What Does the Blurb on Top of Plugins Link Mean?

August 16th, 2008
WordPress Tips

If  you are using WordPress 2.6 and above you may have noticed a blurb above the plugins link with a number, many users are confused about this and have asked me about it, here is a simple explanation to all WordPress users who are confused about the blurb.

The blurb on top of the plugins link indicates the number of plugins for which updates are available, making it easier for users to track updates without having to frequently visit the plugins page. You may not notice the blurb if the plugins you use are up-to-date.

Hope this answers your question about the Blurb you have always been wondering about.




  1. Sid Savara (9 comments.) says:

    The only thing that irritates me about that blurb is that it shows updates that are available for inactive plugins too. Some plugins I’ve deactivated because I haven’t yet gotten around to setting them up and/or I’m just experimenting with different ideas, and as long as they are inactive I’d prefer it didn’t keep telling me to update – so of course I update them just so that little red number goes away.

  2. James D Kirk (6 comments.) says:

    Sid’s comment is a great predecessor to the thought I had after reading this post. (And a great post by the way for newer WP administrators/users that might not know right away what that BIG RED color is all about. Is there a way to disable this “feature”? Likely an admin plugin available anywhere (loathe hacking core, of course!)

    How can we remove this notification feature?

  3. Fish (4 comments.) says:

    Yep, it needs a feature to “ignore this update”.

    I use an old plugin called “wpuntexturize” to turn off the crappy curly quotes etc; Manage Plugins keeps telling me there’s an update to it, when in fact the “update” is a completely different plugin called “random-link”…

  4. Adam S (1 comments.) says:

    @#3: Same here. I use a plugin called “Blogroll Page” and apparently, there is another plugin by the same name. It wants to update from 0.1 to 2.0, and it’s not the same plugin, but I can’t dismiss the freakin’ warning.

  5. James (5 comments.) says:

    I wish it wouldn’t show updates for inactive plugins. I have all my active plugins upgraded but I still have to look at that stupid bubble because 20 plugins have upgrades that I’m not currently using.

    • Otto (215 comments.) says:

      If a plugin has a security update, then you absolutely should be notified about it, even if it is inactive.

      Just because a pluign is inactive does not mean that you can’t be hacked through it. If a plugin has a security flaw in it, then it doesn’t make any difference whether it is active or not.

      If you don’t use a plugin, and don’t want to see updates for it, then delete it from the site. Don’t leave it lying around un-updated.

  6. wangyh (4 comments.) says:

    Are you using IE…?

  7. James (5 comments.) says:

    Me? I’m using FF 3.0.1

  8. Patrix (6 comments.) says:

    I agree with most here; we need a way to switch off or ignore the updates for some plugins. There is a particular plugin whose more recent updates have changed its basic functionality and I want to stick with the one I have. I hope I don’t update it by mistake and lose the one I have.

  9. Cynthia Armistead (3 comments.) says:

    Months ago, I contacted the WP folks about the problems with some plugins showing an update that’s actually a completely different plugin. I never received a response.

    I finally edited the file for one old plugin I use, updating the version number so that the update notice went away.

  10. Walter Vos (3 comments.) says:

    Sounds to me like this stuff is a problem on the WordPress.ORG side of things mainly.

  11. Rod says:

    Amazing, whine, whine whine….

  12. Ike (13 comments.) says:

    This is the annoying part for me:

    I keep getting notices that “ widget, Google Search widget, WP-Cron” are all available for upgrade. But when I do download the latest, it still flashes the message to me.

  13. Stephen R (24 comments.) says:

    If you want to turn it off for a particular plugin, edit the file and change the Version string to 1000 or something. You’ll never get a notice again. (Unless it gets a whole LOT of updates!)

    • countzeero (6 comments.) says:

      That is pretty stupid advice- considering the fact that most Plugin Updates are either security related or fix issues that can break your wp installation. I know everyone is entitled to an opinion, but that is really irresponsible- why not just advise everyone to ignore windows update warnings as well and open the door even wider for hackers, phishers and the likes…

  14. Aaron says:

    And we REALLY needed a full blog post to explain this? C’mon. A little reasonable deduction would have concluded this.

    • countzeero (6 comments.) says:

      I agree with you there Aaron especially seeing as the little red “Blurb” also shows up at “comments” in the Dashboard – Red is universally recognised as “Warning-Action Required!!”

  15. Cynthia Armistead (3 comments.) says:

    It was fairly clear to me what the blurb meant, especially since it’s just like the one showing the number of comments awaiting approval. I happen to like it, now that I’ve resolved that little problem with the improperly identified updates.

  16. Monika (40 comments.) says:

    most of the time I don’t know is there a new language in this plugin or a security update?

    some plugins have three or four updates every week – I can’t and hate the automatic update, because I would like to know *what happens*.

