Updating WordPress

Are you wondering whether updating WordPress to the latest version is the best idea?

Would you like to know the pros and cons of updating WordPress?

In this article, we will explain why it is crucial that you always use the latest version of WordPress as well as show you how to properly update WordPress.

WordPress is free, and it is developed by a community of developers. With each new release, they fix bugs, add new features, improve performance, and enhance existing features to stay up to date with new industry standards.
So in other words, when you do not update your WordPress site, you are risking your website security and missing out on new features / improvements.

Let’s take a look at pros and cons of updating WordPress.

1. Security

Security is arguably the most important reason why you should keep your WordPress website up to date.
WordPress currently powers 23% of all websites in the world. Due to it’s immense popularity, WordPress is a popular target for hackers, malicious code distributors, data thieves, and wanna be hackers.

Since WordPress is open source, anyone can study the source code to learn and improve it. However it also means that hackers can study it too and find ways to break into websites.

Now the good part is that not all hackers are bad. There are a lot more good hackers than bad ones which means that security experts around the world can study the code and properly report security bugs / fixes. Every time a security vulnerability is reported, the core WordPress team works diligently to release an update that fixes the issue.

This means that if you are not using the latest version of WordPress, then you are using software with known security vulnerabilities. Hackers can search for websites running the older version, and you may become a victim of a sophisticated attack.

Not just WordPress itself, plugins can also be exploited by hackers. You need to make sure that all your WordPress plugins, themes, and the core itself is always up to date.

2. Cool New Features

Each major WordPress release comes with new features and changes to the software. For example, WordPress 4.0 came with improved plugin install experience, 4.1 introduced inline image editing, and 4.2 came with faster plugin updates.
WordPress 4.2 introduced faster plugin updates.

Now if you were using an older version of WordPress, then your WordPress experience would be a lot different than someone using the latest version.
You will have trouble finding WordPress help online because you are using an older version. Users on WordPress support forums will assume that you are using the latest version of WordPress.

3. Speed

Each new WordPress version improves performance. WordPress developers are always trying to make things faster. Each new release comes with several performance improvements that makes WordPress run faster and more efficient.

For example, WordPress 4.2 improved JS performance for navigation menus, and WordPress 4.1 improved complex queries which helped with performance of sites using those queries.

Since speed is a huge factor in SEO, you should definitely keep your WordPress updated to ensure maximum performance benefits.

4. Bug Fixes

Older WordPress versions may have bugs. Despite the rigorous testing of major WordPress releases, sometimes bugs may slip through the cracks. That’s why there are timely minor WordPress releases (the ones with X.X.X) to account for that. For example, the most recent WordPress 4.2.3 update fixed 20 bugs from the 4.2 release.

Now if you go to WordPress support forums asking for help, the first advice you will get is to update WordPress because that may fix the issue. If you insist on not updating WordPress, then you will be unable to receive help.

5. Compatibility (or NOT)

Often plugin and theme developers coordinate their updates with major WordPress releases to ensure they’re taking advantage of newly available features and enhancements.

However in some cases, an update can break your existing WordPress plugins if they weren’t following the best practices and coding standards.

This is why it is crucial that you keep regular WordPress backups. To sum this up, the only downside is that in some rare cases your site will break. However the upside is that you have:

A. Improved WordPress security
B. Cool new WordPress features
C. Faster WordPress experience
D. A bug free WordPress website
E. Better compatibility

Now that you know why it’s important to keep your WordPress site updated, let’s take a look at how to update WordPress.

How to Keep Your WordPress Site Updated

Updating your WordPress core, plugins, and themes whenever there is a new update for them is fairly easy. WordPress comes with a built-in update notification system. It highlights the number of available updates when you log into your WordPress dashboard.

All you need to do is visit Dashboard » Updates page and install those updates. This is a one-click process.

However since many website owners do not login to their WordPress dashboard daily, they may not even know that there is an update available for days. Thankfully, you have a few options.

If you’re using WordPress 3.7 or above, then automatic updates are turned on for minor releases (which are reserved for security and bugfixes). You can turn on automatic updates for major releases, plugins as well as themes.
Alternatively, you can get email notifications when there is a new update for your WordPress site.

Get Email Notifications for Updates in WordPress

When you’re busy running your business, logging into your site to check for updates is usually the last thing on your mind. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could get an email notification whenever there is an update on your WordPress sites?
Well that’s possible.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Updates Notifier plugin. Upon activation, visit Settings » Updates Notifier to configure the plugin settings.

