How to Update a Plugin

For the security of your website, it is important to keep your plugins and WordPress code up-to-date.  Some security plugins will let you know when a plugin needs to be updated.   More recent versions of WordPress will update the core code on its own and a few plugins can be set to automatically update but most have to be done manually.

How do you know if your plugin needs an update?

When you log into your WordPress dashboard, WordPress will notify you there are plugin updates by putting that number in a red circle next to the Plugin link.  Click into your Plugins page and you will quickly see what plugin(s) needs updating.    In this example, the Akismet Anti-Spam plugin needs updating.

Before updating any plugin, it is always a good idea to back up your website externally to something like Google Drive or Dropbox. 

After backing up your website, feel free to read the change details included in the update – this is a good way to learn more about how your website works. I recommend this after backing up your website because backing up your website should always be your first step.

Update the Plugin

To update the plugin, click on the Update Now link in the peach section under the plugin.  Hang tight and leave the site alone while the spinner shows the update is being completed.  Once the update is complete, you’ll get a green check mark showing the update was successful.

Once the plugin is updated, go back and check the front end of your website (what your website visitor sees).  Make sure everything looks good.  It should be fine but it is always good to check after an update to make sure the update is successful on the front end too.

Multiple Plugin Updates

If you have multiple plugins to update, avoid the temptation to have them update simultaneously.  That is an easy way to have a code failure and break your site. (Read: NEVER update more than one plugin at a time.)  Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Backup your website
  2. Update the first plugin
  3. Once the plugin update is done, check the front-end of your site – click thru a page or two
  4. Repeat, starting with step 2 until all plugins are updated.