    So I ignore this *plurb* and do this once a month.


  17. countzeero (6 comments.) says:

    Added a couple of replies to posts here. I feel that weblogtools should take a little more responsibility for some of the opinions posted – see the “tip” about setting version info to 1000 and so forth. If you feel the need to dedicate a post to a subject such as this then at least take the time to consider the implications such “Advice” can and will have. Not a flame but all the same, don´t spoil the good work that you do here by allowing such stupidity a voice.

    • Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

      If you feel the need to dedicate a post to a subject such as this then at least take the time to consider the implications such “Advice” can and will have. Not a flame but all the same, don´t spoil the good work that you do here by allowing such stupidity a voice.

      That person is voicing an opinion in that comment which does not appear to be malicious. If we were to censor comments which we do not agree with or which question or criticize our work, I would be removing your comment as well. But we hope that the conversations will happen and we believe that our readers and our bloggers will take it upon themselves (such as you have done so well) to point out the shortcomings in the post or the comments, help out fellow readers and help improve the community.

      It is important to remember that every user of WordPress is not a techie and every reader of this blog (or for that matter, any blog) might not have the same set of technology lenses as you. Be kind and educate.

      • countzeero (2 comments.) says:

        thanks for the reply Mark, I did not intend to sound overly harsh but I do feel that it is your responsibility to moderate such comments. WeblogTools is a direct feed from the WP Dashboard and will be considered by the NON Techie users as a “WP-Approved” source of information and help, and as such WeblogTools should not “believe” that their readers will “correct” such mis-information on their behalf. I would bet a dollar that the reason (at least as far as my knowledge stretches) that there are NO Plugins that switch this “feature” off available at would be because the wordpress codex practically forbids the writing of a plugin that WILL compromise security.Wordpress built this feature (it is a Feature and NOT a BUG even if it does BUG people) in for a reason. Exactly such features are what makes WP so appealing and useful to non technically minded bloggers. These types of features only make wordpress stronger and the type of (dangerous) advice from an obviously tech-minded-user (or at least “techy” enough to edit the version string in a plugin file) should imho not only be addressed by you in the comments, but should also lead you to consider editing the original post to make the IMPORTANCE of the “little red blurb” for the Integrity of WordPress Installations clear, so that the “many users (who)are confused about this and have asked me about it” would get an informed and sensible answer. Like i said I don´t want to enter a long drawn out discussion but I cant help but feeling a little disappointed with the flippant approach to such an important subject… just a little addition, in my dashboard right now are other feeds to wordpress news – one such post is titled “SECURE CODING With WordPress” – shouldn´t that make you sit back and think about the tone of the original post and the “Editors” responsibility in the Semantic World of WordPress.

        • Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

          See http://weblogtoolscollection.c.....nt-1235205 about the plugin on extend that removes the particular functionality in question.

          That comment is not an immediate security risk. If it were that, it would be considered a malicious comment which would be treated completely differently. If a user finds the blurbs annoying or confusing, the ability to turn them off is completely up to the user. That action might pose a security risk if there is a major vulnerability discovered within a plugin for which a user does not receive an update notification. However, since there are many plugins that people do not update or do not have activated which require updates, the blurb stay at the top and it does not serve as the reminder it was intended to be.

          I assure you that our approach is not flippant and we do take our presence very seriously.

  18. countzeero (6 comments.) says:

    Thanks again Mark, I did a search after writing my reply and found the plugin @ extend (I should´ve read the other posts thoroughly i know…) all the same the Plug-in Author writes: It’s important that you keep your WordPress plugins up to date. If you don’t, your blog or website could be susceptible to security vulnerabilities or performance issues. If you use this plugin, you must make sure you keep yourself up to date with new releases of your active plugins and update them as new versions are released. which is exactly my point… Removing this feature is not recommended for inexperienced users…

  19. Michael Hampton (14 comments.) says:

    The WordPress plugin update service appears to match plugins by Plugin URI. And some plugin authors foolishly used the same URI for multiple plugins, some of which they might not be updating anymore. Thus the weird mismatches. And in some cases, plugins for which there are updates, but you’re never notified, because the URI has changed, someone new is maintaining it, etc. So the service isn’t perfect, but plugin authors share some of the blame for this problem.

    • Otto (215 comments.) says:

      It matches by several different things (there was a discussion on wp-hackers about this), but yes, the URI is an important one. The whole service very heavily relies on plugin authors using sane values in their plugin fields. Giving every plugin a unique URI will go a long way to getting updates to work properly all the time.


  1. […] lie. I guess this post was initiated by 3 little words I heard over at WeblogTools firstly in a comment thread and then the day after in a post by Mark […]

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