Managing WordPress plugins



WordPress plugins extend the functionality of your site. They offer new additions that enhance current features add new features. View the following WordPress article for further information on installing and managing Plugins:

The following describes how to manage plugins in order to maximize performance on your WordPress site.

Check the versions of your plugins

Ensuring the plugins are compatible with the WordPress version

It's extremely important to make sure your plugins are compatible with the version of WordPress you're using. This is something you can verify at WordPress' Plugin Directory.

Locating your WordPress version

You can find the version of WordPress you're using in your WordPress panel. Click 'Dashboard' on the top left.

How to manage plugins

Installing a new plugin

Some new plugins may not appear on the Add Plugins page within your WordPress dashboard. In those cases, you can instead download and install it manually to your WordPress site. See the following article for more information:

  1. Log into your WordPress site.
  2. In the left menu, navigate to Plugins > Add New.
  3. Search for the name of the plugin. This example installs 'UpdraftPlus'. Once found, click the Install Now button.
  4. Back on the 'Plugins' page, make sure to click 'Activate' under the plugin.

Updating plugins

You should also confirm that the plugins are using the most recent version. Updating your plugins can help with security issues as well as performance improvements. You can see in your WordPress panel if a plugin has an update available.

Click 'Plugins' in the left pane. You can then view all of your plugins and which ones have updates available.

As stated above, make sure the new version of the plugin is compatible with the current version of WordPress you're using. You can usually find this information on the plugin's web page.

Confirming if a plugin is compatible with your WordPress version

If an update is available, you should then check its plugin page. For example, you can visit the following page for the 'Akismet' plugin, which shows you the version number:

Making a bulk update

You can also click the dropdown at the top of the list. Select ‘Update’ from the Bulk Actions dropdown, and then click 'Apply' to update all plugins in that list. However, it's recommended to confirm the newer versions are compatible with your version of WordPress first.

How to disable a plugin

If you are experiencing site slowness, and you want to see if it's resource-usage related (and not something on DreamHost's end), simply disable all your plugins and switch to the default theme.

If your WordPress installation is suddenly running faster, then it’s recommended to go through your plugins and enable them one-by-one, to see if any of them is using more resources than the others. The following two-step process describes how to do that.

Step one: disabling a plugin

The fastest way to disable plugins is by renaming the folder on the server.

  1. Log into your server via FTP or SSH. (This example uses Filezilla).
  2. Make sure you're in your WordPress site's directory.
  3. Navigate into the /wp-content directory. Here you can see the /plugins directory.
    Filezilla rename plugin directory
  4. Rename the /plugins directory to /plugins_OFF. This immediately disables all plugins.
    Plugins OFF.png
  5. Test your site again to see if this helped solve your issue.

Step two: renaming the plugin

If you find your site suddenly improves, you know one of your plugins was causing the issue.

  1. Rename the /plugins_OFF directory back to /plugins.
  2. Click into the /plugins folder to view all of your plugins.
    Rename plugins.png
  3. Rename them one at a time to disable them. As you rename them one at a time, load your site to see if that plugin was the one causing the issue.
  4. Once you find out which plugin is the culprit, contact the developer directly. All hosted plugins and themes have a support forum.

How to manage maintenance mode

When you update your plugins, themes, or core WordPress files, your WordPress site displays the following message:

Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.

WordPress automatically removes that message once the updates complete. However, in some cases, conflicts or errors leave the message active on the site, even after the updates are completed.

Removing the WordPress 'scheduled maintenance' message

If the 'scheduled maintenance' message remains active on your site, use the following instructions to remove it:

  1. View the following article for instructions on how to log into your web server. You can use the file manager in the panel, or a third-party client to log in:
  2. Once logged in, navigate to your website directory where your files are located.
  3. In this directory, look for a file named .maintenance and delete it.
  4. Once you delete the file, make sure to clear any caches on your site and then refresh your browser. The message should no longer appear on your site.

Jetpack plugin

The Jetpack plugin is a bit special. You might try disabling individual modules in the plugin to improve performance.

Stats plugin

While having a plugin that handles your stats (and displays them in your admin interface) is nice, they can actually inflate the database almost as quickly as unchecked spam. This means you should be cautious of using them and pay special attention to your database if you do so. Optimally, you'd use something that doesn't depend on your server environment like Google Analytics.

What if a plugin update fails?

If you notice your plugin failed to update, contact support for further assistance.

See also

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Article last updated PST.

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