Update WordPress Plugins

There are already many WordPress blogs out there that may have this info but I would like to add my two cents for my students and other users of WordPress on the steps I recommend for updating plugins.

Depending on the number of plugins you normally use it is not unreasonable to see one or two updates needed per week.

WordPress Plugin Updates
WordPress Plugin Updates Needed

If you are frequently accessing your admin panel you may notice the small red circle next to plugins notifying you of a number of updates. This number indicates the number of plugins that currently have a new version. Newer versions of plugins may add functionality or fix bugs or other critical issues. (This is similar to Microsoft Windows Updates for your pc)

There are some hosting companies that offer web hosting plans that keep all WordPress software and plugins up to date for you. This post is really meant for those that do not have that type of hosting plan or like to make these changes on their own. I highly recommend updating the plugins manually even if your hosting plan does do automatic updates. I have seen updates bring down sites due to failed updates. The trouble with not updating them manually is that you do not know which was the plugin that failed initially so it could take some time to disable all plugins (or even rename folders on your web host) to determine the plugin that failed. Updating plugins one at a time gives you the best chance of pin pointing a failed plugin update.

Steps to Update WordPress Plugins Manually

To update your plugin manually one at a time follow the below steps.

Click the Plugins links on the left hand side of your WordPress Control Admin Panel. You will be sent to the Plugins page where you can see some statistics about your plugins.

WordPress plugin stats
WordPress Plugin Status

Below that plugin statuses are a list of your installed plugins. The plugins that have a yellow bar with some additional information have updates that can be installed.

Individual Plugin Status
Individual Plugin Status

On the right side of the yellow bar is a link to “update now”. I recommend installing plugin updates one at a time as I have seen to many instances of selecting the check box next to each plugin that has an update and then click the update button at the top (to attempt to update them all) FAIL and cause the admin panel to no longer load. This then requires a more advanced level of troubleshooting at your web host control panel or server level.

After clicking the “update now” link next to one plugin it may take up to a minute or so and you should see the yellow bar turn green as in the screen shot below.

Successful Update
Plugin updated successfully

I would then click the “update now” link for another plugin in need of an update. Updating WordPress plugins in this manner allows me to determine very quickly which update failed and if needed I can deal with this one plugin folder rather than troubleshooting multiple plugins at once.

For some of my other WordPress Articles. If you have any feedback or other methods to successfully update your WordPress plugins please leave a comment below.