How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins SafelyIn another post, we provide an overview of what WordPress plugins are all about and how you can use plugins to increase your site’s functionality.

To read the article, go here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping WordPress plugins up-to-date, how to safely upgrade and remove plugins, and discover practical tips to help you better manage your plugins if you currently manage multiple WordPress sites or blogs.

Why Many WordPress Plugins Need Updating

The WordPress software is regularly updated (about every 3-4 months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in older releases, and to improve existing features or introduce new functionality to WordPress users.

Depending on how many plugins you have installed on your site, there will typically be new new update notices for plugins every.

The reason for this, is because most plugins for WordPress are created by third-party developers, so sometimes code or features in the newly-released WordPress version conflict with plugins that were created and tested to work with a previous version. When this happens, there is a potential for problems to sometimes develop.

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 this is needed). All you need to do as a WordPress user, is maintain your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon learn, is very quick, simple and easy to do.

Info

Keeping your plugins up-to-date and deleting old plugins you no longer need is part of good WordPress site management and helps to avoid potential errors and problems.

The WordPress step-by-step tutorial below explains how to automatically update and delete WordPress plugins safely in the WP dashboard without requiring coding knowledge.

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

WordPress utilizes a few ways to alert you when plugins need to be updated.

For example, you can see how many plugins are out-of-date as soon as you log into your Administration site just by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

In the screenshot below, you can see that 9 plugins need to be updated …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

You can also tell how many plugins need updating from your WP Toolbar (the example below shows that nine plugins should be brought up to date) …

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

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 plugins individually or in bulk …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins

Let’s start by showing you how to update WordPress plugins individually.

Upgrading Single Plugins

Warning

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

In your WP admin menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

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

The “Plugins” page will display in your browser. The table of plugins can go down your screen for some length, depending on the number of plugins you have added to your site …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

(Plugins Screen)

Practical Tip

Additional Information:

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 type in a smaller number of items per page (all plugins show on the screen by default, i.e. “999”), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The WordPress Dashboard

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” field …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely From Your Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside Your WP Admin Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The Dashboard

WordPress has done away with the loading screen when updating plugins and streamlined the process, so that the process of updating your plugins takes place with just “one click” without leaving your Plugins area …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

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Now that you know how to upgrade individual plugins, let’s show you how to bulk-update plugins.

How To Bulk-Upgrade WP Plugins

To update multiple plugins in a single operation from your admin area, go to the “Plugins” section and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Tick the check box next to 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 Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Click Apply

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Your selected plugins will automatically begin to update …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In The WordPress Dashboard

After all plugin updates are completed, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to your Plugins section, or select another option from the dashboard menu …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The WordPress Admin Dashboard

Once all plugins are 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” messages no longer display on your screen, toolbar and menus) …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

You have updated all plugins on your site to their latest version!

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

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

Now that you know how to upgrade plugins, let’s show you how to remove plugins safely from your site or blog.

Deleting Plugins

Occasionally, you may choose to remove WP plugins that are no longer needed or being used on your site. This decreases resource usage and eliminates problems.

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

Warning

Always create 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 reinstall your site.

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

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

In the Plugins section, 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 …

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

Next, click Delete

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

If you need to review a list of all the files that will be deleted before going ahead, 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 …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

Your plugins and related files will be deleted …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

How To Delete Several Plugins At Once

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

Useful Info

Note: To delete any plugins that are currently 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) …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Next, choose Deactivate from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely

Click Apply

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The WP Admin Dashboard

A list of all selected plugins will display 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 delete all of the plugins listed …

How To Update And Delete Plugins In The Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Management Tools For WP Plugins

As well as the methods shown above, you can use a number of tools that help you manage your plugins.

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin Central

Plugin Central helps you manage your plugins by allowing you to install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update in the WordPress Admin and lets you 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

Whenever plugin developers release a new plugin update, the best practice is to upgrde that plugin to the most recent version as soon as possible.

What if you run multiple sites using the same plugin? Normally, you would have to login to your sites one by one and then update the plugin from that site’s own dashboard. If you plan to run multiple sites, updating the same plugin(s) can take quite some time to complete!

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

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

Jetpack Plugin By WordPress.com

Jetpack By WordPress.com

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

Jetpack By WordPress.com

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

One of these features is “Manage”.

Jetpack Manage allows you to manage multiple WordPress sites and plugins from a single 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 computer, tablet, or smart device.

Go here to download this plugin:

ManageWP.com

ManageWP.com

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

ManageWP helps you manage all your sites and blogs from one place, including upgrades, backups, security and more. This tool features easy one-click management and instant login to your WP sites.

Visit this site for more information about using the plugin:

WP Pipeline.com

WP Pipeline.com

(WP Pipeline lets you update all of your WordPress sites, plugins and themes from a single WordPress 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 portfolio of WordPress sites and perform multiple upgrades from a central dashboard.

To download the plugin, visit this site:

Congratulations! Now you know how to automatically update and delete plugins safely without editing web code.

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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

Originally published as How To Update WordPress Plugins.