So, why should you bother to update WordPress anyway? It seems like they come out with a new version often and you just don’t have the time to keep up, you have more important things to do or you just don’t know how and you’re afraid you might break your site. Are these familiar sounding excuses to you?
Your website is many important things to your business. In most cases it’s your online brochure, store, your main marketing tool, source of prospecting and it might even be how you deliver digital products or membership programs. Not to mention, you’ve put a lot of time and money into the development of it. So, it stands to reason that you would want to keep it running well, protect it from hackers, and take advantage of cool new features, right? Well, all of that is exactly why you should update WordPress as soon after the new version comes out as possible!
Benefits of Updating
Updates correct security issues, fix bugs and provide new functionality. If you wait too long between updates you could end up with conflicts with your theme and plugins. Keeping everything up to date regularly will reduce the chance of that and it will be much easier to troubleshoot problems if they do arise. Because you didn’t have to update everything all at once you can narrow the culprit down a lot quicker.
Getting It Done
If you pay someone to maintain your site then add it to your budget and ask your service provider to either update WordPress as needed and inform you in advance so you’re not surprised or give them a schedule of how often you would like to have it done.
I recommend that you update WordPress as soon as you can after you see the alert in the dashboard area that new version is available but if you would rather put it on a schedule then plan to get it done AT LEAST every three months. It surprises me how many business owners allow their websites to run with very old versions of both WordPress and plugins. These same folks also have regular problems with their sites and think they are saving money or time by not updating but in the long run they will pay someone to fix the problems that result or to remove the malware uploaded by a hacker.
How to Update WordPress
WordPress has a lot of helpful documentation so if you are a do-it-yourself-er then here are instructions on updating WordPress.
The best piece of advice I can give you is to backup your site files and database before you do anything. That way you can restore to a previous working version of your site pronto if you are not able to troubleshoot any problems yourself.
There is nothing to be afraid of here.. just backup, follow the instructions and verify your site along the way.
If you have plugins that need to be updated, wait until you update WordPress before attempting to update the plugins. Then if your theme has a new version do that last and follow directions provided by the developer. All good themes have great support! If you don’t have support for your theme, think about getting one that does and that updates their theme often.
Up to date WordPress install + up to date, reliable plugins + up to date theme = Healthy Website!
If you have any comments to add please feel free. Happy updating! 🙂
Oh boy, I so agree. Got slammed by a phishing scam and turns out they “entered” through the door marked out-of-date theme (lost 10 sites). Uggggggggg. Even with multiple backups I had to hand-build the main site again by hand to make sure I didn’t bring in corrupted stuff. keep EVERTHING up to date.
Thank you for posting that MamaRed! This is exactly the kind of thing that can happen and EVERYTHING includes themes and plugins that you are not using. In fact, I don’t recommend keeping themes and plugins installed if you aren’t using them but if you have a reason for keeping them at least keep them up to date.