WordPress plugins are like any other software installed on your computer, or like any other application on your devices. Periodically developers release updates which provide new features or fix known bugs. By not updating plugins you may increase the risk of your site being breached and fall victim to unwanted attacks. The more popular plugins may release update every few weeks so it is important to log in to you WordPress admin panel and check for new updates.
Automatic and Manual installation
When plugins are installed from the WordPress plugin repository you will be notified through the WordPress admin panel. You will be able to automatically update those plugins with a click of a button. When premium plugins are being used it is unlikely you will get notifications of plugin updates therefor you will need to check back regularly with the developer. More often than not they will not have an automatic update function and will need to be manually updated via ftp. This process may vary between plugins and plugin documentation should be followed carefully to avoid issues.
Performing Automatic Plugin Update
Follow these steps to perform plugin updates from the WordPress plugin repository:
- log in to your WordPress site admin panel
- Click on the Plugins menu item
- A list will appear with all site plugins. Ones shaded red need updating
- Click the ‘Update Now’ link for the required plugin. You will be re-directed to a new page which will display the update process
- Once plugin has finished updating and you receive a message saying the plugin has successfully re-activated click on the link below to return to the plugin list
Repeat this process to update any other out of date plugins. Alternatively you could also click on Dashboard -> Updates to view all site updates and update all plugins at once. This is not recommended as it would be difficult to determine which plugin has caused issue if any site functionality breaks after the update has been performed.
Things To Consider
Updating plugins could break other site functionality therefor it is extremely important to always have a backup of your site before performing any major updates.