WordPress like any other software is a subject to change. From time to time users notice a notification or reminder saying that it’s time to upgrade their WordPress. And perhaps they wonder whether it’s safe to do so as well whether it’s necessary at all?
WordPress development agency Flexi IT collected the principal advantages of upgrading WordPress to the latest version. They will be highlighted in this article as well as the reasons why WordPress update is quintessential for the proper functioning of the site. Besides, this article explains how one should modernize one’s WordPress.
WordPress is an open platform to which contributes a huge developers community. As each new release appears, they solve problematic issues, implement new parameters and develop the existing ones, and boost performance to keep up the track with the emerging standards.
That’s why if users don`t upgrade their WordPress variant, they risk missing out on advanced features and have security obstacles.
This article provides an analysis of the main perks and flaws when updating WordPress as well as some guidelines when it comes to enabling these updates.
To begin with, there is an overview of the principal advantages and disadvantages of bringing their WordPress version up to date.
- Safety matters
It goes without saying that security matters everywhere online, and the WordPress site is not an exception. So security concerns are one of the crucial arguments to update software.
WordPress is a huge content management framework utilized for each third website nowadays. This goes together with its being a target for numerous hackers, harmful code distributors, and data thieves.
As WordPress is an open source system, anybody has an opportunity to learn how the code functions and then adapt it. This does not exclude hackers that might familiarize themselves with the code and break into the system.
This makes WordPress precarious to various security problems. But not everything is bad. Just as there are malicious hackers, there is a huge community of experts all over the world which would report safeness issues. Whenever such a bug is reported, the main WordPress team would fix it by publishing an update.
Therefore, if one doesn’t utilize the freshest edition, it might employ software susceptible to vulnerabilities. Some hackers might even look for websites powered by the older versions, so a site might suffer from their attack if run on the outdated edition.
It is worth mentioning that hackers attacks might also be aimed at the separate elements of WordPress like extensions and themes, not only at the entire platform. It is thus advisable to keep all the key compounds of the website up to date.
- Breathtaking New Options and Possibilities
WordPress releases go along with certain software alterations and new parameters. For instance, the block editor was implemented in WordPress 5.0, while accessibility and UI improvements were launched in 5.3, and 5.4 release came with updates to the block editor and diverse blocks.
If users keep on using older versions, his or her user experience would differ a lot from somebody utilizing a newer release. It can even happen that it is difficult to find some assistance with some issues of the older versions. One can always try to get some advice on various forums but users there might suppose that one talks about the newest release`s issues and give some irrelevant tips.
- High-speed Performance
Developers who back up WordPress aim at speeding up the operation of this platform to make it more responsive. That’s why each new release goes along with certain operational upgrades which make WordPress function quicker and more efficiently.
For instance, version 4.2 made navigation menus run by JS better, while version 4.1 endorsed convoluted queries and hence the sites using them.
For SEO, speed is a crucial factor. Because of this, users should keep up with the WordPress updates to enjoy the top performance of the platform.
- Issues and Bugs Are Solved
Even though developers perform all-round tests before releasing a new version, every now and then it happens that some issues occur and are overlooked or unforeseen during testing. This situation is corrected with minor releases (named with X.X.X). WordPress 4.2.3 covered and resolved diverse issues of 4.2 release.
If a user experiences some issue and consult an online support group, the first recommendation he or she would hear would be to upgrade a WordPress version as it might solve the trouble. Should they resist and avoid the upgrade, their issue might remain unsolved.
- Guaranteed compatibility
Specialists working on plugins and themes creation frequently align their work with the new releases. This streamlines brand-new features and reinforces the added value of them.
Unfortunately, in some cases the existing plugins might be impacted by an update, especially if the coding regulations were not duly followed. Because of this, it is crucial to have regular WordPress backups.
To conclude, there are numerous advantages of timely and regular updates to one`s WordPress version:
- Endorsed security;
- Amazing and powerful new features;
- Quick site performance;
- Site without issues and bugs;
- Improved compatibility.
Those benefits significantly outweigh the downside of the updates, namely that in some cases a site can crash. Of course, it is entirely up to WordPress users on whether to update it or not. However, the next chapter offers an overview of the practical aspects and describes how to update WordPress.
Updates to a WordPress Site: How to Set Them Up Efficiently
It is quite easy to upgrade core, themes, and plugins whenever there is an update to them. For users convenience, WordPress includes a built-in update notification scheme which represents the available updates on the WordPress dashboard. To install the changes, it is needed to go to Dashboard > Updates and finish the process in just a single click.
Admittedly, some website administrators do not consult their dashboard on a daily basis. Therefore, they might not even be aware that there is an update available and pending for days if not weeks.
This situation can be solved in several ways. If one utilizes 3.7 or more advanced versions, the updates for minor releases that tackle security and bug solutions are automatically switched on. It is also possible to switch on automatic upgrades for bigger releases, plugins, and themes. Another option to get information about updates is to receive email notifications for them.
Email Notifications for Updates in WordPress
Certainly if one runs the business, he or she focuses on doing that well to reach targets and develop. Under those circumstances, checking the site for its updates is normally not the highest priority on the business owners` to-do-lists.
As a business or WordPress site owner, one might prefer to receive an email notifying about available novelties. And this is also a possibility which can be set fairly easily. What is needed to do is to download and activate the WP Updates Notifier plugin. Once activated, it can be configured in the Settings > Updates Notifier.
This plugin uses WordPress cron to check a site for core, plugin, and theme updates every hour. This timespan can be adjusted to once or twice a day. Once there is a new update, one would get an email notification. Afterwards, user would need to click on save settings with the test email button.
Automated Installation of the Updates
The process of installing updates for major releases, plugins, and themes can be automated even more. For users` convenience, they can opt for the automatic updates.
Although it is an attractive prospective, it can also be risky, especially if users don’t utilize managed hosting. Managed hosting companies automatically upgrade sites to major WordPress versions and keep an eye out if something goes bad.
If one chooses automatic updates, a site might break and it won’t be online to solve the issues immediately.
Should users decide to enable automatic updates, they can achieve this in two ways, namely plugin and code methods
In case of the plugin method, one would first need to download and activate the Easy Updates Manager plugin. Once it has been activated, it is required to go to Dashboard > Update Options to configure this plugin. Afterwards, one needs to scroll down to the automatic updates section. There a user can set up automatic upgrades for core, extensions, themes, and translation files. Once this is done, one might save the settings.
In case of the core method, automatic core updates might be triggered by using and changing a wp-config.php file with the following fragment.
What is important here is to make a site backup first to have data safely stored in case of the unpredictable scenario. Additionally, it is possible to automatically update themes and plugins in a similar way. To achieve this, it is needed to add certain filters to the theme’s functions.php document or a site specific plugin.
|add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true’ );
add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’ );
To sum up, this article presented pros and cons of utilizing the latest version of WordPress as well as the ways in which one can keep up with the recent updates and adopt them.