Why should you update WordPress? Aside from putting in new content, there are some very important reasons you should keep your WordPress core software and plugins up-to-date. Rachel McCollin discusses these issues in her article “Why You Should Have The Latest Version of WordPress.” Here is why you should update and how to stay updated:
Why Update WordPress
There are five main reasons you need to update WordPress: security, performance, bug fixes, compatibility, and new features. Because WordPress is so big, it can be a target for security attacks and numerous development issues. Yet, its size also contributes to its growing number of developers, meaning that any vulnerabilities are spotted and fixed quickly. As with all Content Management Systems, bugs and security issues can show up in themes, individual plugins, and WordPress itself. But keeping your site up-to-date will ensure that you get the newest bug fixes, performance enhancements, features, and security updates when they roll out. You can update your site in the “Updates” section of the dashboard.
How to Stay Updated
You can manage your sites updates in a few different ways:
You can manage manual updates from the Updates screen. Then you can select the “Update Themes” or the “Update Plugins” button. It’s a good idea to make a backup if you have quite a bit to update, or if you’re updating your version of WordPress. If you decide to take on this task yourself, follow AndiSites’ advice on proper and safe updating.
If you choose to update your site automatically (a service available from some hosts), the bug fixes and security patches will be repaired every time there is a major or minor release. You can also choose this option for plugins and themes. Change the settings to specify whether automatic updates are enabled or disabled, or only applied to minor releases. Contact your host if you’re interested in automatic updates. Just make sure that they have regular backups available in case something breaks and you need to roll back.
If you don’t want the worry of updating WordPress yourself, turn to a WordPress professional who will handle your updates on an hourly basis (one-offs) or as part of a support and WordPress maintenance package. A reputable web professional will know how to perform updates. This includes creating backups first and doing thorough testing (and fixes, if necessary) afterwards.
A lot of the work in keeping your site up-to-date involves actually checking to see if your site needs an update. WordPress will send a notification when an automatic update to the core has taken place, although not always when a plugin is updated. Click the information links next to your plugins (found in the Plugins list). See if there’s a newer version than the one you’re currently using.