Fix Wordpress Plugins & Themes Not Showing Update Availability

How To Fix A WordPress Site That Won’t Update WordPress, Themes, and Plugins

How I Fixed WordPress Not Showing the Latest Versions of WP, Plugins, and My Theme

Have you ever experienced WordPress, plugins, and themes all not showing updates for the latest version?  If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a version update notice in your dashboard for all of the above, you might want to take a peak under the hood to make sure your site is not broken.

I logged into a clients website to swap out Contact Form 7 with my new toy, Forminator.  After installing the plugin, I went directly to the Forminator menu and attempted to import a lead form.  Instead of the page loading like normal, I got the white screen of death.  My brain began processing my list of possibilities:

Possible Problems When A Plugin Doesn’t Work

  1. Conflicting Plugin
  2. Plugin Version
  3. Theme Incompatibility.
  4. WordPress version.

The Steps I Took To Fix My WordPress Updater Issue

I start by deactivating Contact Form 7.  When that didn’t work, I checked to see if there were any plugins that needed updating in case an obsolete plugin was the source of the problem.  All plugins were up-to-date.  This raised my eyebrows a bit because it’s rare and highly unlikely that the client updated the plugin on his own.  But for the moment, I presume that to be the case, while I complete my other checks.

Next, I went to the Themes menu to check for an update.  No update alerts were present.  I had just updated my Phlox theme on another site, and the version number was different enough that I was able to spot the discrepancy almost immediately.  At this point, I’m starting to grow suspicious, but I knew that theme had some changes with the naming, so I held off investigating that further; until I completed my final checklist item.

Finally, I went to the WordPress dashboard menu where I checked for an update.  There were none.  Okay, now I KNEW something was not right.  The chances of WordPress, numerous plugins, and the theme all being up-to-date, after nearly a year, by a client who just hired me to swap out a contact form plugin wasn’t adding up.  The known theme version discrepancy was all I had to go on, so I did what we all do when we have a problem with a themes and plugins that don’t work, I deactivated everything, with the plan of reactivating everything one by one.

Watch the video to find out how that worked out for me…

After The Fact:  Looking Back On My WordPress Problem

The problem I experienced was especially problematic in that there was no way to detect it early on.  When something breaks, usually something something visibly stops working to let you know about it.  However, in this case, none of the existing plugins stopped working, so I did not detect the problem until I went to add a new plugin to the site that did not work as a result of the break down.

Who knows how long the site had been out of wack before that and what damage could have been done had I not discovered and fixed the problem when I did.  We all know how out of date themes and plugins can cause havoc in the area of security, but we rarely think about it from the point of breakdowns; which as I learned, may not be visible on the surface.

Conclusion:  Keep WordPress, WP Plugins, & WP Themes Updated

Now, I’m going to take the time to tell you the obvious.  The best way to prevent WordPress disasters of this nature from happening is to keep WordPress, plugins, and themes updated to the latest version.   Then all you’ll have to worry about are the problems that happen as a result of an update.  Wait…what!

Yes, your site can break by doing exactly what I just told you to do.  But it’s necessary to avoid security and more serious breakdowns that will be much harder to fix.  It is possible to setup your site to have automatic updates, but I prefer to do it manually, so that I am aware of any problems that emerge as a result of an update.

And when it does…

To be continued when it actually happens; giving me a problem to solve and a solution to share with you!

Thanks for checking in.

Michelle L. Brown-Green

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