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How To Update WordPress Plugins

In a previous blog post, we provide a detailed explanation of what WP plugins are all about and how you can use these to add new features and functionality to your web site without editing code.

You can read this article here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn why WordPress plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to update and delete your WordPress plugins, and discover practical plugin management tools if you plan to run multiple WordPress sites.

Why WordPress Plugins Need To Be Upgraded

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

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, you can expect to see at least some new new update notices for WordPress plugins every.

The reason for this, is because most WordPress plugins are created by external developers, so sometimes code in the new WordPress version conflict with plugins that were developed and tested with a previous version. Whenever this happens, problems can sometimes occur.

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 needed). All you need to do on your end, is simply keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is really easy to do.

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 errors or conflicts.

The step-by-step tutorial below explains how to upgrade and delete plugins without editing web code.

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

WordPress utilizes a few methods to let users know when plugins need updating.

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

For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that 9 WordPress plugins need updating …

You can also view how many plugins need to be updated from your WP Admin Toolbar (as shown below, 9 plugins need to be updated) …

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

In addition to providing information about plugins that have updates available, the Plugins screen provides links to the plugin developer sites and gives you the option to update the plugins with one-click …

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

Update Plugins Individually

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

From your admin menu, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

The “Plugins” area will display in your browser. The screen can be quite lengthy depending on how many plugins you have added to your site …

(WordPress Plugins Page)

Additional Info:

If you have too many plugins installed and would like to make this section more manageable, then click on the Screen Options tab at the top of your Plugins screen and enter a smaller number of items per page (all plugins show on the page by default, i.e. “999”), then click Apply …

Your Plugins page 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 “Plugin Search” function …

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

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

Locate 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 the process of updating your plugins happens “behind the scenes” without leaving your Plugins screen …

Repeat this process for any other plugins on your site that need updating, or see the section below if you have a number of plugins that are out-of-date and would like to update all plugins at the same time.

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Now that you know how to upgrade individual WordPress plugins, the next step is to learn how to bulk-upgrade plugins.

How To Bulk-Upgrade WP Plugins

To upgrade multiple 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 …

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 …

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

Click Apply

Your selected plugins will begin updating …

After all updates have completed, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to the Plugins area, or select another section of your dashboard …

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 to their latest version!

(When plugins on your site are up-to-date, update messages no longer appear)

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

How To Safely Remove Plugins

At times, you may decide to delete WordPress plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This helps to conserve resources on your server and also help to minimize causes of some problems.

In this section, you will learn how to uninstall unused plugins from your WordPress site.

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 restore your site.

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

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

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

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

Click Delete

If you need to review a list of all the files that will be deleted before proceeding, 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 belonging to the plugin selected for deletionwill display on your screen …

If you are positively certain that you want to go ahead and delete the selected plugin, just click on the Yes, Delete these files button …

The selected plugin(s) will be deleted …

Bulk-Deleting WP 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, you must first 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 drop down menu …

Click Apply

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

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 …

Select all of the plugins you want to delete by either placing a tick next to their check box, or click on the checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select and delete all inactive plugins …

Once you have selected all of the plugins that you want to delete, choose Delete from the Bulk Actions drop 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 sure that you would like to go ahead and remove all of the plugins listed …

Your plugins will be deleted …

WordPress Tools For Managing Plugins

As well as the methods shown above, you can install Free and Paid WordPress plugins that help you manage your WordPress plugins.

PLUGIN CENTRAL

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

To learn more about this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

Whenever plugin developers release a new plugin update, the best practice is to update that plugin right away.

What if you run multiple sites using the same plugin? Normally, you would need to login to your sites one by one and then update the plugin manually from that site’s own WP admin 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 or manage multiple WordPress sites or blogs, you can install, upgrade or deactivate plugins on multiple sites automatically and simultaneously using various WordPress management tools.

Below are a few WordPress management tools you may want to look at:

Jetpack Plugin By WordPress.com

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 stats reporting, automated social sharing, and many other features.

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

One of these features is “Jetpack Manage”.

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

With Manage, you can update plugins, set plugins to update automatically, and activate or deactivate plugins on a per-site basis or in bulk, whether you’re on your PC, tablet, or mobile device.

To download the plugin, go here:

ManageWP.com

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

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

Visit this site to download and use this plugin:

WP Pipeline

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

WP Pipeline works in a similar way to ManageWP, but sells for a one-time purchase fee instead of recurring payments. It lets you control and organize your entire portfolio of WordPress sites and perform multiple updates from a central installation.

Visit this site to download and use the plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to automatically upgrade and safely delete your plugins using your dashboard.

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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