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How To Update WordPress Plugins

In another blog post, we provide an overview of what plugins are all about and how you can use these to easily increase your website’s functionality.

To read the article, go here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping plugins up-to-date, how to easily upgrade and uninstall your WordPress plugins, and discover some great tips to help you better manage your plugins if you need to manage multiple WordPress sites or blogs.

Why Your WordPress Plugins Need To Be Regularly Updated

New WordPress versions are constantly being released (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in older versions, as well as to improve existing features.

Depending on how many plugins you have installed on your site, you can expect to see at least some new new update notifications for plugins each time a new WordPress version is announced.

The reason for this, is because most WordPress plugins are created by 3rd-party developers, so sometimes the code in the new WordPress version conflicts with plugins that were created and tested to work with a previous version. When this happens, there is a potential for conflicts to sometimes occur.

Fortunately, most WordPress plugin developers (and the WordPress developer community itself) are very proactive when it comes to making sure that plugins get updated when a new version of WordPress is released (if required). All you have to do on your end, is just keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is really quick, simple and easy to do.

Keeping your plugins regularly updated and deleting old plugins you no longer use is part of good WordPress site management and helps to avoid any potential errors and problems.

The WordPress step-by-step tutorial below explains how to automatically upgrade and delete plugins in WordPress with no coding knowledge necessary.

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In The Dashboard – Tutorial

WordPress provides a number of different ways to inform users when plugins need updating.

For example, you can tell immediately how many plugins need updating inside your Admin area just by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

For example, in the screenshot below, nine plugins need to be updated …

You can also view how many plugins need updating from your WP Notification Toolbar (the screenshot below shows that several plugins need to be updated) …

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

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

Let’s start by learning how to upgrade WP plugins one at a time.

How To Upgrade Plugins One At A Time

We recommend performing a full backup of your website before upgrading your blog or website.

From your dashboard menu, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

The “Plugins” section will display in your browser. The table of plugins can run down your screen for a while, depending on the number of plugins you have added to your blog …

(Plugins Page)

Useful Information:

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 type in a smaller number of items per page (by default, all plugins display on the screen), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

Your Plugins page 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 Plugins” function …

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

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

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

WordPress provides smooth & simpler plugin updates, so that the process of updating your plugins takes place “behind the scenes” without leaving your Plugins area …

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

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

How To Bulk-Upgrade Plugins

To bulk-upgrade WP plugins 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 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 its box …

In the Bulk Actions drop-down menu above your plugin table, choose Update

And then click Apply

The plugins you have selected will update all at once …

Once all updates have completed, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to return to the Plugins section, or select another option from the sidebar menu …

Once your plugins are all up-to-date, the update reminders 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 your plugins are up-to-date, update messages disappear)

Now that you know how to upgrade your plugins, let’s take a look at how to safely remove plugins from your WordPress blog or website.

How To Safely Delete WP Plugins

It’s a good idea to uninstall plugins that you no longer use. This can help to conserve server resources and also will help you avoid causes of some problems.

In this section, we show you how to remove unused plugins from your blog or 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 remove a plugin, go to your dashboard menu and click on Plugins > Installed Plugins

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

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

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

Click Delete

If you need to have a look at 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” section …

All files associated with the plugin that you are about to delete will be listed on your screen …

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

Your plugin(s) will be deleted …

How To Bulk-Delete Plugins

You can bulk-delete all inactive plugins on your site, or select a combination of active and inactive plugins to be removed.

Note: To delete any plugins that are presently 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) …

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

Click Apply

All selected plugins will be deactivated …

Once you have deactivated your plugins, click on the Inactive link on the menu at the top of the page …

Click on the checkbox in the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select each plugin you want to remove by checking their individual boxes …

Once you have selected all the plugins that you want deleted, specify Delete from the Bulk Actions pull-down menu …

Click the Apply button …

A list of all selected plugins will display 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 proceed to the next step and remove all of the selected plugins …

Your plugins will be deleted …

Managing WP Plugins

As well as the methods shown above, you can install a number of 3rd-party tools that help you manage your plugins.

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin Central is a Free WordPress plugin that improves the management of your plugins with options that let you install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update in your Dashboard and lets you update many plugins at once in one click …

For more details about this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

Whenever a plugin update gets released, the best practice is to upgrde the plugin to the newest version as soon as possible.

What if you have multiple sites with the same plugin installed? Normally, you would have to login to each site individually and then update the plugin from that site’s own dashboard. With multiple sites, updating the same plugin(s) can take quite a while!

WordPress Power User Tip: If you manage multiple WordPress sites, you can install, update or delete plugins on all of your sites automatically and simultaneously using various WordPress management tools.

Here are just a few great WordPress management tools that are worth knowing about:

Jetpack By WordPress.com Plugin For WordPress

Jetpack is a versatile 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 things like robust stats, easy social sharing, and a whole lot more.

(Jetpack lets you access a range of powerful WordPress features)

One of these features is “Manage”.

Jetpack Manage lets you manage multiple WordPress sites from one simple dashboard on WordPress.com.

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 laptop, tablet, or smart device.

Go here to download and use the plugin:

ManageWP.com

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

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

To download and use this plugin, go here:

WP Pipeline

(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 online WordPress presence and perform multiple upgrades from a single installation.

To download and use the plugin, go here:

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

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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now