How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Learn how to update and delete WordPress plugins inside your WordPress dashboard…

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In The WordPress Admin DashboardIn a separate post, we explain what plugins are and how you can use plugins to enhance your site’s functionality.

To read this article, go here:

In this tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping WordPress plugins up-to-date, how to easily upgrade and remove plugins, and discover useful plugin management tools if you need to run multiple WordPress sites.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why Some Of Your WordPress Plugins Need Frequent Updating

New versions of WordPress are frequently being released (about every 3-4 months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in earlier versions, as well as to improve existing features.

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, there will typically be new updates for plugins each time a new WordPress version is made available.

This is because most plugins for WordPress 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. Whenever this happens, issues can 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 this is needed). All you need to do on your end, is simply keep your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon learn, is very quick, simple and easy to do.

Info

Keeping your WordPress plugins regularly updated and removing old plugins you no longer need is an essential aspect of good WordPress site management and helps to avoid potential errors or problems.

The WordPress step-by-step tutorial below explains how to upgrade and delete plugins in your dashboard without coding knowledge necessary.

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress utilizes a number of different methods to alert you when plugins need to be updated.

For example, you can tell immediately how many plugins need to be updated as soon as you log into your WP Dashboard simply by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

You can also check how many plugins need updating from your WordPress Administration Toolbar (in the screenshot below, you can again see that nine plugins should be updated) …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

The Plugins page (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also lets you know which plugins need updating …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

As well as 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 the plugin with one-click …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

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

Upgrading Individual A Plugin

Warning

We recommend making a full backup of your data and files before upgrading your blog or website.

In your dashboard menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely In Your WP Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

(Plugins Section)

Tip

Additional Info:

If you have too many plugins installed and would like to reduce the number of plugins displayed on the screen, then click on the Screen Options tab at the top of your Plugins page and enter a smaller number of items per page (by default, all plugins display on the page), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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” feature …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely In Your Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The WordPress Dashboard

Locate the plugin that you want to update and click on the update now link …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins

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 screen …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Repeat the above process for any other plugins on your site that need to be updated, or refer to 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 update one WP plugin at a time, let’s show you how to update a bunch of WordPress plugins simultaneously.

How To Bulk-Upgrade WordPress Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Click on the checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select each plugin you want to upgrade by checking its box …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Inside The Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

And then click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins

The plugins you have selected will update all at once …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your WP Dashboard

Once all updates are completed, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to your Plugins section, or go to a different section of your dashboard …

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

Once your plugins are all up-to-date, any plugin alerts will disappear (i.e. the “at-a-glance” indicators and “There is a new version of XYZ plugin available” notices no longer display) …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely Inside Your Dashboard

All plugins are now up-to-date!

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

(When your site uses the latest version of all plugins, the notification icons no longer display)

Now that you know how to automatically upgrade your plugins, let’s show you how to safely uninstall plugins from your blog or website.

Deleting Plugins

Occasionally, you may want to delete WP plugins that are no longer needed or being used on your site. This helps to decrease resource usage and also help to minimize problems.

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

Warning

We strongly recommend creating 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 select Plugins > Installed Plugins

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins

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

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely

Once you have deactivated the plugin, click Delete

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In The WordPress 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” section …

How To Update And Delete Plugins In Your Dashboard

A complete list of files associated with the plugin selected for removalwill display on your screen …

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

The selected plugins and related files will be deleted from your WordPress installation …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Deleting Several Plugins At Once

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

Important 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 checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

Next, specify Deactivate from the Bulk Actions drop down menu …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins

Click Apply

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Once you have selected all the plugins that you want to delete, select Delete from the Bulk Actions drop down menu …

How To Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress

Click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins From The 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 sure that you want to go ahead and remove all of the selected plugins …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins From Your WordPress Dashboard

The plugins will be deleted …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely

Plugin Management – Tools

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

Health Check & troubleshooting

Health Check & Troubleshooting WordPress plugin
Health Check identifies common problems and helps you troubleshoot plugin and theme conflicts.

This plugin provides comprehensive checks for your WordPress installation to detect common configuration errors and known issues. It also enables plugins and themes to add their own custom checks.

The debug section allows you to easily gather information about your WordPress and server configuration, which can be shared with support representatives for themes, plugins, or on the official WordPress.org support forums.

The troubleshooting feature allows you to initiate a clean WordPress session, where all plugins are disabled and a default theme is used, but only for your user account until you choose to disable it or log out.

The Tools section offers the ability to check for file tampering in WordPress, test email-sending functionality, and verify plugin compatibility with future PHP version updates.

For more details, go here: Health Check And Troubleshooting

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

As discussed earlier, when plugin updates are released, the best practice is to update the plugin as soon as possible to its latest version.

What if you run multiple WordPress sites using the same plugin?

Typically, you would need to log in to every site individually and update the plugin manually from the site’s admin dashboard.

If you manage or plan to manage multiple sites, this process can become very time-consuming, especially as plugins get updated quite often.

If you manage multiple WordPress sites, you can install, update, and delete multiple plugins on all your sites automatically and simultaneously using WordPress site management tools, like the one below:

WPMU DEV’s The Hub

WPMU DEV's The Hub - Unlimited WordPress Site Management
WPMU DEV’s The Hub – Unlimited WordPress Site Management

The Hub lets you manage unlimited WordPress sites easily and effectively from one central command center.

The Updates section of The Hub shows you exactly what needs updating on each of your managed site(s), including plugins, themes, and core software updates.

WPMU DEV: The Hub - My Sites - Updates menu

The Hub’s Updates features display how many outdated components need updating on your site(s).

You can choose to either update all your plugins at once or update them individually with just a few clicks. Best of all, you don’t need to log into every site separately to perform your plugin updates.

WPMU DEV: The Hub - My Sites - Updates menu

Update everything at once or perform individual updates directly in The Hub with a few clicks.

This can be a real time-saver when managing multiple WordPress sites, especially when WordPress releases a new version and you have to update many plugins and themes to prevent potential issues from happening.

The Hub - Update notifications.
This feature can help you save a lot of time updating multiple WordPress sites, especially when WordPress releases a new version of its software.

You can read our comprehensive article on managing multiple sites effectively using the Hub or visit WPMU DEV to learn more and try The Hub for free.

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"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)

Originally published as How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins.