Keeping WordPress up to Date is Important

In this article:
Not everyone has time, or more importantly the desire, to research and update their WordPress site on a regular basis. Let us do it for you.

Why it is Important to Keep WordPress Up to Date?

There are over 1 billion websites that make up the internet and around 35% of them are powered by WordPress. The popularity of WordPress makes it a perfect choice for hackers around the world that are crawling the internet looking for out of date WordPress sites. They use automated scripts to gain access to your site with the intention of stealing your customers’ information, installing malware, or even worse, turn it into porn. The end result is a damaged reputation for your business and lost customers.

The same way you keep your mobile apps updated, your WordPress website also needs timely updates to remain functional without any glitches. According to WordPress, only 36% of users have the most recent version installed, while the rest of the owners may probably not aware of its importance or have not made the time to do the updates.

For example, if a security issue has been resolved in the latest version, but you have not upgraded yet, your website becomes vulnerable to  hackers.  Once the security flaw is known, hackers can easily develop ways to exploit the flaw.  They crawl the internet looking for web sites that are not running the latest versions, and can hack your site in no time.

What Happens if I do not Upgrade my site?

Creating relationships with your customers, and fulfilling their needs is the top priority for any small business. Not everyone has time, or more importantly the desire, to research and update their WordPress site on a regular basis. It requires that your pause what you are doing and apply the update, and test to make sure nothing is broken. If something is broken, then that problem needs to be researched and fixed too. Unfortunately, all of this needs to be done in a timely manner. 

The longer you wait, the higher chance of one or more of the following things can happen:

  • Your website gets hacked, and attempts to install malware on your customers’ computer.
  • Even worse, your site is hacked to becomes a porn site.
  • Increased chances of something breaking when finally apply the update(s).
  • A theme or plugin changes or becomes difficult to update.
  • Increased complexity and time required to troubleshoot problems during the update.
  • Potential negative impact on Search Engine ranking.
  • Loss of business or customer data.

Any one of these things could cost you customers and increase the time and expense of updating your site.

Auto Updates for Plugins and Themes. What are the Pros & Cons?

Plugins are can also contain security flaws that allow hackers to gain access to your site. If you go to the plugin or theme pages in the administrator section of WordPress you will be able to see which ones have an available update . Plugins or themes with active development may create new releases fairly often. Again, these updates need to be done as soon as possible and tested to make sure they work.
WordPress has a feature to allow plugins to be automatically updated, which is recommended, for simple plugins that are not updated often. This is a nice feature that prevents you from constantly checking to see if you have updates that need to be installed. Most of the time auto updates go smoothly will not create a problem, however you should still do some basic testing. Making sure that the email system of your website is properly configured is critical here. Notifications, will be sent when these automatic updates happen. More complex plugins, like WooCommerce, should be done manually to make sure everything is goes smoothly. Web Workbench can help you resolve any problems that occur during this process, or help get your email configuration properly setup.

Why Upgrade to WordPress 5?

The most current version of WordPress 5.x. If your website is running on 4 or less versions then you should consider upgrading to version 5 as soon as you can. Unless you have had custom programming done to your website, most of your plugins and themes will be compatible. Before doing an upgrade to version 5 a full backup should be done. Once everything has been updated, more thorough testing will be need to make sure everything is working properly. These upgrades are more complex than updating a plugin or theme.  

Check out our WordPress Development Services or contact us, we can help.

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