I can not stress enough how important it is to keep your website updated. That means updating WordPress, plugins that you use and any themes installed, active and inactive, on your website on a consistent basis. I know wordpress updates can be annoying and they seem never-ending, but they fix bugs, improve performance, and add and enhance features according to industry standards. It’s crucial to keeping your website online and secure.
The #1 reason for WordPress Updates is Security
According to W3Techs, about 40% of the internet is powered by WordPress. That popularity makes it a huge target for hackers and data thieves. WordPress is open source, that means anyone can study and use the source code. This means vulnerabilities are found both to be repaired and exploited. You want to be on the right side and have those vulnerabilities patched to keep your data safe.
Next up, Bug Fixes
While each release is heavily tested, there are bugs that slip through the cracks. This applies to both WordPress code and the plugins that help fun the various features of your website. If you reach out to me regarding some part of your site not working, the first thing I’m going to do is update everything. Staying up to date helps keep the gremlins away. Many times a wordpress update is the only fix needed.
Speed and other Features
WordPress developers are constantly trying to make things better, including site speed. Small improvements in the code can make a huge impact on the performance of your website. Performance isn’t the only thing, the way you use WordPress has changed and improved over the years. Did you know WordPress started out as just a blog? It’s been transformed into something that can run just about any site imaginable thanks to improved features.
Is it easy to update?
Well, that depends. Yes, for the most part it’s easy to go in to your admin area and hit those UPDATE buttons. However, there is so much more that needs to go into it. Due to compatibility issues there is always the possibility that your website can crash from an update. One single update can screw up your entire website. It is always advisable to create a backup of your website prior to doing any updates. These backups need to be accessible and you need to know how to restore your website in case something goes crazy.
From a personal standpoint, I never update the same day an update is released. I like to wait a few days and allow others to locate the bugs. For large, more important things like Woocommerce, I prefer to run those updates on a staging site first so I can ensure nothing will go wrong before I apply them to live sites. For that reason I like to schedule Update Days. Obviously, the more often your website is updated the better, but I would recommend never going beyond a month between wordpress updates and always, always, always have a recent backup.
WordPress Care Plans
Keeping track of back ups and keeping your website updated can be a time suck if you don’t have a process in place. That’s why WordPress Care Plans exist! A Care Plan is like insurance for your website. For a few dollars a month you can rest knowing your website is being kept up to date, backups exist offsite and your website is secure. My Care Plans have been updated for 2021, take a look and see which fits your needs best. WordPress updates don’t have to be scary, but they also don’t have to be something you dread.