How often do I need to update WordPress?
For my clients, I recommend taking a website care plan which includes all WordPress updates. If you are managing your own site then WordPress, the plugins and the Genesis Framework should be updated at a minimum every few months. A bit like getting your car serviced, you need to do it regularly.
Be aware, upgrading may break your site, for example, if a plugin or a piece of code in your theme isn’t compatible with the new code. You don’t need to rush to upgrade as soon as there is a release (unless it is a security upgrade): a website will continue functioning just fine.
Many web designers express concern about allowing the clients to upgrade themselves. I have many clients who manage almost all the aspects of a site themselves, especially if it is a basic installation.
If you would like to manage upgrades yourself, I recommend that you have a recent backup of your site (files and database) and to record what you upgraded, then if the worse comes to the worse and you get a white screen or a long list of PHP errors, it will make it much faster for us to help you. Upgrade at your own risk! A great deal of mess can be avoided if upgrading is done by someone who knows what he or she is doing.
We offer WordPress Services. Contact me if you would like upgrades done or something has gone wrong when you upgraded.
If you run multi-site, a busy e-commerce site or have custom plugins or unique solutions, I strongly recommend that you get us to do the more regular upgrades on a staging site first. A staging site is a copy of your live site, testing everything before any changes are made on the live site.
There are 4 reasons why you need to keep update WordPress
1. Increase security
All websites are vulnerable to being hacked. WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) today, that makes it a target for hackers. On the other side, it means WordPress has a large user base and an active development community who quickly issues new versions to deal with any areas of vulnerability.
The vast majority of hacked WordPress sites are websites that have not kept up with the latest installation of WordPress.
Dealing with a hacked site is costly, not only in terms of website services but also it’s bad for business. No one wants a customer to navigate to their business website and find a Russian porn site in its place.
I recommend that my clients keep the WordPress website up to date. For small websites that contain mostly static content, I find 6 monthly updates or a minimum of once a year is sufficient.
2. Fix any bugs
Updates to WordPress, your plugins and theme framework, often include bug fixes that were discovered in previous versions. To get the fixes, you need to update.
3. Add features and functionality
Updates often include adding features and functionality. That also includes just keeping up with outside factors that are changing, eg Google analytics or Facebook etc.
4. Keep control of your site with regular maintenance
Not only is it well worth keeping the software on your website all up to date, it creates an opportunity for you to do a review of your site:
- Is all the content up to date?
- What new content would it be good to add?
- Do some testing – is everything working properly – broken links, contact forms, navigation, social media connections?
- How are my website statistics doing?
- Do I have a recent backup?
- Is the website achieving what I want it to achieve?
- Am I happy with my WordPress Hosting Company?
Learn More about WordPress on the Blog
- Setting up a local staging site for WordPress
- WordPress Attachment Pages
- A few of my favourite WordPress Plugins for Images