Updating plugins, themes and WordPress

Today I’m going to show you how to update your plugins, themes and WordPress.

It’s SO important to keep your plugins, themes and WordPress up to date because older versions can be vulnerable to attacks. You’ll also find that if you skip too many updates, it will be much more difficult to catch up without breaking something. Plus, new versions will often have new features that you may want to take advantage of!

First things first — make sure you have a current backup! If you’re not sure how to do that, check out my post and video on how to do so.

Now that you have a current backup, look under Dashboard, Updates. Here you’ll see any updates available for the plugins and themes you have installed as well as WordPress.


First let’s start with plugin updates. You can find these under Dashboard, Updates or you can go to Plugins on the left side of your admin menu. There you’ll see an orange notification of how many plugins need updating.

On the plugin menu, any plugin requiring an update will be shown with a notification bar that includes the new version number and a link to “update now.” Go ahead and click that link. You’ll see “updating” for a bit, then “updated.”

If you have multiple plugins to update, don’t do these all at once in case something breaks. Update one plugin at a time.

After you update, take a look at where that plugin is used on your site and make sure it still works as expected.


You can update your themes through Dashboard, Updates, but I like to go to Appearance, Themes.

If you have a ton of themes installed, I encourage you to remove the unused themes. There’s no need to have those around.

You may be using a child and a parent theme (and if you’re not sure what that is, check out the skinny on WordPress themes). If the parent theme needs an update, you should be good to click Update Now.

If you’re not using a child theme, be careful when updating your theme. If you’ve made customizations, they may be overwritten.

Once you update, take a look at your site and make sure everything still works as expected. (If you have a caching plugin, you may also want to clear your cache, too.)


Depending on your host and hosting package, you may not have to update WordPress when there is a new version — it may be done for you. Check with your host and inquire about your hosting package to be sure.

Many hosts deferred automatic updates on the most recent version of WordPress (5.0) because of the large scope of the release and the holiday season. 

So, if you want or need to update WordPress, go to Dashboard, Updates and click Update Now.

It will go through a few steps — enabling maintenance mode, unpacking the update, verifying the update, installing the update, etc. After it’s complete, you’ll see the welcome screen.

Like with plugins and themes, take a look through your site to make sure everything works as expected.

Hey, a video!

If you’d rather watch the video where I explain the above, you can do so here. Good luck with your updates!

Rather not update yourself? Check out my care plans.