Update WordPress, Themes, Plugins

You do need to update WordPress , it’s Plugins and Themes. Keeping your website up to date goes a long way to ensure it works seamlessly. It helps to keep the wheels turning without unnecessary friction. 

From time to time WordPress introduces new code into the core files. These are intended to make the whole system run better. They introduce new capabilities, fix compatibility issues and fine tune security. Depending on your settings the WordPress updates will auto install or alternately appear in your dashboard for you to manually install.

In the case of major updates, you may need to manually click to install even if you have set to auto. This is just a safe guard giving you opportunity to do any housekeeping or backup first.

Just as WordPress has updates, so do your installed plugins. WordPress makes the core file updates available to developer before release to the general public. They do this to give plugin developers and authors time to test their plugins with the changed WordPress core files. They can then decide to release updates for their plugins to accommodate the WordPress changes if necessary. This is how they stay ahead of the game. So when we update WordPress on our sites, their plugins are ready to go.

While there may not be any conflicts to fix, many plugin authors may take the opportunity to release any incremental updates they were working on. It also allows for their plugin to report compatibility with the latest version of WordPress.

Let’s update WordPress 

WordPress gives you notification when it, or its plugins or themes need updates to be installed.

When you login to your WordPress Admin, you will see these notifications.

Update WordPress themes and plugins 1

Notice the orange circles with numbers? They appear in two places. First you see them in the top left beside updates under Home.

Next you see them further down the list beside plugins.

Notice the Updates tab says 10, but the plugins tab says 9?

Lets click on the Update tab and take a look.

Update WordPress themes and plugins 2

On this page it is telling us WordPress has checked for core updates and the latest version is installed..

We have the option to reinstall if we think there was a problem  with this install. That’s very rare. But you have the option.

Below that, we see a list of 9 plugins requiring update.

We have not finished our task to update WordPress till we address these updates.

To do that you would click on the select all box, then click Update Plugins.

The screen would change to the one below showing as each plugin was installed.


Update WordPress themes and plugins 4

WordPress goes into “Maintenance mode” to do this. At the bottom of that screen you see the messages confirming the installs.

It also checks translations as part of this cycle and gives you a confirmation message to say it has completed.

The final option is to go to the plugins or the Updates page. Choose the Updates Page this time.

Update WordPress themes and plugins 3

Now here is the missing 10th update. It’s not a plugin. It’s actually one of the installed themes that requires an update.

It was at the very bottom of the Updates page below the Plugins in a separate box. 

WordPress does not let you update it along with the plugins. You have to do it separately , but it is same process

(Themes are and shown in the Appearance tab on the sidebar.)

Failed update WordPress Plugins or themes

If you see an plugin update listed as Failed, there are a number of possibilities.

If you have third party or paid plugins that do not come from the WordPress repository.

They may have to be updated separately.

First go to the Plugins Tab. Then scroll down till you find the one in question. It should be highlighted to say an update is available.

Manually click the Update button.

If it proceeds and updates, you will get a success message.

If it fails again you may need to go to the Plugin Authors site.

  • First check for any notifications about install issues.
  • Check the support page to see if others have experienced the same issue.
  • If so, follow the Authors solution if given.

If not, then download the zip file containing updated version.

  • On your site go into plugins.
  • At the top click Add New.
  • On the next screen click upload.
  • Find the zip file you downloaded to your computer.
  • Then click install.

If this succeeds then you have finished.

Sometimes you may get another failure notification.

It will normally say it “failed to create the directory as the directory already exists“.
In this instance you will have to remove the original version of the plugin first

  • Go to the installed plugin and go to its settings.
  • Check if it has an option to save and export settings.
  • Some do, some don’t. Many don’t need to.
  • Some others have an option to delete and remove all data when the plugin is removed.
  • While this option is great for removing a plugin you no longer require, its not great if we want to keep our data and settings.
  • If that is so, make sure that box is not checked.

Most well built plugins I have experienced find and apply your settings from the previous version.

You can usually go back, remove the original version from the plugin directory, then upload the new version again.

This normally succeeds. Most well built plugins I have experienced find and apply your settings from the previous version.


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You can get in touch with this author at: 'brendan@brendan-ryan.com''

Hi, I'm Brendan Ryan. Welcome here. I build, maintain and troubleshoot WordPress based websites for myself and my customers. I regularly help out by psting splutions in beginners forums on Facebook and the like. I hope the posts here demystify some of the process that make a website. I am happy to help if you require assistance. Small things I am happy to guide you. For larger things my rates are reasonable and my service is prompt. Contact me in the form below if you need more information or help. Enjoy your visit. Get me on Facebook Messenger:- m.me/https.brendan.ryan

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