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How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

In a separate blog post, we explain what plugins are and how you can use plugins to easily extend your website’s functionality.

You can view the article here:

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn why WordPress plugins need to be kept up-to-date, how to upgrade and delete plugins, and practical plugin management tips if you own or manage multiple WordPress sites or blogs.

How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins

Why Plugins Need Regular Updating

WordPress regularly updates its software (about every three to four months) to fix bugs and address security issues and vulnerabilities discovered in earlier releases, as well as to improve existing features.

Depending on how many plugins you use on your site, there will typically be new new update notifications for plugins each time a new WordPress version is released.

The reason for this, is because most plugins for WordPress are created by external developers, so sometimes code in the new WordPress version conflicts with plugins that were developed and tested with a previous version. When this happens, there is a potential for conflicts to 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 have to do as a WordPress user, is maintain your plugins up-to-date, which, as you will soon discover, is very quick, simple and easy to do.

Keeping your WordPress plugins up-to-date and removing old plugins you no longer use is part of good WordPress management and helps to avoid any errors and conflicts.

The WordPress tutorial below explains how to automatically update and delete plugins in your WordPress dashboard without editing web code.

How To Automatically Update And Delete Plugins – Tutorial

WordPress uses several ways to inform users when plugins need to be updated.

For example, you can see how many plugins need to be updated from your WP Dashboard by looking at the “Plugins” menu.

For example, in the screenshot below, 9 plugins need updating …

You can also view how many plugins need updating from your WordPress Notification Toolbar (the screenshot below shows that several plugins need updating) …

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

As well as providing information about plugins that have updates available, the Plugins section provides links to the plugin download sites and gives you the option to update your plugin individually or in bulk …

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

How To Upgrade WordPress Plugins Individually

Always make a backup of your data and files before upgrading your website or blog.

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

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

(WordPress Plugins Screen)

Tips:

If you have too many plugins 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 (by default, all plugins display on the screen), then click Apply …

Your Plugins page 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 “Plugin Search” function …

WordPress displays information about plugins in different color backgrounds depending on the status of your 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 Name] available”

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

WordPress has done away with the loading screen when updating plugins and streamlined the process, so that the process of updating your plugins happens with just “one click” without leaving your Plugins area …

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 all plugins at the same time.

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Now that you know how to upgrade individual WP plugins, the next step is to learn how to bulk-upgrade plugins.

How To Bulk-Upgrade Plugins

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

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

In the Bulk Actions dropdown menu at the top of the page, choose Update

And then click Apply

The plugins you have selected will all be updated at once …

After all plugins have been updated, you can click on the Return to Plugins page link to go back to your Plugins section, or select another option from the WordPress admin menu …

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” messages no longer display) …

All plugins have now been updated!

(When plugins on your site are up-to-date, the notification icons do not display)

Now that you know how to upgrade inside your WP dashboard, let’s show you how to safely delete plugins from your blog or website.

How To Delete WP Plugins

At times, you may choose to delete WordPress plugins that you no longer need or are no longer using on your site. This decreases server resources and also help you avoid causes of problems.

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

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 dashboard menu and choose Plugins > Installed Plugins

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

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

If the plugin is active, click on Deactivate before going any further …

Click on Delete

If you would like to review a list of all the files that will be deleted before taking the next step, then click on the “Click to view entire list of files which will be deleted” link in the “Delete Plugin” page …

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

If you are absolutely sure that you want to go ahead and delete the selected plugin, just 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 on your site, or select a combination of active and inactive plugins to be cleared.

Note: To delete any plugins that are currently 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 check box, or selecting the checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins (warning: this will deactivate all plugins) …

Next, select 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 …

Tick the checkbox next to the Plugin column header to select all plugins at once, or select only the plugins you want to delete by checking its box …

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

Click Apply

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 absolutely certain that you would like to proceed to the next step and remove all of the selected plugins …

All plugins will be deleted …

Practical Management Tools For Plugins

In addition to the methods shown above, you can use other WordPress plugins to manage your WordPress plugins.

PLUGIN CENTRAL

Plugin Central improves the management of your plugins with options that let you install plugins directly, displays the status of plugins in need of update in the WP Dashboard and also allows you to update many plugins at once with a single click …

For more details about using this plugin, go here:

Managing WordPress Plugins On Multiple Sites

As discussed earlier, when plugin updates are released, the best practice is to upgrde the plugin as soon as possible.

What if you run multiple sites using the same plugin? One option, is to login to each site individually and then update the plugin from that site’s admin dashboard. If you manage multiple sites, updating the same plugin(s) can take quite a while to complete!

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

Below are a couple of WordPress management tools you can check out:

Jetpack Manage – Single WordPress Dashboard Management

Jetpack is a multifunctional WordPress plugin that offers users a wide range of added functionality, allowing self-hosted WordPress site users 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 allows you to manage multiple self-hosted WordPress sites and WordPress.com sites from one simple interface.

With Manage, you can update plugins, set plugins to automatically update, and activate or deactivate plugins on a per-site basis or in bulk, whether you’re on your laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

To download and use the plugin, visit this site:

ManageWP.com

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

ManageWP lets you easily manage all of your WordPress sites from one dashboard, including upgrades, backups, security and more. This application features easy one-click upgrades and instant login to all of your WP sites.

Visit this site to download and use this plugin:

WP Pipeline

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

WP Pipeline is very similar to ManageWP, but sells for a one-time license fee instead of recurring payments. It lets you manage your entire portfolio of WordPress sites and perform multiple upgrades from one single installation.

Visit this site to learn more about using the plugin:

Congratulations! Now you know how to automatically update and delete WordPress plugins.

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"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum