, go here:

ManageWP.com – Multiple WordPress Site Management Software

ManageWP

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

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

Visit this site to download this plugin:

WP Pipeline.com

WP Pipeline.com

(WP Pipeline lets you update all of your WordPress sites, plugins and themes from one central dashboard)

WP Pipeline is very similar to ManageWP, but sells for a one-time purchase fee instead of monthly payments. It lets you control and organize your entire portfolio of WordPress sites and perform multiple upgrades from one central location.

To download and use the plugin, go here:

Congratulations! Now you know how to automatically upgrade and delete plugins without editing 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

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as How To Update WordPress Plugins.