Importance of keeping WordPress updated & maintained

Wordpress

Intro to keeping WordPress updated & maintained

Avoid being hacked, keep WordPress updated and enjoy new features & better stability. Anyone who’s ever worked with a WordPress site will know how common it is to see the “WordPress X.X is available! Please update now.” message at the top of their dashboard.

Wordpress update

Is it really that important to keep your WordPress website up to date? The answer to that questions isn’t always  “yes”, but in almost all cases, it is important to keep it as up to date as possible. So now the question becomes, how do I know when I should update my WordPress website and is it as easy as just pressing that “update” button? This blog post is intended to let you know why it’s important to keep your website up-to-date, and will let you know what you have to do to update.

Why keep my WordPress website up to date?

NEW FEATURES AND ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONALITY

Firstly, as a piece of software matures, new features and functionality continue to get added to improve the experience and to continue to make the product better. Remember as new features are added there is more potential for new bugs, so it maybe worth waiting for the following point 1 version.

 

BUG FIXES

All software has bugs, these bugs will cause issues, however minor they might be. Any time new functionality is added to a piece of software, the likelihood of bugs existing increase, simply because more code is added. Developers are continuously working to fix issues that crop up, priority is given to the most serious problems. Every new release of a piece of software will include fixes to bugs that have been found since the last release, some of these could back date from years! So it’s important to update to keep your website running smoothly.

 

SECURITY UPDATES

No website is secure, and popular systems always become top targets, there are always hackers working to find ways to break into CMS’s (content management systems), simply because there are more sites they can take advantage of once a back door is found. Once gaining access they can inject malicious code or malware to your site. WordPress developers are quick to patch the vulnerabilities and release new versions for users to update to. This ensures the security of their software does not continue to be compromised, but you have to update to get this security! This is the most important reason for keeping your WordPress website up to date.



How should I go about updating?

You should never update WordPress on a live install if you can help it. If anything goes wrong, your users may not be able to properly access your site. This could be inimical to your business, or at least it could loose you money.

SO, HOW SHOULD I HANDLE PERFORMING AN UPDATE TO MY SITE?

  1. Install a version of your site on a development environment.
  2. Test to make sure everything is working correctly on the development environment (Cross browser check)
  3. Perform the WordPress update on the development environment.
  4. Perform and test any and all theme and plugin updates (update and test them one by one)
  5. Fix any issues that may have been caused by the updates.
  6. Backup your live site; files on your server & database dump.
  7. Combine your fixes with the live files and the update your website on the live server
  8. Lastly test to make sure everything is still working (Cross browser check)

This may seem like a lot of work to keep your WordPress sites up-to-date, but to ensure nothing goes wrong this is the safest way, note the more often you update your site the less likely issues will occur, so the process is quicker each time.

 

Alternatively you can get an agency to handle this for you, many agencies offer maintenance packages which will save you lots of time!




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