WordPress update notification plugin settings

This plugin uses WordPress cron to check your site for updates every hour. You can change that to once or twice daily. When there is a new update available, this plugin will send you an email notification.

By default it checks for WordPress core update, plugin updates, and theme updates. All you need to do is click on save settings with test email button.

Avoid These 5 WordPress Mistakes

With all the options available to you with WordPress it’s easy to make mistakes that can have effects ranging from minor to catastrophic. Here are 5 of the most common wordpress mistakes.

WordPress mistakes and how you can avoid them:

1. Not Updating WordPress

You may not like to be an early-adopter, but with WordPress it’s important to update when new releases are published. There have been over a dozen different releases of

WordPress in the last eighteen months, some of these releases were security based and others maintenance releases. What this means is that a bug or security vulnerability

was identified and WordPress released a fix for it. Unless there is some compelling reason for you not to update (such as plugins which aren’t yet compatible) then it’s always

best to update to the latest release especially when they include security or bug fixes.

With WordPress version 3.7 came Updates while you sleep so if you’re running that version or higher you shouldn’t have to worry about updating WordPress, it should update

automatically. I strongly recommend you back up your site before applying any updates.

2. Not Updating Plugins

Developers update their plugins to release new features, to stay up to date with the latest version of WordPress, and to fix bugs or patch security problems. If you aren’t

updating your plugins when you see the update notice (on the Updates page under Dashboard), you are setting yourself up for potential problems and frustrations. It’s a good

idea to update your plugins one at a time and check your site between each update since occasionally there can be conflicts between plugins.I also strongly recommend you

back up your site before applying any plugin updates.

3. Not Backing Up Your Site

This goes hand in hand with points 1 & 2, and goes far beyond simply backing up your database. Before you update to the next version of WordPress, or start updating

plugins, it’s a smart idea to run a full backup of your site. The easiest, most efficient way of doing this is using BackupBuddy, a premium WordPress plugin from iThemes.

I recommend BackupBuddy because it doesn’t just back up your WordPress database, it backs up your entire WordPress installation – plugins, themes, settings, widgets,

etc. It also includes a super-easy restoration feature, so if the unthinkable happens – your entire site goes down or gets hacked – you can have your site up and running again

within minutes using your latest backup. And it’s completely in your control.

The other reason I like to use BackupBuddy is because it’s virtually idiot-proof. We can set it to backup to an off-site storage solution automatically, at specified intervals, so

we don’t have to depend on ourselves to remember to get the job done. Regardless of what backup solution or strategy you use, you want to: 1. perform full backups; 2.

perform them on a consistent, frequent basis; 3. store your backups some place safe, other than on your own server; and 4. make sure you know how to restore from a

backup. CLICK HERE for more info on this.

 

4. Not Using SEO Effectively

Most site owners never bother with search engine optimisation, instead utilising the “I hope it works” approach. In today’s online world, getting noticed is critical. One of the

best ways to get noticed is to have your site pop up in search engine results.

There’s a lot to know about SEO, but you want to make sure you at least cover the basics. Set your site title and description, and configure the SEO settings for the primary

pages you want to drive traffic to. If you want more details on critical SEO settings to configure, visit SemperPlugins.com and sign up for our free ebook: SEO Tips: 5 Things

Every WordPress Owner Must Know.

If all the SEO information out there seems overwhelming which it can since it changes constantly the All in One SEO Pack Pro plugin makes it easier. All in One SEO Pack

Pro is a simple to use SEO plugin for your WordPress site or blog. You can set site-wide defaults as well as customise the search engine settings for each individual page

and post, controlling exactly what appears in the search engine results. All of this without having to touch a line of code! Because it’s easy to use right out of the box you can

start improving your search engine results right away.

5. Not Having an XML Sitemap

Sitemaps were originally created for the users of a website so that they could see an index of that site for easier navigation to the pages they wanted to visit. However, in 2005

Google released an XML format for sitemaps that was designed for search engines, allowing them to index a site easily and navigate the site faster and more efficiently. These

XML sitemaps are more important now than ever because of their ability to identify new content and how it is structured. The good news is that the All in One SEO Pack Pro

includes an XML Sitemap generator module which makes it easy for you to create, update and manage your XML Sitemap.