Keeping your WordPress plugins up-to-date is key to ensuring your website stays functional and your readers do not experience any problems when accessing your website.
The last thing you want is for a reader to choose to leave your website without any action due to the form they are supposed to use doesn’t work or your email capture form doesn’t work.
Keeping your website up-to-date also stops any potential security risks that might have been exposed and is the reason the plugin developer has upgraded their program.
Let’s start with what exactly is a WordPress Plugin and then I will guide you through the steps to updating them.
What Exactly is a WordPress Plugin?
WordPress plugins are essential to your WordPress website. They add many different functions to your website to allow you to achieve pretty much anything with your website. Want a picture gallery, want to use a capture form, adding an author box, you name it there is a plugin for it. One of the most essential plugins is your SEO plugin. Whether you use the All-in-One SEO or choose Yoast. These are essential to ensuring your WordPress website is SEO friendly and found easily by the Search Engines.
Related Post: How to Install a WordPress Plugin
SO, Why Is it Important to Keep WordPress Plugins Up-to-Date?
The number one reason why developers release updates – to keep you and your website safe. Security updates are one of the reasons, but also added functionality is also one. Whenever WordPress itself updates to the newest version, your plugins will typically have to update to remain functional with the latest release.
One of the key tips I will share at this stage, is backing up your WordPress website is a worthwhile step before installing the latest WordPress update and keeping weekly backups just in case.
How to Update WordPress Plugins
There are reasons why you may choose to install the updates individually rather than in bulk, so I will describe to you both ways.
If you have used the plugin for a while and have experience no problems installing updates in the past, then you could typically use the bulk option. You kind of build up a trust factor with plugins the same way you might with websites.
But if it is a new plugin for you, then I would highly suggest you install it individually until you build up that trust with the developer.
Step One – Login to your WordPress Editor
You will know straightaway if you have any updates available when you first log in. ON your left-hand menu, you will notice that the plugin menu item has a red circle with a number on it indicating how many plugins require an update.
If you hover over your dashboard menu item, you will notice that the same indicator is there, however the number may be different. Don’t worry, it just means that there are other updates that are available, such as your theme has an update or WordPress itself is ready for an update.
In the image below, you can see that there is one update ready for this WordPress website
There is a difference depending on which one you click. If you click plugins, it will take you to page displaying all of your plugins, including those that do not require a plugin.
If you follow the updates menu item, it will take you to page where only the items that require an update is listed. This is my preferred method, as it will also show other items (such as themes) that need updating and I can manage it all in one session.
From the image below, you can see that on the updates page, I have one plugin requiring an update and it is “WP Product Review Lite”.
Step 2 – Selecting & Updating the WordPress Plugin
Now there are a couple of things I check prior to actually updating a plugin, especially if it is the first time, I am updating a plugin.
How compatible is it with your current WordPress version? I like to check this, because if it is 100%, I am more inclined to include it in a bulk update. If the answer is not 100%, I would choose to update it on its own or maybe wait a couple of days to see if they include a newer update.
If you are choosing to update all the plugins that are listed, use the ‘Select All’ option, if you are choosing which plugins to install individually, use the check box at the left hand side of each plugin:
Once you are ready to update, press the button saying ‘Update’. This will take a few seconds, depending on how many are being updated and then will return a completed screen.
That is it! You have now completed the update on your WordPress Plugins. If you have been using the plugin for a while and have never had problems with it, then I cannot see why you wouldn’t install an update straightaway. Some will advise you wait a week just in case, but I would tend to do this with a new plugin that I haven’t had a lot of experience with. It is prudent to read what the actual update is for.
There is a way of setting your WordPress plugins to automatically update, find the related post here. Whilst, personally I wouldn’t recommend it as if it breaks your website, you won’t know until you next log in and could be missing a lot of traffic. But still it might be useful to at least know how to do it.
Want to Know More about WordPress?
WordPress is becoming the most popular website content manager online. With over 50% of websites now using the platform it shows the versatility WordPress brings with it, and plugins is how this is achieved. There is so much to learn about WordPress, so if you would like to learn everything there is to know about WordPress you might consider learning from the best.
Whatever the reason you have a WordPress website, you need the best support there is the industry to improve your knowledge and internet marketing skills. Wealthy Affiliate offers top-quality training materials on WordPress and Internet Marketing Skills with some awesome features for WordPress websites all included in its membership. If you would like to learn more, check out my Wealthy Affiliate review, it is not all just about Affiliate Marketing.
If you have any questions about WordPress, WordPress plugins or anything else please write them in the comments below and I will come back to you ASAP with an answer.