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How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

In a separate article, we explain what plugins are and how you can use plugins to easily extend your web site’s functionality.

You can read the article here:

In this tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping WordPress plugins up-to-date, how to automatically upgrade and remove plugins from your site, and some plugin management tips if you plan to run or manage multiple WordPress sites.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why Plugins Need Upgrading

The WordPress software is regularly updated (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in earlier 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 every.

The reason for this, is because most WordPress plugins are created by external developers, so sometimes code or features in the newly-released WordPress version conflict with plugins that were developed for a previous version. Whenever this happens, there is a potential for issues to sometimes develop.

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

Keeping your plugins regularly updated and deleting old plugins you no longer use is an essential aspect of good WordPress management and helps to avoid any conflicts and errors.

The tutorial below explains how to automatically upgrade and delete plugins safely in your WordPress dashboard without web coding knowledge or skills needed.

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins In WordPress – Tutorial

WordPress has several ways to inform you when plugins need updating.

For example, you can tell immediately how many plugins are out-of-date as soon as you log into your Admin area by looking at the “Plugins” menu.

In the example below, 9 plugins need updating …

You can also view how many plugins need updating from your WordPress Toolbar (in the screenshot below, you can see how many plugins require updating) …

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

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

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

Updating Plugins Individually

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

In your admin menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

You will be taken to the “Plugins” page. This screen can be quite lengthy depending on the number of plugins you have added to your site …

(WordPress Plugins Screen)

Additional Info:

If you have too many plugins installed and would like to reduce the number of plugins displayed on your page, then click on the Screen Options tab at the top of your Plugins screen and type in a smaller number of items per page (all plugins show up on the page by default, i.e. “999”), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

Your Plugins section will now be reduced in size with a page scrolling feature added. You can find an installed plugin by scrolling through the pages or using the “Search” function …

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

Plugins that require upgrading have a distinctive notification message: “There is a new version of [Insert Plugin Name] available”

Select 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 updating your plugins happens with just “one click” 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 several plugins that are out-of-date and would like to update all plugins in one simple operation.


Now that you know how to update one WordPress plugin at a time, it’s time to learn how to update a bunch of WordPress plugins simultaneously.

How To Bulk-Upgrade Plugins

To update multiple plugins in one go using the automatic update 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 their individual boxes …

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

Click Apply

The plugins you have selected will begin to update automatically …

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

Once your plugins are all 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” notices no longer display) …

You have updated all plugins on your site to their latest version!

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

Now that you know how to upgrade WP inside the admin dashboard, let’s show you how to safely uninstall plugins safely from your site.

How To Delete Plugins

At times, you may choose to delete plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This conserves server resources and also help to reduce problems.

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

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

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

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

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

Click Delete

If you need to review a list of 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” screen …

All files belonging to the plugin that you are about to remove will be listed on your screen …

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

The selected plugin(s) will be deleted …

How To Safely Bulk-Delete Plugins

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

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 drop down menu …

Click the Apply button …

Your selected plugins will be deactivated …

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

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

Once you have ticked all the check boxes next to the plugins that you want to delete, specify Delete from the Bulk Actions pull-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 sure that you would like to proceed to the next step and remove all of the plugins listed …

The selected plugins will be deleted and their associated files will be removed from your server …

Managing Plugins

As well as the methods shown above, you can use Free and Paid WordPress plugins to manage your plugins.


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

For more details about this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

When plugin updates get released, the best practice is to upgrde 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 go through the plugin update process from that site’s dashboard. With multiple sites, this process can take quite some time!

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

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

Jetpack Manage – Single WP Dashboard Management

Jetpack is a single plugin for WordPress that provides users with a wide range of features, allowing self-hosted WordPress site users to benefit from WordPress.com’s infrastructure and take advantage of stats reporting, 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 and plugins from one interface.

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

To download and use this plugin, go here:


(ManageWP is a widely used management tool for multiple WordPress sites)

ManageWP lets you manage all your sites from one central location, including updates, backups, security and more. The application features easy and intuitive one-click updates and instant login access to your sites.

To download and use the plugin, visit this site:

WP Pipeline.com

(With WP Pipeline, you can 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 portfolio of WordPress sites and perform multiple updates from one central installation.

Go here to learn more about using the plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to update and safely delete WordPress plugins via the WP dashboard.


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