In the manual process, you will update plugins without any automatic restrictions. It’s a handy process that works great with any plugin.
After developers release a new patch, your plugins should be automatically updated to its latest version. But, sometimes, this automatic process might not happen, leaving the plugin unstable with the newest version of WordPress.
This is where the manually updating plugin process comes in clutch. In this guide, we will share two best tricks of how to manually update your WordPress plugin and maintain them perfectly.
Let’s get started,
- Should You Update WordPress Plugins Manually?
- Why it is Necessary to Update WordPress Plugins
- 2 Ways to Update WordPress Plugins Manually
- 7 Best Practices on WordPress Plugin Updates
Should You Update WordPress Plugins Manually?
Updating WordPress plugins manually is a process that demands careful consideration, and it’s essential for various reasons.
Firstly, consider the security because plugins are frequently updated to patch vulnerabilities, and by updating them manually, you ensure that your site’s defense against potential threats remains harmless. When you manually control updates, you can carefully review the changes, allowing you to maintain the security standards you have set.
Also, Developers continually refine plugins to fix existing issues, and manually updating allows you to review the fixes in detail. By understanding what has been resolved, you can make an informed decision on whether an update is crucial for the functionality of your site.
Adding new features and improvements is a significant reason for manual updates. As you explore new enhancements offered by the updates, you can assess whether they align with your needs. This enables you to implement them thoughtfully, making your website more engaging and user-friendly.
Let’s stay compatible because it’s a vital aspect of website maintenance. Manually updating plugins offers the chance to verify that they work well with your WordPress version and other plugins. By testing updates first, you avoid conflicts disrupting the user experience, ensuring smooth operation.
The control and customization that manual updates offer cannot be overlooked. You can choose when to update and make sure that custom code is not overwritten. This process aligns closely with your needs and preferences, resulting in a more personalized and stable website.
Why it is Necessary to Keep Your WordPress Plugins Updated
Plugins are like applications designed especially for different CMS platforms like WordPress. Just like having updated phone apps can benefit your overall time with your smartphone, updated plugins keep your website in check and ensure perfect condition.
Sometimes, updated plugins keep your website from breaking apart and prevent serious issues within the website.
i) Security considerations
In the digital world, security threats are ever-evolving. Outdated plugins may contain vulnerabilities that malicious entities can exploit. Keeping your plugins updated bolsters your site’s security measures, minimizing the risk of potential breaches. It helps you protect your site’s integrity and your users’ data.
ii) Enhanced performance
Plugin developers continually strive to improve the efficiency and speed of their products. When you update your plugins, you acquire the latest features and ensure your site runs smoothly. Regular updates contribute to a more responsive and efficient website, providing a better experience for your visitors.
iii) Latest features and improvements
The world of technology never stands still, and neither should your website. Updating your plugins provides access to the latest features and improvements that can add functionality or enhance existing capabilities. By staying current, you ensure that your site continues to meet the needs and expectations of your audience, making it more engaging and competitive.
iv) Compatibility assurance
WordPress itself frequently updates and new versions might cause conflicts with older plugins. Regularly updating plugins ensures they remain compatible with your site’s latest WordPress version and other plugins. It maintains a seamless user experience and helps avoid unexpected errors or functionality issues.
v) Bug fixes and resolution
No plugin is perfect, and developers routinely fix bugs and glitches through updates. By keeping your plugins up to date, you resolve these issues as the developers address them. This creates a more stable and reliable environment for your website, translating to a more professional image for your business.
vi) Compliance and standards
Depending on your industry, you may need to adhere to specific regulations and standards. Updated plugins are more likely to comply with the latest rules and guidelines, which can be crucial for legal and operational reasons.
vii) Optimal user experience
Your website’s users expect a smooth and engaging experience. Outdated plugins may lead to slow load times or broken features. Regularly updating ensures that your site remains user-friendly, fostering loyalty and satisfaction among your visitors.
viii) Strategic control
Updating plugins offers strategic control over your website’s evolution. Being hands-on with updates allows for thoughtful implementation of changes, aligning them with your unique goals and vision.
2 Methods to Update WordPress Plugins Manually
With these 2 methods, you can manually update your plugins without hassle.
Method 1: Using WordPress dashboard
After login to your WordPress site, click on Plugins from the left sidebar. This takes you to the plugin management area where you can view all installed plugins, along with details such as version numbers and status.
Locate the one you wish to update. If an update is available, a notification or highlighted text will generally indicate this. You should see it has a message like below.
Now, click the Update Now button to update the plugin manually. WordPress features a bulk plugin update version that you can use to update multiple outdated plugins simultaneously.
Method 2: Using the FTP method
If you want a more technical method for updating your plugins manually, then it’s best to use the FTP method. Follow the below steps,
Step 1: Prepare the plugin files
Download the latest version of the plugin from the official WordPress Plugin Directory or the developer’s website. Extract the downloaded ZIP file on your computer, as you’ll be uploading these files to your server.
