How to Switch Off WordPress Email Updates and Eliminate Inbox Overload

How to Switch Off WordPress Email Updates and Eliminate Inbox Overload

Everyone from seasoned developers to complete newcomers will have encountered WordPress core update email notifications. But if you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, core update email notifications are sent out when WordPress automatically upgrades to a minor new version.

Automatic core updates (introduced in WordPress 3.7) are of course a huge positive, and while the notifications aren’t a particularly big deal if you only run one or two WordPress sites, those of us who manage multiple websites can find their email inboxes awful crowded come update time.

With the above in mind, in today’s Weekend WordPress Project we’re going to look at three simple ways you can employ to stop those pesky notifications from clogging up your inbox.

1. The Easy (But Inelegant) Solution: Using Email Filters

Just about every email provider out there (online and offline) offers a means to filter emails. While this doesn’t prevent emails from being sent, you can make sure that they don’t appear in your inbox; so, from your perspective, the emails never existed.

We’d be here all day if I gave instructions for every email platform, but I’ll run through the process for Gmail and Google Apps users.

Open Gmail and click the down arrow in your search box. A window that allows you to specify search criteria will appear:

Gmail search criteria

Enter your search criteria, which, in this case, is the subject of the WordPress update email: “Your site has updated to WordPress”.

If you want to check that your search worked correctly, click the search button.

Gmail subject search filter

Click Create filter with this search at the bottom of the search window.

Choose the action(s) you want the filter to take. Among other options, you can automatically archive them, delete them outright, or filter them into a different folder:

Gmail filtering options
I’ve set the emails to be marked as read and archived.

Click the Create filter button.

Once set up, you should no longer receive the updates in your inbox. You can edit or delete filters from within the Settings panel of Gmail if you should ever need to.

2. The Easy (But Plugin-Reliant) Solution: Installing Easy Updates Manager

Easy Updates Manager
The Easy Updates Manager plugin

Easy Updates Manager is a useful plugin that enables you to manage all aspects of WordPress updates. The below video gives a good overview of all the features, ranging from theme and plugin updates to selecting which users can access configuration options:

The function pertaining most to this post is the “Core Update Emails” feature, which enables you to turn off the email notifications for core updates.

Set core email update notifications

Just one click and you’re done!

3. The Better (But More Involved) Solution: Turning Off the Notifications at the Source

While this method may be the best solution for stopping those pesky notifications, it should only be employed if you’re comfortable diving into PHP code.

To turn off email notifications at source, access the functions.php file for each of your sites and add the following code:

It’s as simple as that! If you’re feeling more adventurous you can dig even deeper into the code and modify the filter according to an email $type, so updates are only sent in specific circumstances (e.g. when an update fails). If you want to explore these sorts of options further, we recommend you check out the WordPress Codex.

A more easily distributable solution for implementing the above code would be to turn it into a super lightweight plugin that could be installed on all of the sites that you manage. This negates the need to input the above filter into each functions.php file on every site. If you’ve never created a plugin before, have a look at this complete guide to creating plugins by Daniel – it’s far easier than you think!

Wrapping Up

Whichever option you choose, the end result is the same: you not receiving WordPress core email update notifications.

Let’s quickly recap them:

  1. Email filters. Definitely the easiest option, for those who would rather leave WordPress alone.
  2. Easy Updates Manager. The easiest WordPress-centric solution. Just set it up, uncheck the relevant box and you’re done.
  3. Custom code. This requires some rudimentary coding awareness and is the best option for WordPress developers who want a lightweight solution.

Which method do you prefer when handling numerous sites? Let us know in the comments below.