Why keep my WordPress Updated?
Every time a new WordPress update comes out, we get several emails from users asking whether it’s safe to update their WordPress site. Are you wondering whether you should update your WordPress to the latest version? Want to know the pros and cons of updating WordPress? In this article, we will explain why it is crucial that you always use the latest version of WordPress.
As an ever-evolving open source venture, WordPress changes a lot, and often, for the better. And it’s up to you to make sure you update to the latest version.
WordPress is free, and it is developed by a community of developers. With each new release, they fix bugs, add new features, improve performance, and enhance existing features to stay up to date with new industry standards.
1. Improved Security
Security is arguably the most important reason why you should keep your WordPress website up to date.
WordPress currently powers 23% of all websites in the world and due to its popularity, it is a popular target for hackers, data thieves, malicious code distributors, and wannabe hackers.
Since WordPress is open source, anyone can study the source code to learn and improve it. However, it also means that hackers can study it too and find ways to break into websites.
Mind you, not all hackers are bad. There are a lot more good hackers than bad ones which mean that security experts around the world can study the code and properly report security fixes. Every time a security vulnerability is reported, the core WordPress team works diligently to release an update that fixes the issue.
This means that if you are not using the latest version of WordPress, then you are using software with known security vulnerabilities. Hackers search for websites running an older version, and you may become a victim of a sophisticated attack.
Plugins can also be exploited by hackers. You need to make sure that all your plugins, themes, and the core itself are up to date.
2. Cool New Features
Each major WordPress release comes with new features and changes to the software.
If you were using an older version of WordPress, then your WordPress experience would be a lot different than someone using the latest version.
3. Faster Experience
WordPress developers are always trying to make things faster. Each new release comes with several performance improvements that make WordPress run faster and more efficient.
For example, WP 4.2 improved JS performance for navigation menus and WP 4.1 improved complex queries which helped with the performance of sites requiring these queries.
Since speed is a huge factor in SEO, you should definitely keep your WordPress updated to ensure maximum performance benefits.
4. A bug-free website
Despite the rigorous testing of major WordPress releases, sometimes bugs may slip through the cracks. That’s why there are timely minor releases (the ones with X.X.X) to account for that. For example, the most recent WordPress 4.2.3 update fixed 20 bugs from the 4.2 release.
5. Better Compatibility
Often plugin and theme developers coordinate their updates with major WordPress releases to ensure they’re taking advantage of newly available features and enhancements.
However, in some cases, an update can break your existing WordPress plugins if they weren’t following the best practices and coding standards.
This is why it is crucial that you keep regular WordPress backups.
To sum this up, the only downside is that in some rare cases your site will break. However, the upside is that you have:
• Improved security
• Cool new features
• Faster experience
• A bug-free website
• Better compatibility
But, Why Not Auto Install Updates?
You can automate the process. WordPress allows you to enable automatic updates for major releases, plugins, and themes.
This option is risky.
If you turn on automatic updates, then there is a risk that your site may break and you won’t be online to fix it right away.
We recommend manually updating WordPress shortly after a new release in order to ensure it is stable and a new patch is not released the next day or next week. If the community of users does not find any issues, we recommend updating to that version.
Yes, this takes time. But from our experience much less time, frustration and money than finding a problem, sometimes long after it happens, trying to restore from backups or reinstalling from scratch becuase you no longer have access to your own website.
Our Manual Update Procedure
- Make a manual backup
- Take screen captures of your pages
- Update the WP Core, themes and plugins.
- Verify the site looks and functions correctly
- If something is incorrect, we either fix, restore to the previous version or install from scratch and attempt to reload/update the database.
We recommend auto-updates to minor versions of WordPress to ensure the core is up to date and not vulnerable to security issues.
Major updates to the Core, theme and plugins, a manual process, we recommend a few times per year. It is also an opportunity to review your website and make any updates that should be addressed.
I’m Interested! Now What?
Normally updates should be performed within 3-6 months at a cost of $75 per update. The longer you wait, the more potential there is for incompatible versions and the more steps involved to update your database and plugins. Costs can escalate to a few hundred dollars. Let us take a look at your project and supply an estimate. Click Below to contact us today.