Step 2: Connect to your server via FTP
Use an FTP client like FileZilla or Cyberduck to connect to your server. You’ll need your FTP credentials, including the server address, username, and password, provided by your hosting provider.
Step 3: Navigate to the plugin directory
Find the directory where WordPress is installed in your FTP client, and navigate to wp-content/plugins/. You’ll see a list of all your installed plugins here.
Step 4: Backup the existing plugin
Before making changes, it’s wise to download a copy of the existing plugin folder to your computer. This serves as a backup in case something goes wrong.
Step 5: Delete the existing plugin files
Select the folder of the plugin you want to update and delete it. Be careful to choose the correct folder; this action cannot be undone through the FTP client.
Step 6: Upload the new plugin files
In your FTP client, locate the extracted files of the new plugin version on your computer. Select all these files and upload them to your server’s wp-content/plugins/ directory.
Step 7: Verify the Update
Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to the Plugins section to ensure the plugin has been updated to the latest version. Check the site to make sure the plugin is functioning correctly.
Step 8: Check compatibility
Test the plugin with your theme and other plugins to ensure no conflicts. This ensures that your site continues to run smoothly.
Following these steps, you manually update a WordPress plugin using FTP. This method provides you with a direct way to manage the files on your server. It can be advantageous if the regular update process via the WordPress dashboard is unavailable.
7 Best Practices on WordPress Plugin Updates
Updating WordPress plugins is a routine yet vital task for anyone managing a WordPress site. Updating plugins ensures you benefit from the latest features, performance improvements, and security patches.
1. Understand what’s being updated
Before hitting the update button, understand what the Update entails. Is it a minor bug fix, a significant feature addition, or a critical security patch? Knowing this helps you assess the urgency of the Update and how it might impact your site. Take the time to read the changelog or release notes to understand what’s included in the Update.
2. Test updates in a staging environment
Before applying updates to your live site, testing them in a staging environment is wise. A staging site replicates your live site where you can test changes without affecting real users. Doing so lets you identify and address any issues before they affect your live site, minimizing the risk of unexpected problems.
3. Backup your site regularly
Always have a recent backup of your site before updating plugins. If an update causes issues, you can quickly restore your site to its previous state. Various plugins and hosting solutions offer automated backup options, making this process straightforward and providing peace of mind.
4. Update regularly, but not obsessively
While keeping plugins updated is essential, you don’t have to update immediately every time a new version is released (unless it’s a critical security patch). Plan a regular update schedule that fits your needs, allowing you to combine multiple updates and reduce the administrative burden.
5. Consider compatibility
Plugins interact with your theme, WordPress core, and other plugins. Ensure that the Update is compatible with these different elements. Compatibility issues can lead to parts of your site not working as intended, so it’s crucial to confirm that everything works harmoniously.
6. Use trusted sources
Only use plugins from reputable sources, such as the WordPress Plugin Directory or well-known developers. Untrusted sources can contain malicious code or poorly written plugins that might break your site. Sticking with respected sources ensures that the plugins adhere to WordPress standards and best practices.
7. Review and evaluate plugins periodically
Regularly review the plugins installed on your site and assess whether they are still necessary. Only using or updated plugins can slow down your site and pose security risks. Removing unnecessary plugins reduces complexity and enhances both performance and security.
Should you update plugins before updating WordPress?
Yes, it’s generally advisable to update plugins before updating WordPress itself. Updating plugins first ensures that they are compatible with the new version of WordPress, reducing the risk of conflicts and errors. This approach aligns with a smooth transition to the latest WordPress version.
Do plugins need to be updated?
Updating plugins is crucial for your site’s security, performance, and functionality. Updates often include bug fixes, enhancements, and security patches that keep your site running optimally. Regularly updating plugins maintains the integrity and efficiency of your website.
How many plugins are enough plugins?
On average, more than 20 plugins on a single site might slow down the website. However, remember that the number of plugins isn’t as important as their quality and necessity. Focus on using only essential plugins that serve specific functions on your site. Excessive plugins may slow down the site or create conflicts, so carefully select plugins that align with your site’s goals and needs.
What is the difference between a plugin and an extension?
While the terms are often used interchangeably, a plugin generally refers to software that adds specific features to a more extensive program. An extension, on the other hand, tends to modify or enhance existing features. Both aim to extend functionalities, but their application and focus may vary.
How do I know if a plugin is active?
You can check your website’s admin dashboard to know if a plugin is active. Navigate to the ‘Plugins’ section, and you’ll find a list of all installed plugins, clearly marked as ‘Active‘ or ‘Inactive.’ This straightforward method lets you see which plugins are currently in use.
If your plugins work well, in their updated version, your website will remain unhinged and run perfectly. In case of any urgency, the above methods will help you manually update your plugins. Moreover, we shared how you can maintain your plugin updates easily.
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