How to safely update WordPress plugins in bulk using this new feature

Published by Vic Drover

Safely Update Wordpress Plugins

There is only one way to safely update plugins on your WordPress site: make sure that you have a recent backup handy before you start! Today we released a new update fresh feature for the bulk updater.

Update fresh will cut maintenance time significantly while giving you the confidence to process plugin updates across many sites at once.

What is the bulk updater?

The bulk updater is a popular site maintenance tool at Watchful that lists all available plugin updates across all of the websites you manage. This list of updates also contains tools for updating the plugins either individually or in bulk.

Updates listed in the bulk updater can also be filtered by site or by plugin name. This makes it a popular tool to use when performing updates across many sites at once.

As shown in this preview, we’ve filtered the list of updates to Yoast SEO and five websites need updates.

Fresh Updates Pending
Pending updates for Yoast SEO on five websites.

Yellow means proceed with caution

About two years ago we launched a new feature called stale backup detection. It was designed to notify Watchful users when one of their websites had an outdated backup.

Importantly, you can select the age at which a backup becomes stale on a per-site basis.

In the bulk updater, we used the backup status to color-code both the update all and individual update buttons. As shown above, a yellow-colored update` button indicates that the backup is stale for the site on which the update will be applied.

A yellow-colored update all button means that at least one site has a stale backup.

Safely update WordPress plugins

To safely update WordPress plugins in the bulk updater, we have added an update fresh button. When this button is clicked, updates will only be applied if the site they are installed on has a fresh backup.

This also applies if the updates list has been filtered. Continuing the example above, if the list is filtered for Yoast SEO, only those updates will be applied (again, if a fresh back is present). This is indicated below by the green completed buttons.

Note that the yellow update buttons remain. These updates were not applied as the backups on those sites are stale.

Fresh Updates Complete

Completed updates for Yoast SEO on three websites with fresh backups.

Use Watchful to update your sites

Watchful is a free website dashboard for digital agencies. Open your free account today and learn how much time you’ll save managing your WordPress backups, updates, and security with Watchful.

No credit card is required and there is no long-term commitment.

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