Automatic Plugin Updates with Smart Plugin Manager (SPM)

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Lesson 7 of 10
3m read.
SPM"s latest updates status for a site
Single site Latest Update Status

WP Engine offers the Smart Plugin Manager. This add-on can update plugins and themes on your site. However, this plugin can only be activated on only one environment per site. This means that if you have installed the Smart Plugin Manager on Production. You can neither have it on staging nor development. If it is on staging, then neither production nor development can have it.


A site in WP Engine is a group of related environments. That is, production, staging and development.

Having the SPM installed and activated on production is not always recommended. Some automatic plugin updates and theme updates may break your site.

If you have a simple essential website that only displays information about your business. You can have this plugin installed and activated on production.

Suppose you have a woo-commerce site or a website that constantly changes its data, such as new orders or customers. We recommend having this plugin active in the staging environment. This allows site updates to be rolled out and tested via staging before rolling them out to production.

Smart Plugin Manager scans the website after each update to determine if the site is broken or has not run into any issues. If any errors have been flagged, the SPM rolls the site back to its previous state (before the update).

To use the Smart Plugin Manager, follow the steps described below.

1. Activate the Smart Plugin Manager

  • Log into your WP-Admin User Portal
  • Go to the Tools menu via the left-hand sidebar
  • Select the Smart Plugin Manager via the submenu.
WP Engine Smart Plugin Manager
How to access the Smart Plugin Manger
  • Click the ‘Add Environment
Adding the SPM to site environments
Click “Add Environments”
  • Select the environment you would like to add the plugin
  • Click ‘Add to SPM
Install SPM to a selected environments
Click “Add To SPM”
  • The plugin will be automatically installed on the selected environment(s).

2. General Plugin Status

The Smart Plugin Manager reports on the status of plugin updates for all sites on the site’s page.

SPM Status across websites
Smart Plugin status column

The following statuses are shown, and here is their associated meaning.

  • Green check – Plugins are up to date
  • Red x – Plugins not updated
  • Orange exclamation point – There was an issue updating the plugin.
  • Black clock icon – Next run soon
  • Purple plus sign – Activate an SPM license on this environment

3. Single Site Smart Plugin Manager Status

Follow the steps below to see a detailed report on the Smart Plugin Manager status for an individual plugin.

  • Log into the WP User Portal.
  • Go to the Tools menu via the right-hand sidebar of the screen.
  • Click “Smart Plugin Manager”
WP Engine Smart Plugin Manager
How to access the Smart Plugin Single site status
  • Click the more options icon on the right, as shown below.
  • Select Open latest update to see the most recent process details.
Accessing SPM Latest update for single site
Select “Open Latest Update”
  • A status page will show all the information about successful and failed site updates.
SPM"s latest updates status for a site
Single site Latest Update Status
  • You can click on any section to expand it for more information.

It would also help if you looked into SPM settings to make the following further configurations to the plugin. For example, you could make adjustments to the schedule of the plugin, notification email, auto rollback settings, etc.

Smart Plugin Manger Edit settings button
Click “Edit Settings” to make configurations.


Here are links to resources on automatic updates by WP Engine’s Smart Plugin Manager.