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How to Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP

How to Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP

An error you may face during the hosting journey is: The one-click WordPress plugin has a failure to update. There is the need to fix the error which can mess up your website. Manually updating the plugin is the only way to get the error fixed. Though different ways are available for you to choose from, we will show the best one. That is to manually upgrade a WordPress plugin via FTP.

Why Use FTP Manually Update a WordPress Plugin

WordPress has a built-in system to update a theme, a plugin, and the core. With a click on the update link, you will complete the plugin update. Under the Plugins section, you will learn the status of your installed plugins on your WordPress site. When new version is released, a notification will remind you to update the plugin.

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin from Dashboard

But chances are that these updates cannot work as usual. The potential factors might be incorrect version number, incorrect file permissions, or more. This failure can result in a broken WordPress site.

FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, is accessible from most WordPress web hosts. With the use of FTP, you can delete the file which causes the error and then get your WordPress site back to normal.

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP

How to use FTP for the manual plugin updates is answered in the following.

The first thing is to download the latest version from either WordPress.org or special plugin’s website. The plugin should be the one you want to get it updated.

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP - Download Free Plugin

What you have downloaded will be a .zip file. Thus there is the need to extract it.

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP - Unzip Plugin

Here a FTP client, for example, FileZilla, is required for the next procedures. The FTP client you use is according to your choice.

Before using FTP to connect to your WordPress site, you will be asked for username, password, and website name. The unknown FTP user name and password can be found in the email your WordPress hosting provider sent to you from the beginning. Or, you can learn the information from your cPanel account.

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP - Connect FTP

Having connected to your website, /wp-content/plugins/ folder is the place where you should go. Each plugin installed on your WordPress site will come with a unique folder. Here you need to rename the plugin you are trying to update.

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP - Rename Folder

-old should be added to the folder name. wpforms-old is a typical example, which clearly shows how to rename the plugin folder.

Then you have the need to create a backup of the renamed folder. That is, download the folder to your local computer. This provides you the way to roll back to the old version if needed.

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP - Backup a Plugin

The next thing is to remove the old plugin from your WordPress site. It can be down with a click on the Delete, just as what the below screenshot shows.

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP - Delete Old Version

A notification ‘The plugin has been deactivated due to an error: …’ will show up at the top of the Plugins page.

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP - Deactivated Plugin

Now, it is time to install the most recent version in WordPress.

Having switched to your FTP client, you need to select the new plugin folder location on your computer under the ‘Local’ section. And then you should click on ‘Upload’ from your FTP account. After that, the new folder can be transferred from your computer to your WordPress site.

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP - Update New Plugin

On the result of Plugins page, you need to have the plugin activated. At this moment, you have finished the whole procedures to manually update a WordPress plugin. Congratulations!

Manually Update a WordPress Plugin via FTP - Activate New Plugin

Wrap Up

The latest version of WordPress is necessary for a higher level of WordPress security. It is also possible for you to rollback the plugin whose new version cannot work. And there are some instances when you should find an alternative to the plugin whose developers stop to update.


Zoe is a freelance writer who has a deep knowledge about WordPress. She loves everything related to website building and loves to share her experience with people all over all the world. In the daily life, Zoe loves detective novels as it can train her logical thinking and creativity.