How to Update a Plugin in WordPress

Plugin updates frequently occur for a number of reasons. New features, security patches, and general improvements are all reasons for updating. This is why keeping plugins up-to-date is important when utilizing a WordPress site.

Updating a Plugin Via WordPress

Most of the time this will be sufficient for updating a plugin, however if issues occur restore the backup and progress via FTP/File Manager.

Step One: Backup WordPress

First things first, let’s take a backup of the WordPress site in case of a critical error. Utilize either a backup plugin or pull a backup via the Cpanel. We cover how to create WordPress backups here.

Step Two: Login to WordPress

Now that there is a backup of the site before pushing the update, login to the backend of WordPress.

Step Three: Navigate to Plugins

Next, on the left-hand side select Plugins > Installed Plugins to bring up the plugin dashboard. Plugins that require an update will have an orange message underneath the description.

Step Four: Update the Plugin

Go ahead and select Update Now to begin the update process. Once the update is complete, the plugin will contain a green message confirming the update is complete.

Updating a Plugin Via File Manager/FTP

If plugin update issues have previously occurred, updating via FTP or the File Manager can be a workaround. This will be the same method that is automated above however will take away the probability of issues with the automated systems.

Step One: Pull a Site Backup

Again, pull a backup before trying to update the plugin as critical errors can be difficult to fix.

Step Two: Connect/Login to FTP/File Manager

Once the backup is complete, either login to the file manager via Cpanel or login via FTP.

Step Three: Navigate to Plugins

Once in the file manager navigate to the plugin folder most typically found under the wp-content folder in public_html. This plugin folder will be the folder with which we upload the updated plugin zip file later on.

Step Four: Download Updated Plugin File

Open a new tab and go to the plugin’s WordPress page. Download the latest version of the plugin as a .zip file.

Step Five: Upload Updated Plugin File

Navigate back to the FTP/File Manager and Select Upload. Select the plugin’s .zip file and begin the upload process.

Step Six: Extract Plugin File

Now select the .zip file and select Extract. Once the process starts the default updating screen will show and when the process is complete the screen will go away.


Updating plugins can sometimes create issues with a WordPress site. Always take a backup beforehand that way if issues occur they can be reverted. As a general rule, always update plugins first before themes and core updates to cut down on the possibility of errors.

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