Why you should always update your WordPress website

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Just like any other software you have, WordPress requires maintenance on a regular basis. WordPress is an open-source software developed by a large community around the globe. This means that there are lots of people working to keep it secure but also improve its functionality. Updating WordPress might be cumbersome, but is important for a couple of reasons.

  • Improve security
  • Improvements and Features
  • Bug fixes

Keeping your site updated will improve security

WordPress powers about 23% of all websites in the world. Because of its popularity, it is often a target for malicious code distributors, data thieves, hackers and wannabe hackers. This is also a good thing, the big community behind helps maintain WordPress. Security vulnerabilities are often spotted on time and dealt with it quickly by pushing updates.

If you are not up to date, you are using software with known security vulnerabilities. This does not only apply to WordPress but also to all the plugins and themes that you use. Don’t become a victim and update your installation on time.

Improvements and Features

Updates are not only for security reasons but also to improve and add new functionality. From improved plugin installation to inline image editing. Updates can also improve the performance of WordPress itself and it’s plugins. Keeping your installation up to date will not only help your experience but also will also help your website perform better, faster.

Updates can fix bugs

Despite each release going through testing, sometimes bugs can slip through. Those minor releases (the ones with x.x.x) are to fix the bugs. Before you ask for help with your problem, I recommend updating your website, plugins, and themes. If the problem still occurs, ask for help.

How to keep WordPress updated

Updating WordPress, it’s plugins and the themes are somehow easy. WordPress comes in with a built-in update. It highlights the number of available updates when you log in to your dashboard. All you need to do is Login In -> Dashboard -> Updates in the left top corner.

wordpress-dashboard-update

If you are using WordPress 3.7 and above, there are automatic updates for minor releases. You can also turn on automatic updates for major releases, plugins or themes.

You can turn on automatic updates by adding this line in your wp-config.php.

define('WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true);

If you want to turn on automatic updates for plugins and themes you have to add these code in your wp-config.php


add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_true' ); 
add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_true' );

Update your website using plugins.

If you don’t want to mess with your wp-config.php file, there are plugins to help you keep your software up to date.

“I’m afraid I will break it”

This is a valid concern. There are many things that can go wrong when you update your software. Sometimes, the new updates are not compatible yet with your plugins or with your themes. There is no easy “rollback” button you can just press, so sometimes it can be scary.

Many agencies, we included, offer website maintenance services. We will maintain, update and create backups in case something happens. We can also track your website to ensure it is online 24 hours a day.

Summary

Keeping your installation up to date is an important part of managing your WordPress installation. It will make sure your website performs efficiently, you will have a bug free experience and most importantly you will have have the latest security patches. It’s the most effective way to keep your website safe.