6 WordPress Plugin Maintenance Tips You Can’t Ignore


You know the story. 

You set up a WordPress site a few months or even years ago with a crystal clear vision of how you wanted your site to look and what you wanted it to do. You found the right theme and started extending the functionality of your site with a few plugins.

Over time, you wanted to add new functionality. You wanted to keep up with other sites in your niche or leverage social media activity and signals, so you added a few more plugins.

We’ve all done it. 

But, one day you take a look at your “Installed Plugins” panel and you’re shocked at the list.

Having too many plugins or outdated versions can drastically affect your site’s performance and security.

Today, we want to share our top tips for proper maintenance of your WordPress plugins.

1. Keep WordPress up to date

This one may seem obvious, but it aways surprises us how many support issues we solve where customers are running an outdated version of WordPress. With the one-click update built right into the WordPress dashboard, there’s no excuse for not staying up to date with the latest version.

2. Review your plugins to determine if they’re still necessary

As time goes on, some of the needs for which we originally installed certain plugins may change. Additionally, the issues that some plugins solve become part of the core WordPress package. From time to time, go through your plugins list to determine whether or not you still need all of them. If you installed the latest and greatest Pinterest plugin to keep up with the craze several months ago, only to discover that your content has been pinned three times, it might be time to reassess.

3. Ensure they’re still supported

Many WordPress developers come and go. They may write a plugin to solve their own development needs, place it in the public WordPress repository, and then they move on. Updates aren’t pushed out to keep up with the latest version of WordPress and things may break. If you installed a plugin two years ago and you’ve never seen an update in your “Installed Plugins” panel, it’s a good idea to check the developer’s website to see if they’re still supporting the plugin.

4. Deactivate and delete unused plugins

If you find that a plugin is no longer needed or an out of date plugin is no longer supported, deactivate and delete the plugin. While this maintenance task has been widely debated in terms of precisely how it affects performance, it will remove a lot of unnecessary files from your WordPress installation and that can’t hurt matters.

5. Update plugins

Again, in most cases, updating a plugin is as simple as logging into WordPress, checking for plugin updates, and clicking. Keeping your plugins up to date is essential to ensuring that your site functions well and it can also help you avoid security vulnerability.

6. Backup your site

Before going through the process of updating your version of WordPress or your active plugins, we always recommend running a backup of your site. We use Backup Bliss to backup our site files and databases. It’s also a fantastic tool for moving sites. And if you’re not running regular backups of your site and database, please, please, please get started now! While your hosting company may claim that your data is being backed up at certain intervals, you should be taking control of the process so that you can get back up and running as quickly as possible should issues come up.

What are your recommended plugin maintenance tips? Let us know in the comments section of this blog post!


  1. Karen McMillan on June 12, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Always appreciate the tips guys. Helps to keep things simple and working. 🙂

  2. Sallie Goetsch on August 8, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    I think you need to reorder this list. You want to back up your site before you start updating and deleting. And again afterwards. And at every point pretty much in between. Though I love BackupBuddy, one reason I run Updraft Plus on many sites is that it automatically backs up before updates.

    • Ben Arellano on August 30, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Hi Sallie,
      Yes, you are correct, we do recommend backing up a site before any changes are made. I don’t believe the numbers of the tips were meant to be followed in serial, they were simply 6 tips, not listed in any particular order.

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