A spate of reasons would tempt you to update your existing WordPress website and switch over to the latest version. Prominent of them include performance check, dealing with security-related hassles, fixing the bugs, compatibility, and of course, new features. Let’s discuss them one after other:
1. When you’re pretty concerned about the ‘Security’
Currently, WordPress is the driving force behind 23% of the websites active all over the world. No wonder, with such an immense customer base, it is an equally hot favorite among the hackers trying to pierce through the loopholes in your website’s security measures. With every WordPress update, your website gets emancipated from a security vulnerability that could otherwise hamper your website’s functioning or your data to be compromised.
So now you know why to update WordPress plugins? You can turn on notifications for automatic updates or, can also go through the WordPress update history. This will let you know how long has it been since you switched to the latest version of WordPress. Ideally, updating the themes, plugins, etc. of your website at least once in a month would be ideal. Just to give an example, the latest WordPress 4.7.1 version introduces even better security and maintenance features. It overcomes several security issues of WordPress 4.7 like Remote code execution (RCE) in PHPMailer, Cross-site scripting (XSS) via the plugin name, Weak cryptographic security for multisite activation key, and so on.
2. When you’re pretty much inclined to try the ‘Latest Features’ of WordPress
Every WordPress release accompanies several exciting features. For instance, WordPress 4.0 lets you enjoy an enhanced plugin install experience, 4.1 brought inline image editing to the center stage, and 4.2 introduced quicker plugin updates. Recently launched WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan” helps you set up your site on your own. It introduces Twenty Seventeen as the new default theme, which consists of featured videos and image headers. It also makes starter content possible and allows to customize changesets, and the new default theme brings your site to life with appealing featured images and video headers.
While you keep availing the benefits of these newly introduced features, your website will continue looking updated and visitor-friendly. It also gives a loud and clear message to your clients, that you care for them and aspire to ensure them the best possible browsing experience.
3. When ‘Speed’ plays a key role, it always does
Keeping pace with the latest version of WordPress helps your website with improved load time and reduced downtime. It becomes faster, more efficient, and performs way better with every update. For example, updates like 4.1 simplified intricate queries, and 4.2 spruced up JS performance, which all together helped in speeding up the website. The latest ones like 4.7 or 4.7.1 have contributed even further to improve the website speed. Moreover, considering the important role of a high-speed performance website in boosting SEO, keeping it updated with the latest versions of WordPress is of high significance.
4. When you don’t want ‘Bugs’ to haunt you, so ‘Bug Fixing’
It is usual for WordPress updates to undergo intense testing before being launched. However, the scope for bugs to creep in through even minor loopholes cannot be ruled out. Hence, several WordPress releases aim at curbing these bugs only. For example, WordPress 4.7.1 fixed eight security issues that affected its previous version, 4.7, and also, the latest release also fixed 62 bugs. The sites get updated automatically at regular intervals. However, you can also do it manually, simply go to the site’s dashboard, choose updates, and click ‘Update Now.’
5. When you want your Website to be ‘Compatible’ with the latest updates
Several WordPress plugins and themes get regular updates to be compatible with the latest WordPress version. However, in case a plugin is not following the recommended coding standards, it can get affected by the new version of WordPress. To avoid a break in the website due to any such problem, a wise move is to back up your website before updating. Just in case the new release does not click on the website and goes incompatible with the existing plugins and themes, you could restore the earlier release.
What needs to be updated in WordPress?
In your endeavor to update your WordPress website, you need to get the latest version for three main things:
- Your WordPress website itself
In addition, the security patches and bug fixes for the concerned themes and plugins also get an automatic update. Thankfully, doing it is relatively easy through the update screen, which you can navigate through your Dashboard.
How to update WordPress?
Now that you are well aware of the advantages of updating to the latest version of WordPress let’s move on and know how to update your website.
Checks and requirements
Before proceeding, here is a list of requisite checks to work on:
Check your web host for the following:
- PHP 5.2.4 or higher version
- MySQL 5.0 or higher version
- The mod_rewrite Apache module
Theme & Plugin check
You need to make sure that your theme is compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Some themes may create hassles after being upgraded to the new version. Developers may take the time to release the updated version of such a theme, leaving you to do nothing but wait for the release. Likewise, now that you know why to update WordPress plugins, now is the time to check if your plugin author has released updates that could go along nicely with the new release. WordPress updates Hello Dolly and Akismet to new versions, respectively.
The last thing before updating the site is to create a backup. You can use FT client or cPanel to execute this task. You can navigate to WordPress Dashboard > Tools > Export. From there, simply select “All content” and click the “Download Export File” button.
Methods of WordPress site update
After satisfying yourself with all the desired checks and requirements, the ultimate thing is now to update the site to the latest version of WordPress. You can do it manually, through automatic updates, or by using a plugin.
Go to Dashboard > updates, click the checkboxes next to plugins, then click the “Update Plugins” button. In a similar manner, click the checkboxes next to themes, then click the “Update Themes” button. If you want to update/upgrade all the plugins and themes, click Select All and proceed accordingly.
How to update WordPress automatically?
You can enable, disable automatic updates or apply them to minor releases by adding this single line code in the wp-config.php file.
Likewise, you can add the following to your themes or plugins’ function.php file.
add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_true' ); add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_true' );
Plugins for WordPress update
You can install a slew of plugins that will keep your site updated. These plugins will notify you if an update is required and at times, could do the updating tasks on their own.
- Automatic Plugin Updates
- Plugin Vulnerabilities
Automate your WP updates
Hopefully, you should have got a settled idea on how to update the WordPress website. However, equally important is to automate your WP updates by introducing fresh themes and plugins to ensure better compatibility with the latest versions. For example, if you own a business site, several plugins are simply must have to give it widespread recognition among potential visitors. Prominent of these include:
- OptinMonster – For conversion rate optimization
- WPForms – Contact form plugin
- Google Analytics – Free website analytics tool
- Sucuri – A web application firewall
- Buffer – For enhanced social media engagement