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Should I Update My WordPress Website?
Have you recently seen those scary notifications in your website’s WordPress dashboard prompting you to update NOW or else? Are you worried that you might break something if you update your website improperly? When it comes to WordPress updates, people have a wide range of comfort levels with how far they are willing to toy with their website. Whether you are the kind of person who likes to understand how your website ticks and do it all yourself or the kind of person who hears the phrase “website update” and immediately feels backed into a corner, it’s important to make sure your website stays up to date.
Whether your website is built on a WordPress theme or it uses WordPress as a content management system, it is a good practice to keep the core code, security features, and plugins up to date as much as possible. During any updates, proper steps need to be taken to ensure that the various functionalities of the website that depend on each other do not break and cause downtime in the site’s operation.
Thinking about building a new website? Find out if WordPress is a good CMS for your website.
Why Does WordPress Require Updates?
WordPress comes highly recommended in the world of website development for good reason: it is easy to learn to use, has the potential to perform well on search engines, and is extremely versatile. There are a few different areas of a WordPress website that need to be regularly updated. If your website is built using a WordPress theme, it could require theme updates that circulate throughout the major elements of the website, as website standards frequently change. Most websites, WordPress or not, will also require regular core code updates to ensure they are kept up to modern code standards.
The most common type of WordPress website updates that will need to occur are plugin updates. Plugins are the programs that give a WordPress website its various functions, such as contact forms, eCommerce, galleries, or even content structure. The software for plugins is usually created and updated by third-party developers who frequently release updates to improve functionalities. While many plugins can be configured to update automatically, these updates should usually be implemented on a website manually to ensure that they work properly, as there are often bugs in the system at the immediate release of a plugin and it is usually best to give the update release a bit of time before implementing it.
When a WordPress website’s plugins, theme, or core code goes out of date, various problems can occur: elements of the website might not show up properly, links can break, and the user interface can suffer. The biggest issues that can occur are related to security. In many cases, updates are required to patch security vulnerabilities because not making specific updates can leave a website vulnerable to attacks.
How Often Should You Update WordPress?
Although updates are constantly being released for plugins, they are not typically urgent. Most developers will recommend updating a website’s plugins, core code or theme, and security at least twice per year. This means that it is okay to close out the alerts in your dashboard notifying you that a new plugin update is available, as long as you have time set aside down the road to perform all of the necessary updates.
Can I Update WordPress Myself?
Although many people prefer to leave items as vital as website updates to the professionals, it is possible to update many WordPress websites with the proper knowledge and a few spare hours. Before implementing an update, it is important to inspect the nature of the update and how it will affect the website’s performance. While most plugin updates are reasonably straightforward, many theme or core code updates can be a bit more involved. A backup of the website should always be made before beginning in case anything goes awry.
The team at FirstPage Marketing specializes in WordPress website design and marketing and we can ensure you get all the right information regarding your digital presence. Give us a call and we’ll do our best to get you the help you need for your website.