Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Reactivate All Plugins feature in WordPress 2.5

Once upon a time, I whipped up a Reactivate All Plugins feature for WordPress, to compliment the Deactivate All Plugins action (which is recommended before an upgrade). Unfortunately, the patch didn’t make it into the WordPress 2.2 release. And I forgot to nudge anybody about it for the 2.3 release until it was too late. But, the plugin reactivation patch is slated for inclusion in the 2.5 release, due in March (BTW, you did know that version 2.4 is being skipped, right?).

That said, you might notice that I added a note on the feature request ticket. There has always been some disagreement about the semantics of calling it “Reactivate All Plugins”, because you aren’t reactivating “all” plugins, just the ones that you deactivated previously with the “Deactivate All Plugins” button. I pointed out that it might be better to use a term more like the Windows “Safe Mode” terminology. This feature serves a similar purpose, after all. Maybe “Safe Mode” and “Enhanced Mode”? It might also be good if we added a note on the admin screens along the lines of, “This site is currently in Safe Mode. To reactivate your previous set of plugins, visit the Plugins page and click the Enhanced Mode button.”

Does anyone have other suggestions on better wording for the buttons? It needs to be something short (since it’s on a button), clearly understood, and a concept that is easily translated to other languages. How would you rename the “Deactivate All Plugins” and “Reactivate All Plugins” buttons?

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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50 Responses to Reactivate All Plugins feature in WordPress 2.5

  1. I’m a fan of “Safe mode” because thats what it is. I’m not a fan of “Enhanced mode” because that is too abstract and doesn’t actually identify what it is.

  2. Dougal says:

    Yeah, I’m not sure what the complement of “safe mode” should be. “Unsafe mode” sounds too scary, and “Standard mode” just sounds too boring 😉

  3. Keith says:

    Just call it ‘Reactivate Plugins’. Plugins that were never activated in the first place need to be ‘activated’ not ‘reactivated’. Only ‘deactivated’ plugins can be ‘reactivated’. 🙂

  4. ..: JJP says:

    “Reactivate Plugins”, or “Reactivate Plugin Set” or “Reactivate Previous Plugins” gets my vote, and I agree with Keith’s thinking on the matter.

  5. Restore is the term you’re looking for, Dougal.

  6. “Restore Deactivated Plugins” may be the words you are looking for, Dougal. This is going to be a time-saver feature when updgrading to WordPress 2.5. I can’t wait.

  7. Jenny says:

    When is it coming out?

  8. Novac says:

    What about “Re-enable Plugins”?

    I don’t like “Safe Mode” because that actually breaks my poorly written plugin references on my blog. I’m sure there are plenty more WP users (and WP themes) that don’t check for the plugin’s existence before calling the plugin.

  9. Monika says:

    I would like *reactivate* because it is one of our *d/englisch* words [-;) we have a lot of them ]= english words we use in German like it was a German vocabel. Sometimes it sounds more than crazy but everyone understand it. 😉

    and it seems to be logical:
    first you *activate* a plugin,
    then you “deactivate” it,
    so you have to “reactivate” it for further use.

    safe mode is not the same.

    kindly regards


  10. Woohoo! Great news. I’ve been looking forward to something like this since the weeeee versions of WordPress.

  11. Reactivate plugins sounds fine to me, skipping “all” from the original “reactivate all plugins”.

  12. Alex says:

    I think this is a great feature and my experience with users who know next to nothing but still use WordPress and love it tells me it should be very descriptive and easily understood. I suggest:

    “Reactivate Previously Active Plugins”

    This would state that it will be a process for activating of the plugins that user have previously chosen to be active. We have to remember that WordPress is becoming a main stream and avoid any form of language that doesn’t clearly state what is going to happen. While sometimes it’s unavoidable – this one is perfect example where WordPress can be made more user friendly.

    Thank for your work and I’m sure this will be a great feature!

  13. Ted Clayton says:

    I agree that Restore … tiptoes nicely through the semantic swamp.

    I am relieved we will have this for v2.5 in March! 😉

    … oh – Alex’ point & suggestion in #12 is better yet, and I change my vote to it!

  14. ...paul says:

    I’d go with “Reactivate Plugins”. There’s every likelihood that the plugins would have only been deactivated a short time before the reactivation for the upgrade. So Reactivate Plugins would make sense.

    A great addition, which will, I’m sure, make things easier with upgrading — providing the plugins are compatible.

  15. Vidyut says:

    Call it what you like. I’ll enjoy using it 😀

  16. Nico says:

    I like Ulysses Ronquillo’s suggestion of “Restore Deactivated Plugins” – very clear.

  17. TourPro says:

    Sounds silly, but “Undeactivate” might work.

    This one improvement will save thousands of clicks around the world when upgrade time comes. I would say that is a positive impact on humankind. Thanks.

  18. Jaypee says:

    That’s good news! Been waiting for that feature. Anyways, the first time I read the title I thought how come it won’t be coming with the next version 2.4, then I remembered next version would be 2.5 hehe 😀

  19. BG! says:

    “Unplugged” and “Replugged”?

    “Panic” and “Don’t Panic”?

    Maybe we could have a facility to label our own buttons, similar to the options for the Quoter plugin? (

  20. Phil says:

    How about something like the “Online” and “Offline” toggle button that you see on most printers?

    As in…

    “Take Plugins Offline”
    “Bring Plugins Online”

    …something like that.

  21. Gianluca says:

    Another vote for “Reactivate Plugins”.
    Occam’s Razor, that is.

  22. Patrizio says:

    I’m for “Reactivate plugins” if “Deactivate all plugins” remains. Otherwise, i’m for “Disable plugins / Restore plugins”.

