Keeping up with the constant evolution in technology your website needs to be up to date. Learning how to update WordPress theme and plugins as well as core software is crucial.
Whether you have a simple one page or a multi-page e-commerce website (click here if you want to know what pages you need to have a successful website), you may have noticed an update notification pop on your dashboard.
You might be wondering why is it necessary to update your WordPress website when a new notification appears. Just like any other platform, an update will help boost its security, performance add new features.
WordPress.org states, “Like many modern software packages, WordPress is updated regularly to address new security issues that may arise. Improving software security is always an ongoing concern, and to that end, you should always keep up to date with the latest version of WordPress. Older WordPress versions are not maintained with security updates.”
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Why should you update?
According to WordPress.com your WordPress website could be vulnerable due to weak passwords or poor-quality web hosting. However, the most common security issues are outdated WordPress core software, themes, and plugins.
Outdated plugins are particularly concerning, causing 90 percent of known security breaches. Out-of-date WordPress themes sit in the runner-up position, creating about 6 percent of vulnerabilities.
It is also very important to always use plugins and themes that are kept updated by their developers.
When you don’t keep your core software, themes and plugins hacker can target the outdated versions.
Just like a vehicle, you will need to have regular maintenance to make sure that it is running optimally and safely.
Other content management systems are vulnerable to hacking if not updated and regularly maintained as well. Because WordPress is so popular worldwide, it is often the target of hackers and updates are necessary.
How Often Do You Need to Update WordPress?
It is critical to update WordPress, but that does not mean you should do it the next second after the release.
Updating to the latest WordPress version is sometimes risky if it is a major update. The plugins and themes may not be compatible with WordPress, and everything can break. Therefore you will see plugin update released trickle in after a major WordPress core software update.
It is advised to wait for a week before upgrading to major version, and check on the internet if the latest version is stable.
There is no set timetable for the release of the updates. Updates are released when new security features are developed, to fix bugs, and to add functions and features.
How To Update WordPress Theme and Plugins in 5 Simple Steps
Before you do any updates, you will need to backup your database, theme and plugins.
- Check with your hosting service if they offer a daily backup. You also want to make sure you can do manual backups when you need to.
- Use a backup plugin such as
02. Test In Staging Environment
When major updates come around and you have a very complex website, it’s a good idea to test your updates in a staging environment.
A staging environment is provided by your hosting service. It is an exact replica of your website where you can test themes, updates and plugins.
03. Update Your Plugins
It is best to update your plugins first before your core WordPress Updates and Theme. I like to have a minimum of plugins installed to make it easy. I also like to update my plugins 1 by 1 and see if something breaks the site. When you do your updates one plugin at the time, it’s easy to see which plugin is affecting your site.
I don’t usually turn the auto-updates on. It is challenging to figure out which plugin was responsible for an eventual issue if they are updated automatically.
04. Update Your Theme(s)
Then you can go ahead and update your theme(s). You probably have more than one theme installed and one or more might need updating.
Please note that if you did make some core changes on your theme and do not work with a child theme, the look and functionalities of your site will be altered.
05. Update WordPress Core Software
Now you can proceed with WordPress Core Updates.
After you’ve updated WordPress, you might have new plugin/theme updates pop up. Go ahead and proceed with the plugins first, then themes.
There are sometimes a few rounds of updates around WordPress core software upgrades as the developers may need to adjust and release patches. The same goes for plugins and themes.
Keep monitoring your dashboard for those updates after a major upgrade.