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Why update WordPress and plugins

Question: What is the reason for updating your WordPress version and plugins?

Answers:

  • Security
    WordPress and plugins are all software and under constant development, improvement and enhanced security. Hackers wage a constant attack on websites in order to break-in and inject malware code to their own ends. They are always looking for vulnerabilities to exploit and believe me they are good at it! They trawl the net for news of a vulnerability, a chink in a software’s armour. If you don’t update your software hackers will get in and wreak havoc.WordPress addresses these weaknesses very quickly and publishes updates to combat any deficiency. To a lesser level so do the authors of (most) plugins. I say most because plugins are created by third parties who may or may not be vigilant. Some plugins may not have been improved in many years and, as such, they are potentially riddled full of holes for ne’er-do-wells to wriggle into.
    Well maintained software from developers on the ball will address vulnerabilities and alter code to deal with the threat and issue an update.
    If you do not install these updates you leave yourself open to attack. Sooner or later your site will be hacked. Every time I have been called in to deal with a hacked site, without fail, I have found outdated plugins or WordPress versions many years old. PLEASE UPDATE promptly or else risk disaster!
  • Added functions
    Dedicated developers are always looking to improve their software with new features to stay ahead of the competition especially in the case of premium plugins. changes to coding standards and operating systems will add new functions or deprecate obsolete ones so keeping abreast is crucial to the longevity and success of any software. To take advantage of these enhancements always update.
  • Bug fixes
    Because plugins are third party products there will inevitably be the occasional clash between plugins, CMS platforms and operating systems causing bugs, glitches and odd behaviours on websites. Developers, wanting their products to be as compatible as possible will produce updates to address these issues and hopefully make sure that any gremlins are eradicated.

Recommended WordPress and plugin update process:

  1. Read any release notes to find out see what the update changes.
  2. To be absolutely safe, test the update on a separate or development site. That will protect your live website if anything goes “clunk”. I accept this is not always possible so if not please make sure you follow the next step – Backup.
  3. I pay for and always install the premium plugin BackupBuddy on all my client sites as an added service included in my hosting plans. PLEASE USE IT. Back up your site before installing any update. If anything does go wrong at least you will be able to restore your site within about 30 minutes.
    FAILURE TO BACKUP CAN MEAN THE PERMANENT AND IRREVERSIBLE LOSS OF YOUR SITE!
  4. Install all updates.
  5. Test your website and make sure there are no peculiarities or crashes.

If you find updating a chore or are not confident then I am more than happy to do this for you as part of a maintenance agreement. Call 07788 931 511 for details

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