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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 plugins to easily add new features to your website or blog without editing code.

You can read this article here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn why plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to easily upgrade and delete plugins, and some plugin management tips if you need to own or manage multiple WordPress sites.

Why Many Plugins Need Frequent Upgrading

New WordPress versions are constantly being released (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in previous software releases, as well as 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 when new versions of WordPress are announced.

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

Fortunately, most WordPress plugin developers (and the WordPress developer community itself) are quite proactive when it comes to ensuring 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 simply maintain your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon learn, is very simple, quick and easy to do.

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

The tutorial below explains how to update and delete WordPress plugins without requiring web programming skills.

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins – Tutorial

WordPress uses several methods to inform users when plugins need updating.

For example, you can immediately see how many plugins need to be updated from your Administration area simply by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

For example, in the screenshot below, 9 WordPress plugins have older versions that need to be updated …

You can also check how many plugins need updating from your WordPress Admin Toolbar (as shown below, several plugins should 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 page provides links to the plugin developer sites and gives you the option to update your plugins with one-click …

Let’s start by learning how to update individual plugins.

Upgrade Individual Plugins

Always make a complete backup of your data and files before updating your blog or website.

In your admin menu, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

The “Plugins” section will display in your browser. The list of plugins can go down your screen for a while, depending on how many plugins you have added to your site …

(Plugins Page)


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

Your Plugins page will now be made more manageable with a pagination feature added. You can find an installed plugin by scrolling through the pages or using the “Plugin Search” box …

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

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

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

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

Repeat the above process for all 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 upgrade them all at the same time.


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

Bulk-Upgrading Plugins

To update multiple WP plugins in a single operation using the automatic updating feature, go to the “Plugins” page and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

Tick the checkbox in the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select each plugin you want to update by checking its box …

In the Bulk Actions pull-down menu above the plugin table, select Update

Click Apply

The plugins you have selected will update all at once …

After your plugins have all been updated, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to return to your Plugins screen, or go to another section of your dashboard …

Once your plugins are all 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 on your screen, toolbar and menus) …

All plugins are now up-to-date!

(When plugins on your site are all up-to-date, update alerts do not display)

Now that you know how to upgrade WP in the WP dashboard, it’s time to learn how to delete plugins safely from your WordPress blog or website.

Deleting WP Plugins

At times, you may decide to delete WP plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This can help to reduce server resources and will help you avoid potential problems.

In this section, we show you how to deactivate and delete unused plugins from your WordPress site.

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

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

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

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

Click Delete

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 …

All files belonging to the plugin selected for deletionwill display on your screen …

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

Your plugin(s) will be deleted …

Bulk-Deleting Plugins

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

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 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 the Apply button …

All 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 …

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

Once you have selected all the plugins that you want deleted, specify 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 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 proceed to the next step and delete all of the plugins listed …

Your plugins will be deleted …

Managing Plugins

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


Plugin Central improves the management of your plugins with features that let you install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update on your WP Admin and lets you update many plugins at once with one click …

For more details about using this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

As discussed earlier, when plugin updates get released, the best practice is to upgrde that plugin right away.

What if you have multiple WordPress 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 own WP dashboard. If you own multiple sites, this process can take quite a while!

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

Below are just some WordPress management tools you should check out:


The Jetpack plugin is a multifunctional plugin for WordPress that offers users a wide range of added functionality, allowing self-hosted WordPress site owners to benefit from WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of things like robust stats, automated social sharing, and so much more.

(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 from one dashboard.

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 laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

Go here to learn more about the plugin:


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

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

Visit this site to learn more about using the plugin:

WP Pipeline – Multiple WordPress Site Management Software

(WP Pipeline lets you update all of your WordPress sites, plugins and themes from a single location)

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 updates from a single installation.

To download and use the plugin, visit this site:

Congratulations! Now you know how to automatically upgrade and delete plugins from your dashboard without editing web code.


"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)

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