Debunk 5 Common Myths About WordPress Updates
WordPress is a CMS which has enjoyed a rapid growth in popularity throughout the years. However, the system is far from being perfect and we all require different features from it that don’t come out-of-the-box. That is the reason why we are constantly on the lookout for new themes and plugins and the updates their new versions contain.
If you are a WordPress fan, there is a big chance that you have installed a load of themes and plugins to cater for the needs of your website.
WordPress is a constantly evolving project. There are literally tens of thousands of themes and plugins available on WordPress.org and other websites that offer premium or not so premium WordPress themes and plugins for sale. Installing these is only the first step.
Developers are hard at work to improve this CMS and ensure that it is a robust and reliable platform. A considerable effort is also spent on ensuring the available themes and plugins are also constantly looked after. In order to prevent potential problems with the code and prevent the occurrence of bugs and vulnerabilities in themes and plugins as well as in the system itself, it is of paramount importance that these are constantly updated.
In this article I outline the most common myths about WordPress updates.
1. “It is not necessary to update WordPress to its most recent version.”
You are mistaken. As I have already mentioned, the latest updates address critical vulnerabilities in not only the CMS but also the themes and plugins it uses. Always make sure all of these are updated to their latest version but first ensure whether, for example, the newest version of a particular plugins works with the latest WordPress version.
2. “An update is a one click process and you don’t need backup before you begin.”
It is quite the opposite. Before you consider updating your WordPress installation, it is important that you have a complete backup of all your site’s data. This will allow you to easily restore your website once something goes wrong. There are a number of tools on the Internet, both free and paid, which will grant you the option to streamline this process.
3. “I don’t need an update because I probably won’t need the new features in a plugin or a theme.”
Themes and plugins for WordPress are like all other types of software your computer uses. From time to time developers introduce new updates that not only provide new features but fix known problems with bugs.
Even if the new features and functionalities are not something you are interested in, you must still be concerned about bugs. These come in a variety of sizes and shapes. A software bug could prevent users from using a plugin or it could only affect a certain part of a theme. It is also not unusual for bugs to introduce holes in security.
No matter how severe these bugs are, they should be dealt with. When a new software update addressing a bug is being introduced, you as a user should update as fast as possible to preserve the security of your website.
It isn’t difficult to update a plugin or a theme from the WordPress dashboard, so what is stopping you from doing so?
4. It is a tedious task to always monitor when new updates are being introduced.
When a new WordPress version is made available, you can easily spot it. The system will prompt you to update by displaying a message on almost any page of your administration panel.
It is a bit different for themes and plugins, but if these are listen on WordPress.org, then the system will notify you whether a new version is released. The only thing you require is to visit the WordPress dashboard’s section for updates. It will notify you of the number of updates you can apply.
5. WordPress automatically updates all my plugins and themes for me and notifies me if there are any updates.
If fact, WordPress does not check whether a new version is made available for all your themes and plugins. It only checks whether that is the case for those listed on WordPress.org.
If a theme or a plugin hasn’t been uploaded to WordPress.org, the CMS will not suggest an automatic update through a single click.
In order to be able to update a theme, a plugin, or the WordPress installation itself, the CMS must be given the right to overwrite files. What that means is that the files of the WordPress installation must be owned by the user of the web server. The user must be able to write the files.
After having said all this, it is not difficult to conclude that updating this software to its latest version is of paramount importance. Although there is more than one way to install updates, the automatic one click installation method is the simplest and best way to apply them. It saves you time and you are less likely to encounter errors. Lack of time is simply not an excuse not to update WordPress!