No one can tell a premium theme or plugin is 100% good and never needs updates. Even the strictest QA procedure can't guarantee a theme has no bugs. It depends a lot on the customers' infrastructures (PHP version, hosting configuration, server software), WordPress version they're using and the plugins installed on their sites. There might be some compatibility problems. Or conflicts with plugins. Or some special pages created by plugins are not styled well. So, the author of those themes and plugins need to make updates to make sure they work as expected. Another thing is updates is required to add more features to themes or plugins.
It's very easy to update a free theme or plugin installed from WordPress.org repository. WordPress already has that feature built-in. You can just go to Dashboard → Updates to see all available updates. And then choose the themes or plugins you want to update and just click the Update button.
But that's not as easy as for premium themes or plugins. This post will help you to update premium WordPress themes or plugins. We'll look at 2 methods to do that: a hard way and an easy way.
Before going into the details of updating a theme or a plugin, we should know how to get the
.zip file of the updated version.
Download the updated
.zip file of the theme or plugin
If you buy from a premium WordPress theme shop like GretaThemes, the files are probably sent to your email. You can just click on the link in the email to download it. Or you can log in to your account on the website and download it. It depends on how the website setup. Here at GretaThemes, we send download link to the email.
If you buy it from CodeCanyon or ThemeForest, you need to the Downloads page, then click the Download button next to the item. There are 2 situations happen:
If the author provides install-able WordPress file only, just select it. That's the file we need:
If the author doesn't provide the installable WordPress file only, you need to download All files and documentation. Then extract it to get the
.zip file of the theme or plugin.
After getting the updated theme or plugin, let's see how to update them.
The Hard Way: Update via FTP
Using FTP is the most popular way to update premium themes or plugins. But it requires some technical skills. It's not too hard. But for beginners, it still sounds too technical.
You don't need to understand what FTP is, or how it works. All you need to do is:
Download a FTP software and install it on your computer
Upload files to your server via FTP
After installing FileZilla, open it. Then enter the FTP info to the toolbar to connect to your host:
The FTP info is sent to you when you buy a hosting. If you don't have any hosting, you can get a cheap yet good hosting from SiteGround. If you don't have such info, please contact to your hosting provider and ask them.
After connecting, navigate to your WordPress website folder on the right pane. Most of the hosting sets up in a
/var/www folder. So just try them. Then go to your theme or plugin folder. It's under
wp-content/plugins. If you have troubles finding the theme or plugin folder, you need help from your hosting provider. Just ask them how did they setup your account and where should I look for my folders.
Now on your computer, you need to extract the downloaded
.zip file. And on the left pane, navigate to the extracted folder. Then select all files and drag them to the right pane to upload. If FileZilla asks what to do when file exists, simply select Overwriting the destination files.
Now your theme or plugin is updated.
As you can see, this requires some technical stuff like FTP software, login, etc. This might be not ideal for average WordPress users. So, let's take a look at a simpler and easier way to update themes and plugins.
The Easy Way: Update In The WordPress Dashboard
It would be much easier if we can update a theme or plugin just like installing them: select the
.zip file and upload. WordPress users, even beginners can do that easily. They don't need any technical knowledge or install an additional software to do the job. That's what a plugin called Easy Theme and Plugin Upgrades does.
Firstly, you need to install the plugin. Go to Plugins → Add New and search for "easy theme and plugin upgrades". When the results appear, click on the Install Now button, then Activate it.
After that, you can simply update themes or plugins just by uploading them. Go to Appearance → Themes and click Add New button, then click Upload Theme. Then browse for the
.zip file that you already downloaded. Then click Install Now button.
Now your theme is updated. The process is similar for updating a plugin. Go to Plugins → Add New → Upload Plugin, browse for the
.zip file and upload it.
As you can see, using the plugin Easy Theme and Plugin Upgrades helps you update themes and plugins much easier. Everything is just some clicks inside WordPress. And the great thing is the plugin is 100% free, no ads nor notifications. It's just like a missing feature from WordPress core.