How to Keep Your WordPress Plugins Up to Date

Keeping Up To Date with All those Plugins

Plugins are great because they allow us to add new features and functions to our sites without having to do any custom development. However on most WordPress Websites the number of Plugins grows and grows over time and soon it seems we can hardly log into our sites without at least one pending update.

Though easy to ignore, these updates typically contain bug fixes and security updates. It is very important that you keep up to date with your plugins. In fact over the last year there have been some very credible and widely used plugins of which come major security exploits where found in. The publishers quickly released updates but your site is only as secure as the last update you made.

What We Cover in This Video:

  • Where to look for pending updates
  • How to review the changes any update may include
  • Best practice for updating multiple plugins including taking a manual backup prior to any updating
  • The steps to follow when making a plugin update.

Video Transcript
Hi there. Let’s talk about WordPress plug-in updates. Now as you know, plug-ins are great because they allow you the ability to add features and functions and new things to your WordPress website very easily and very quickly. However, plug-ins are updated on a regular basis and WordPress actually notifies you of those updates automatically.

Keeping up to date with WordPress plug-ins is very important because some of the updates have to do with features, functions and improvements, but a lot of them have to do with security functions as well. It’s very important to make sure your plug-ins are up to date.

Once we log into the WordPress website, and we’re on our dashboard, we’ll see that across the top here in the admin area, we’ll have a total number of updates that are pending for our WordPress website. Also, on the left side here, next to plug-ins, we have a number. This is the total number of plug-ins that are needing an update. If we click through to plug-ins, will be able to see all the plug-ins that are installed on our website. In addition to this, we’ll be able to see all the plug-ins that have a pending update.

Now this site has a lot of updates that need to happen here. Both active and inactive plug-ins will alert you to needing an update. I think, it’s best practice to go ahead and delete inactive plug-ins, but, regardless, make sure they’re kept up to date. You can view the details of any particular plug-in update by clicking on the “View Version” details. Simply close this when you’re done. We can go to the update screen to view all of the pending plug-ins for our WordPress website.

Now this particular website has a pending core update. I covered the core update in another video, so we’re going to ignore that right now. On this page, we’ll see a listing of all the pending updates for plug-ins for this website. Again, there’s quite a number here. But before we do anything at all, we need to take a backup of our website. Though plug-in updates are usually very smooth and happen with ease, it’s absolutely important that before you make any update to your site, you go ahead and take a backup.

Now, you’ll hear me talk about the duplicator plug-in quite a bit because it’s a favorite of mine, which basically allows to create a backup of your website very quickly and easily. I go over this plug-in in another video, so, we’re just going to go ahead and create our backup. Make sure that we have it and we’re good to go with our plug-in updates. Let’s give this a minute.

Okay. So we have our backup now and duplicator takes both a file backup and a database backup. So these are the two things that we need. We can download our backup so that we have a copy on our local computer and we are good to go. Let’s return to our WordPress update page.

The listing of plug-ins will appear as we talked about before. You could do a “Select All” and click “Update Plug-ins”. I consider it best practice to go ahead and update one plug-in at a time. The reason I say this is that, it gives you the opportunity to go test your website after each and every update.

Now, some of the updates you may know are not going to be critical functions to your website. For example, we have the duplicator plug-in update here. None duplicator, all it does is take a backup of my site. I can be fairly certain that it’s not going to affect the visual output of my website or the admin area. However, for example, we also have an update on our WordPress Slider plug-in. This is running on our home page, so, this is pretty important. I want to make sure that that update goes incredibly smooth. Again, I like to do one at a time.

Go ahead and check one and then click Update plug-ins. WordPress will pull all the files and do everything it needs to do. This usually only takes a matter of seconds and we’re all set. Again, I like to go check the front end of the website. I like to click around the admin area of the website and make sure everything’s good to go.

I cover what to do when something goes wrong with an update in another video. But right now, we’re going to assume that that update went perfectly smooth and we’re going to move on. We’ll do these one at a time until everything is up to date. That’s it. That’s how to keep your plug-ins up to date.