wordpress automatic updates

What you need to know about WordPress auto updates

If you are running a WordPress website (which most of you are) then here’s some good news. In the past it was a manual process to update WordPress whenever core updates came out. As of a couple of months ago WordPress will now update itself automatically when a new version is released. Why is this good? You don’t have to worry about lagging behind with feature updates, but most importantly you will be immediately protected as security updates are released.

Look at all the improvements made to WordPress V3.9, just released today:

  • A smoother media editing experience
  • Improved visual editing – speed, accessibility, and mobile support
  • Edit images easily – quicker access to crop and rotation tools, scale images directly in the editor
  • Drag and drop your images right onto the editor
  • Image gallery previews right in the editor
  • Showcase music and clips with simple audio and video playlists
  • Live widget and header image previews in the Customiser
  • Stunning new theme browser



The pro’s and con’s of  WordPress auto updates

However, there are always pro’s and con’s with everything. With any update to WordPress, automatic or otherwise, there is a very small risk of something on your website not working like it used to prior to the update. Nevertheless the con’s in this case certainly do not outweigh the pro’s.

Any time programming code is updated in one area of the site there is a possibility that it will cause some sort of conflict or incompatibility with code in another part of the site. As web designers we don’t know how WordPress will change and improve in the future, what coding changes are required to combat future security threats, or how this will impact existing websites.



Auto updates are now the default setting

For the record, WordPress has set automatic updates as the default setting for all new installs of WordPress and has taken effect since the update to WordPress V3.7. This is not something we have decided to do, rather it has been deemed the best course of action by the developers of WordPress.

If you notice anything not working as it used to on your website after a WordPress or plugin update please contact us so that we can rectify it. Often it is a relatively simple matter to fix these small issues and the cost required to do so is minimal. It’s certainly a lot more desirable to keep the site code up to date and have to fix the occasional glitch caused by the upgrade, than to leave potential holes in your website’s security. A compromised site can be expensive to fix and result in significant inconvenience and downtime.

Hackers seem to have been particularly active lately with brute force attacks happening worldwide, and then the recent discovery of a vulnerability in SSL that had far reaching consequences. It’s increasingly important to keep your site updated with the latest in security, much the same way as your computers anti-virus protection is constantly updating. I’m sure you keep that up to date, don’t you?



But you do have a choice…

While we strongly recommend you continue with this auto update feature, if you do not want auto updates we can disable these. Please contact us if you wish to continue manually updating your site.

You may also wish to consider additional backup procedures that provide an additional level of protection if something does go wrong.


By Aaron Enright


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