How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In Your WP DashboardIn a previous post, we provide an overview of what plugins are about and how you can use plugins to easily expand your site’s functionality.

You can read this article here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping your WordPress plugins up-to-date, how to upgrade and uninstall plugins from your site, and discover practical tips to help you better manage your plugins.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why Many Of Your WordPress Plugins Need To Be Upgraded

New WordPress versions are regularly released (about every 3-4 months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in older software versions, and to improve existing features or introduce new ones.

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

The reason for this, is because most WordPress plugins are created by external developers, so sometimes features in the new WordPress version conflict with plugins that were developed for a previous version. Whenever this happens, there is a potential for problems to sometimes occur.

Fortunately, most WordPress plugin developers (and the WordPress developer community itself) are fairly proactive when it comes to ensuring that plugins get updated when a new version of WordPress is released (if updating is required). All you have to do on your end, is simply maintain your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon learn, is very simple and easy to do.

Important Info

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

The step-by-step tutorial below explains how to upgrade and delete plugins without editing web code.

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins From Your Dashboard – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress employs a number of different methods of letting you know when your plugins need updating.

For example, you can see how many plugins are out-of-date as soon as you log into your WP Dashboard just by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

In the screenshot below, you can see that nine WP plugins have older versions that need to be updated …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In Your Dashboard

You can also see how many plugins need to be updated from your WP Admin Toolbar (the screenshot below shows that several plugins should be brought up to date) …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From The WordPress Admin Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

In addition to providing information about plugins that have updates available, the Plugins screen provides links to the plugin developer sites and gives you the option to update your plugins instantly …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely Inside The Dashboard

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

Upgrade Individual WordPress Plugins

Warning

Always make a full backup of your website before making any updates to your website.

From your WP admin menu, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins

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

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Inside The WP Admin Dashboard

(The WordPress Plugins Page)

Useful Tip

Useful Tips:

If you have too many plugins and would like to reduce the number of plugins showing on the page, 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 on the screen by default), then click the ‘Apply’ button …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

Your Plugins section 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 “Plugin Search” box …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins In The Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From Your WP Admin Dashboard

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

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Now that you know how to upgrade individual WordPress plugins, it’s time to learn how to upgrade many plugins simultaneously.

How To Bulk-Upgrade Plugins

To update multiple WordPress plugins at the same time using the automatic upgrade feature, go to the “Plugins” area and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

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 …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

In the Bulk Actions dropdown menu above your plugin table, select Update

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

Click Apply

How To Update And Delete Plugins In WordPress

The plugins you have selected will begin the update process …

How To Automatically Update And Delete WordPress Plugins In The Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

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) …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In WordPress

All plugins are now up-to-date!

How To Update And Delete Plugins In The Dashboard

(When plugins on your site are all up-to-date, the notification icons disappear)

Now that you know how to update plugins, let’s take a look at how to safely delete plugins safely from your site.

Deleting WordPress Plugins

It’s a good idea to delete inactive plugins. This can help reduce resources on your server and eliminate potential problems.

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

Warning

Always create 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 reinstall your site.

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

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins Safely

In the Plugins area, locate the plugin you want to remove and make sure it is inactive.

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

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

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins

Click Delete

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

If you need to review a list of all the files that will be deleted before proceeding, then click on the “Click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” link in the “Delete Plugin” section …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely

All files associated with the plugin that you are about to remove will display on your screen …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins In The WP Admin Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

The selected plugin(s) will be deleted …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

Deleting Multiple Plugins Simultaneously

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

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 check box, or selecting the check box next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely

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

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

Click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

All selected plugins will be deactivated …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

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

How To Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins In The Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Once you have ticked all the check boxes next to the plugins that you want deleted, specify Delete from the Bulk Actions pull-down menu …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Click Apply

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely In The WordPress 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 proceed to the next step and delete all of the selected plugins …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

Your plugins will be deleted …

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

Managing WP Plugins – WordPress Tools

In addition to the methods shown above, you can install a number of third-party tools that let you manage your WordPress 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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"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie

Originally published as How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins.