I manage a lot of WordPress websites and want to create a system that allows me to check how many plugins on a given site need updating.

So basically what I need is a custom function that returns the number of plugins that are out of date and need updating. I have searched the developer documentation but cannot find a specific function that does this.

Thanks in advance!

2 Answers 2


I don't know what your "system" as a whole is intended to look like but the function you want is wp_update_plugins() in wp-includes/update.php.

  • Thanks for the answer. I had found this function before but am unsure how to use it; where exactly does it need to be used? When I run it in a theme for testing purposes, it doesn't output anything. Also, if I assign it to a variable and var_dump that variable, I get an output of NULL
    – badcoder
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 23:20
  • I will edit with some code.
    – s_ha_dum
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 19:23

I would highly recommend using WP-CLI for this. It has many handy commands including plugin related. Hope this helps!

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