Keeping WordPress up to date, and why it’s so important

The creators of the popular WordPress CMS are consistently rolling out new updates.  Changes can be anything from full interface overhauls to simple, often unnoticed, functional tweaks.  These updates are important for the long term health and stability of your website.

Can I update WordPress on my own?

Absolutely. The process of updating WordPress manually is straightforward and only requires a few button clicks.  For many sites, this works well, but in some cases, an update can do a lot of damage to your site.  This happens for usually one of the following reasons:

  • A third party plugin has outdated or faulty code that does not mesh well with the WordPress core changes.
  • The active theme uses deprecated functions that are no longer supported.
  • The current WordPress version is more than two major releases behind the new version.
  • Core files have previously been modified.
  • Server configuration does not allow proper file permissions for your WordPress installation.

Updating your Site, Theme, and Plugins

A general rule of thumb is to make sure you are consistent with updates across the board. When it comes to WordPress, you may find that you are getting frequent notifications about updating the version of WordPress you are using, theme updates, and plugin updates. The more elements you have built into your site, the more often it will require maintenance.

Luckily, there are often options to set your WordPress plugins or site structure to auto-update. A great way to ensure your website is running as smoothly and loading as quickly as possible is to keep all your elements updated and keep your plugins in order.

Aside from themes and plugins, your site as a whole or the PHP may need updating. These updates may occur automatically or they may be easy to implement by clicking a single button. Just make sure that your theme and plugins are compatible with your sitewide update.

How often should I update WordPress?

All in all, it depends. Many sites have different plugins and themes, which affects how often you should be refreshing them. If you aren’t going into your site to update content or make optimizations more than a couple times per month, we recommend checking your updates at least once a month. Usually WordPress will send you notifications when different elements need updating. When you log in to your site, you can easily see how many updates you should act on by viewing the refresh symbol at the top of your WordPress editing menu.

Things to consider when upgrading WordPress

When a new version comes out, you really should upgrade.  The new release comes with security patches that will help keep your site safe from hackers.  It also comes packed with feature enhancements that will make your life easier as the site administrator.  Before you upgrade, however, there are a few things you should think about first:

  1. When was the last time you updated the core of WordPress?
  2. Do you have a recent backup of the site?
  3. Do you have the technical knowledge to troubleshoot any potential errors?
  4. Are there any plugins that should be upgraded as well?

If any of these questions raise a red flag in your mind, it’s best to ask a professional for help.  Old City Press has built over 250 WordPress websites in the past 4 years.  We can diagnose the current health of your site, and create an execution plan for getting it up to date. Fill out the form below to get started.

Need help getting your WordPress site updated?

Check out our website design services today! We offer website maintenance, updates, content and technical services for your business. If you’re ready to give your website a boost, contact us about your project.