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How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

In another post, we provide an overview of what plugins are all about and how you can use plugins to add new features and functionality to your web site without touching code.

You can read the article here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping all plugins up-to-date, how to upgrade and remove plugins from your site, and discover practical tools to help you better manage your plugins if you plan to manage multiple WordPress sites.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why WordPress Plugins Need Updating

New WordPress versions are regularly released (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in older software versions, and to improve existing features or introduce new functionality to users.

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

The reason for this, is because most WordPress plugins are created by third-party developers, so sometimes the code in the new WordPress version conflicts with plugins that were built for a previous version. Whenever this happens, there is a potential for conflicts to sometimes occur.

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

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

The tutorial below explains how to update and delete plugins safely inside your dashboard with no web coding knowledge or skills required.

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely Inside Your WordPress Admin Dashboard – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress provides several methods to inform you when plugins need updating.

For example, you can immediately see how many plugins need to be updated inside your WordPress Dashboard just by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

In the screenshot below, nine WP plugins have older versions that need updating …

You can also see how many plugins need to be updated from your WP Admin Toolbar (the screenshot below shows how many plugins need updating) …

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

In addition to providing information about which plugins have updates available, the Plugins screen provides links to the plugin developer sites and gives you the option to update your plugin individually or in bulk …

Let’s start by showing you how to update WordPress plugins one at a time.

How To Update Plugins Individually

We strongly recommend making a complete backup of your site files and database before making any upgrades to your website.

In your dashboard menu, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

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

(The WordPress Plugins Page)

Useful Information:

If you have too many plugins 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 (all plugins show on the page by default, i.e. “999”), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

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

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

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

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

WordPress provides fast plugin updating, so that the process of updating your plugins happens with just “one click” without leaving your Plugins area …

Repeat the above process for all plugins on your site that need to be updated, or see the section below if you have a number of plugins that are out-of-date and would like to upgrade all plugins in one simple operation.


Now that you know how to update plugins one at a time, let’s show you how to update multiple plugins simultaneously.

How To Bulk-Upgrade Plugins

To upgrade multiple WordPress plugins in a single operation directly inside your dashboard, go to the “Plugins” page and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

Tick the checkbox 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 pull-down menu above the table of plugins, select Update

Click Apply

The plugins you have selected will begin to update automatically …

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

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

All plugins are now up-to-date!

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

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

How To Delete WP Plugins

Occasionally, you may choose to delete WP plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This can help conserve server resources and help to eliminate problems.

In this section, we show you how to remove unused plugins from your site or blog.

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

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

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

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

Next, click Delete

If you need to have a look at all the files that will be deleted before going ahead with the next step, then click on the “Click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” link in the “Delete Plugin” screen …

A complete list of files belonging to the plugin that you are about to delete will display on your screen …

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

Your plugin(s) will be deleted …

How To Safely Bulk-Delete WordPress 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 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 checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

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

Click Apply

Your selected plugins will be deactivated …

To delete all or some of the inactive plugins, go to the “Plugins” page and click on the Inactive link in the Plugins menu …

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

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

Click Apply

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 proceed to the next step and delete all of the plugins listed …

Your plugins will be deleted …

WordPress Plugin Management – Tools

As well as the methods shown above, you can use a range of third-party tools to manage your WordPress plugins.


Plugin Central is a Free WordPress plugin that improves the management of your plugins by allowing you to install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update on the Admin area and lets you update many plugins at once with a single mouse-click …

For more details about this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

When plugin updates are released, the best practice is to update the plugin to the most recent version ASAP.

What if you run multiple sites using the same plugin? Typically, you would need to login to every site and then go through the plugin update process from that site’s own WP admin dashboard. If you manage multiple sites, this process can take quite a while to complete!

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

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

Jetpack Manage – Single WP Dashboard Management

The Jetpack plugin is a multifunctional WordPress plugin that offers users a powerful range of features, 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 a whole lot more.

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

One of these features is “Manage”.

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

With Manage, you can upgrade 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 laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

To download and use the plugin, visit this site:


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

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

Visit this site to download this plugin:

WP Pipeline.com

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

WP Pipeline is very similar 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 location.

To download this plugin, visit this site:

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


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