  23. Arthur says:

    That’s a good news for admins and developers. I’d like to see this plugin as soon as possible.
    I’d use a “Safe Mode [plugins deactivated]” and “Default (Enhanced) Mode [plugins activated]”

  24. Corinne says:

    Fabulous. A great addition.

  25. Justin Moore says:

    I think “Reactivate *MY* Plugins” might be effective.

  26. Ozh says:

    “Restore plugins”
    “Reactivate plugins”
    Or even something like “Reactivate previously active plugins” if it doesn’t clutter too much the page

  27. Frederick says:

    I would love this feature. Perhaps “restore plugins” is a good idea; I fully support it, since it’s quite clear. Unfortunately, “restore” and “deactivate” aren’t exactly the best pair, so perhaps the “deactivate” term should also be changed.

    Don’t use “safe mode” because everyone thinks about Windows when you talk about safe mode. It implies that the normal usage is not safe – an impression you do NOT want to give a new user of WordPress.

  28. Pingback: Vorschau auf WordPress 2.5- reactivate Plugins und Erleichterungen für Theme Ersteller

  29. Dgold says:

    Call it “Reactivate Plugins”. This parallels the terminology that has been used in WP all along, that’s in the Codex, that’s on the Forum, etc. Everyone says “Before you upgrade, deactivate your plugins. After the upgrade, reactivate them.” Now you just invented a plugin that does this action for you, but it is the same action we have been doing for years manually: deactivate, reactivate. It would be confusing to change the term or use a synonym now.

  30. meggva says:

    A “Suspend Plugins” button to me would imply a temporary suspension of all active plugins and “Resume Plugins” would then “reactivate” the suspended plugin activity. After selecting the “Suspend Plugins”, the Action button for each of the formerly active plugins should be changed from “Deactivate” to “Resume” which would optionally allow user to reactivate the plugins one at a time (for those of us who like to try lots of plugins and may not always remember which ones we had active).

  31. Rolando says:

    Can’t wait for this feature. That will save us a lot of time 🙂

  32. Chip Bennett says:

    Since the feature knows which plugins were previously activated, why not list the plugins to be reactivated?

    If plugins were deactivated as part of an upgrade process, you could put the text above or below the button: “Clicking ‘Reactivate Plugins’ will restore the following plugins, which were previously active: [plugin], [plugin], etc…”

    If, on the other hand, no plugins were previously active (i.e. no plugins were installed/active, or were de-activated manually), hide the button, and include text such as, “No plugins were previously active. Activate plugins manually.”

    On the other hand, you could just leave it as-is. Clicking “Reactivate Plugins” when plugins are already active, or when no plugins were deactivated, wouldn’t hurt anything, because it wouldn’t do anything. (It would just be less informative that way.)

  33. Lee says:

    As I was reading this I was thinking “I have too many plug-ins to activate them all! I would never use it” as I have never used your plug-in (But used deactivate all) so now I better understand I can see that “Safe Mode” explains it better.

    Nice plug-in, and it will help out a lot.

  34. Sara says:

    Finally. Thank you D for doing this, yay! 🙂 I can’t wait!!

  35. S.K says:

    How about:

    “Disable active plugins”

    “Enable active plugins”

    (or, “Launch active plugins”)


  36. Terry Walsh says:

    I’d go for “Reactivate Live Plugins” – in my mind I have “Live” and “Dormant” plugins. I know which ones were “live” and they’re the ones I want reactivating.

    Great feature BTW

  37. bluEyez says:

    “Enable active plugins” cmon ? wtf?
    Posted 1/23/2008 at 7:56 am
    enable what active if all are disabled ?

    apply some ajax over the button to give more details 😀
    but this button will be there all time, or afther we Deactivate All Plugins ?

    cuz if will be all time you better use some “select all” code / or just activate all installed.

    if u use that button only after Deactivate All Plugins name it ” restore setting / plugins”

  38. Dail Wagner says:

    If you are looking for a name for buttons to activate/deactivate plugins perhaps a simplistic approach could be made.

    Button 1: = START
    Button 2: = STOP

    If all some or all plugins are active then STOP be visible
    If Some or all plugins deactivated then START be visible

  39. vank says:

    March March I’m waiting. I Love wordpress

  40. Ike says:

    Enable Active Plug-ins.
    Disable Active Plug-ins.

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  42. Rich Schmidt says:

    Please, please, please just stick with the terminology that’s already in use:

    Deactivate All Plugins
    Reactivate Plugins

    As was already mentioned, these are the terms used in the documentation/codex/etc. If you switch to words like “restore” or “safe mode” or whatever, you’re pulling in all kinds of baggage with them. For example, when I hear “restore” all I can think of is restoring accidentally deleted files from a backup. You restore something you’ve deleted. Doesn’t make sense here. And “safe mode” has the Windows baggage & new-user-jitters problem that’s already been mentioned.

    If only there were a way to mark the plugins somehow… Like a checkbox next to the names, or something. Then you could automatically check the plugins that had been active, or something…

  43. Chris says:

    Enable Active Plug-ins.
    Disable Active Plug-ins.

    seconded.. sounds good to me

  44. war59312 says:

    Still no release?

  45. SEO says:

    I think you have to switch the plugins.

  46. Kookaburra says:

    I never deactivate plugins befor upgrade and it run perfectly.
    Thank you for the info

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  49. Ulrike says:

    This would be a great addition!

  50. Sherry Huntley says:

    I have a little red box appearing in the title line of many games on and it won`t let me open the game it is saying `some or my plugins have been deactivated for my safety“it has given me 2 options 1-activate plug in and 2 activate Java tm platform SETE7u . I tried first option and nothing, I tried 2 and firefox crashed. is there a virus in Java happening nowÉ

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