How To Update WordPress Plugins

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

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How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins SafelyIn a previous post, we explain what plugins are and how you can use plugins to extend your web site’s capabilities.

You can read the article here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn why plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to automatically upgrade and uninstall plugins from your site, and discover some great tips to help you better manage your plugins.

Why Your Plugins Need To Be Frequently Updated

New WordPress versions are regularly released (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in earlier releases, and to improve existing features.

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, you can expect to see at least some new updates for plugins each time a new version of WordPress is made available.

The reason for this, is because most plugins for WordPress are created by external 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 problems to sometimes occur.

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

Important

Keeping your 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 potential conflicts and errors.

The tutorial below explains how to automatically upgrade and delete plugins in the WordPress admin dashboard without editing web code.

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard – Tutorial

WordPress has several ways to let users know when plugins on their blog need to be updated.

For example, you can instantly see how many plugins need to be updated as soon as you log into your Admin area simply by looking at the “Plugins” menu.

In the example below, 9 WP plugins have older versions that need to be updated …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

You can also check how many plugins need updating from your WordPress Notification Toolbar (in the example below, you can see how many plugins need updating) …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins

The Plugins section (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also notifies you about plugins that need to be updated …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From Your Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely

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

Update Plugins Individually

Warning

We strongly recommend performing a full backup of your site files and database before upgrading your website or blog.

From your dashboard menu, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

The “Plugins” section will display in your browser. The table of plugins can run down your page for a while, depending on how many plugins you have installed in your site …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

(Plugins Section)

Tip

Notes:

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 (by default, all plugins display on the page), then click Apply …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Inside The Dashboard

Your Plugins area 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 “Plugin Search” feature …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

WordPress has done away with the loading screen when updating plugins and streamlined the plugin update process, so that updating your plugins happens “behind the scenes” without leaving your Plugins area …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress

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 at the same time.

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Now that you know how to update one plugin at a time, the next step is to learn how to bulk-update WP plugins.

Bulk-Upgrading WordPress Plugins

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside Your WordPress Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely From Your Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely Inside Your WP Dashboard

And then click Apply

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely

Your selected plugins will begin updating …

Updating And Deleting Plugins From The WordPress Admin Dashboard

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

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins In Your Dashboard

Once all plugins are up-to-date, the update reminders 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) …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

All plugins have now been upgraded to their latest versions!

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Now that you know how to automatically update your in your WP dashboard, let’s take a look at how to remove plugins from your site.

Deleting Plugins

At times, you may choose to remove plugins that are no longer needed or being used on your site. This helps to decrease resources on your server and help to minimize causes of some problems.

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

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 restore your site.

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely From The WP Admin Dashboard

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

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

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Once you have deactivated the plugin, click Delete

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins In The WP Dashboard

If you would like 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” page …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

All files belonging to the plugin selected for removalwill be listed on your screen …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Inside The WP Admin Dashboard

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

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Your plugin(s) will be deleted …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

Bulk-Deleting Plugins

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

Important Info

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins From Your WP Dashboard

Click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Inside Your WP Admin Dashboard

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 …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins

Click the checkbox in the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select only the plugins you want to delete by checking its box …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Click the Apply button …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

A list of all selected plugins will be displayed 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 selected plugins …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely From Your Dashboard

All plugins will be deleted …

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins

Useful Management Tools For Plugins

As well as the methods shown above, you can use a number of third-party tools to manage your plugins.

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin Central

Plugin Central is a Free WordPress plugin that helps you manage your plugins with options that let you install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update on the WP Dashboard and also allows you to update many plugins at once with one click …

Plugin Central

For more details about this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

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

What if you run multiple sites using the same plugin? One option, is to login to each site individually and then update the plugin manually from that site’s admin dashboard. With multiple sites, this process can take quite a while to complete!

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

Here are a couple of WordPress management tools you should check out:

Jetpack Plugin By WordPress.com

Jetpack

The Jetpack plugin is a single plugin for WordPress that provides users with a powerful range of added functionality, allowing self-hosted WordPress site owners to access WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of things like robust stats, automated social sharing, and a whole lot more.

Jetpack By WordPress.com  - Plugin For WordPress

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

One of these features is “Jetpack Manage”.

Jetpack Manage lets you manage your WordPress sites and plugins from a single dashboard.

With Manage, you can upgrade 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 laptop, tablet, or smart device.

Go here to download the plugin:

ManageWP

ManageWP - WordPress Management Software

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

ManageWP helps you manage all of your sites from one central location, including updates, backups, security and more. The application features easy one-click upgrades and instant login to your WP sites.

To download the plugin, visit this site:

WP Pipeline.com

WP Pipeline

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

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

To download and use this plugin, go here:

Congratulations! Now you know how to update and safely remove plugins using your dashboard.

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress to grow your business online at minimal cost with no coding skills required!

Originally published as How To Update WordPress Plugins.