wordpress multisite - what is the purpose of update network

If you're updating themes and plugins from the network admin, how is "update network" relative and differ to the updating process from simply updating plugins or themes?

Does only the base site update with plugin updates with a 2nd copy of the plugin while somehow the rest of the network retains use of the older versions of the plugins and themes?

Sorry if this seems so simple to everyone - the logic eludes me.

  • signed_up
    • The Crimson Coder


    If I think I know what you are referring to, I believe "update network" updates the plugins/themes/core on the entire multisite network — instead of updating a theme/plugin/core on one of the individual sites on the network.

    Each site is called to fire the upgrade script. The upgrade script will get fired the first time someone logs into the Dashboard of a site, anyway, so nothing to really worry about. It would be more consistent to allow the Update Network call to work, but it isn't necessarily required.

    ~ Tim — Jetpack Lead Team
    Source: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/update-network-what-does-it-do?replies=7

    Tell me how this answer works for you.

  • Decura
    • The Bug Hunter


    I'm really no expert on multisite. So far I'm only running single site installations but I do pick up on a lot from discussions. One of these days I'll probably get around to installing it anyway. It's simply good that we can help each other out with such questions :slight_smile:

  • Tom Eagles
    • Syntax Hero


    Basically that functions there so that the network admin can update network wide, in some cases for example a corporate intranet or where the superadmin has disabled the site updates via a role scoper they can then control what gets updated etc for example as a situation a security flaw was found so the network admin updates all sites in one sweep to patch the problem


  • United
    • Flash Drive

    The difference is that you update all the sites with "update network" rather than just one.

    I think I'm clear: May I paraphrase and you guys tell me if I'm getting this -

    @signed_up in my mind you have stated that the "update network" will update all sites immediately rather than update an individual site to recognise the new new plugin or theme version until it is logged into by the admin.

    Since the superadmin already updated the plugin or theme for a reason it seems that a network update would be in good order so all blogs receive the new functionality regardless if the individual blog admins have logged in or not...

    Am I kinda getting this or no?

  • signed_up
    • The Crimson Coder


    Not sure if I followed what you said.

    In layman's terms, "update network" just updates the core/theme/plugin — whatever you have selected — on all the sites on the multi-site WordPress network. Only the Network Admin/Super Admin can perform this task.

    Tell me if that makes sense.

  • Tom Eagles
    • Syntax Hero


    Ok lemme try and make this easier.

    Use case scenario.

    Network admin notices a patch released say to fix a security flaw in a plugin.

    He then updates the plugin, any new sites would automatically get that update.

    However existing sites wouldnt, so he has two choices

    a) Tell everyone to update say via email etc.
    b) Hit the network update and do it for them.

    Hope this clarifies it a bit more.


  • signed_up
    • The Crimson Coder


    Oh, let me simplify what @Tom Eagles said for you about why someone would need this feature:

    In WordPress, there are different roles with different capabilities (http://codex.wordpress.org/Roles_and_Capabilities#Capability_vs._Role_Table). In Multisite WordPress, there is a Super Admin role. The Super Admin is the admin of the entire network, so it's often called the Network Admin.

    The difference between the Site Admin and Super Admin/Network Admin is that the Super Admin can manage settings across the Multisite Network — instead of having to make changes on each individual site (this is visually shown in the link to WordPress Codex from above paragraph).

    Sometimes, the Network Admin/Super Admin doesn't want the Admin of each website (Site Admin — Manager of Individual Site) to be able to update the WordPress core, plugins, or themes that run on that site. If this is the case, the Network Admin can install a User Role Editing plugin, such as "User Role Editor":

    Using this plugin, they can limit the capabilities of user roles (ex: Admin, Super Admin, Contributor, Editor, etc.), create user roles, and more. The Network Admin might want to keep all the sites on the network on the same level — none ahead of each other on updates and none behind. To do this, he can remove the capability of the admin user role that allows the Site Admin to update core, plugins, and themes. Then, whenever the multisite network's sites are ready for updates, the Network Admin/Super Admin (highest level role) can simply perform a "network update" and all the sites on the network will be updated.

    Tell me if this makes sense.

    UPDATE: Sorry @Tom Eagles for posting this after you posted your simplified version. Didn't see it while typing this up — due to the delay and simultaneous posting.

    @United — If you need any assistance using a user role editor to accomplish what I described above, I'll be happy to help (along with WPMU Dev staff & community members).

  • mabraham1
    • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    I realize this thread is old, but it's the #1 result for "wordpress multisite upgrade network" (and Top 5 for several variations of that search phrase) and based on the codex, the information is inaccurate. This button has nothing to do with updating plugins across the network, and everything to do with upgrading the database after a WP core update.

    Perhaps things have changed since 2013, but this is what the codex says as of Nov 6, 2015:

    Upgrade Network
    This Upgrade Network Screen is used to upgrade all the sites in a Network after a WordPress upgrade is completed. After a WordPress upgrade, you are reminded to visit the Upgrade Networks with a message such as, "Thank you for Updating! Please visit the Upgrade Network page to upgrade all of your sites."

    The Upgrade Networks feature will step through each site, five at a time, and make sure any database changes are applied. This menu item is only visible if you are logged in as a Super Admin role user. You can access it from any site in the network.

    If for any reason a site does not get upgraded, each site should be upgraded when the admin for that site logs in to the administration for that site. Sites that have been deactivated will not be upgraded by this process, however, if a site is reactivated, the site will get upgraded when an admin for that site logs in to the dashboard for that site.

    If a version update to core has not happened, clicking this button won’t affect anything.

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