How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From The WordPress Admin DashboardIn another article, we provide an overview of what WP plugins are all about and how you can use plugins to expand your site’s capabilities.

You can view the article here:

In this tutorial you will learn the importance of keeping plugins up-to-date, how to automatically update and delete plugins, and discover practical plugin management tips.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why WordPress Plugins Need To Be Updated

WordPress regularly updates its software (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities found in earlier releases, and to improve existing features or introduce new ones.

Depending on how many plugins you have installed on your site, there will typically be new new update notices for plugins when WordPress distributes a new version.

This is because most plugins for WordPress are created by third-party developers, so sometimes code in the new WordPress version conflicts with plugins that were developed and tested with a previous version. When this happens, conflicts can 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 this is required). All you have to do as a website owner, is just maintain your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is very simple to do.

Important Info

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

The WordPress tutorial below explains how to update and delete plugins safely in WordPress without web coding skills necessary.

How To Update And Delete Plugins From Your WordPress Admin Dashboard – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress employs several ways to inform users when plugins need updating.

For example, you can see ‘at a glance’ how many plugins are out-of-date as soon as you log into your WP Dashboard by looking at the main “Plugins” menu.

In the screenshot below, you can see that 9 WordPress plugins have older versions that need to be updated …

Updating And Deleting Plugins

You can also view how many plugins need to be updated from your WP Toolbar (the example below shows that nine plugins require updating) …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

The Plugins section (Plugins > Installed Plugins) also notifies you about plugins that need updating …

Upgrading And Deleting WordPress Plugins In Your Dashboard

In addition to providing information about which plugins have available updates, the Plugins page provides links to the plugin download pages and gives you the option to update the plugins individually or in bulk …

Updating And Deleting Plugins From Your WP Dashboard

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

Updating Individual A Plugin

Warning

We strongly recommend performing a full backup of your website before updating your website or blog.

In your admin menu, select Plugins > Installed Plugins

Updating And Deleting Plugins Inside Your Dashboard

The “Plugins” section will display in your browser. The list of plugins can go down your screen for some length, depending on how many plugins you have installed on your blog …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins

(The WordPress Plugins Screen)

Tip

Tips:

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Inside The Dashboard

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

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Safely From The Dashboard

Plugins that require upgrading display the following notification message: “There is a new version of [Plugin] available”

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely In The WP Dashboard

WordPress provides smoother plugin updates, so that updating your plugins takes place “behind the scenes” without leaving your Plugins screen …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete WordPress Plugins

Repeat the above process for any other plugins on your site that need updating, or see the section below if you have several plugins that are out-of-date and would like to upgrade them all in bulk.

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Now that you know how to upgrade one WP plugin at a time, it’s time to learn how to bulk-upgrade WP plugins.

How To Bulk-Upgrade Plugins

To bulk-update WordPress plugins directly inside your dashboard, go to the “Plugins” area and click on the Update Available link on the menu at the top of the page …

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely Inside 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 its box …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

In the Bulk Actions dropdown menu above the plugin table, choose Update

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely From The WordPress Dashboard

And then click Apply

Updating And Deleting Plugins From Your Dashboard

The plugins you have selected will begin to update automatically …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From Your WP Dashboard

Once all upgrades are done, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to return to your Plugins section, or select another option from the main menu …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins From The WP Admin Dashboard

Once all plugins are up-to-date, the plugin notifications 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) …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins From Your Dashboard

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

Now that you know how to automatically update WordPress in the WP dashboard, let’s take a look at how to delete plugins safely from your site or blog.

Deleting WP Plugins

It’s a good idea to delete plugins that you no longer plan to use. This reduces resources on your server and also helps to eliminate potential problems.

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

Warning

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 select Plugins > Installed Plugins

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely From Your WP Dashboard

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

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

Next, click on Delete

Updating And Deleting Plugins In WordPress

If you want to have a look at 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” section …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Inside The WordPress Dashboard

A complete list of files associated with the plugin that you are about to delete will be listed on your screen …

How To Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely From Your WordPress Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins

Your plugin(s) will be removed from your server …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely Inside The WP Dashboard

Bulk-Deleting WP Plugins

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

Info

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely

Next, select Deactivate from the Bulk Actions pull-down menu …

How To Update And Delete Plugins Safely From The WordPress Admin Dashboard

Click the Apply button …

Upgrading And Deleting Plugins Inside The WP Admin Dashboard

The selected plugins will be deactivated …

Updating And Deleting WordPress Plugins Safely

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

How To Update And Delete Plugins In Your Dashboard

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins

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

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins Safely In WordPress

Click the Apply button …

How To Automatically Upgrade And Delete Plugins Safely

A list of all selected plugins will display 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 want to proceed to the next step and remove all of the plugins listed …

Updating And Deleting Plugins Safely In The Dashboard

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

Updating And Deleting Plugins

Managing WordPress Plugins – Tools

In addition to the methods shown above, you can install a number of third-party 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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Originally published as How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins.