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WordPress updates – How important are they?

If you log into your website on a regular basis you’ll have noticed there are often notifications of various plugins that need updating, or maybe even WordPress itself.

The general rule of thumb is that you don’t need to update WordPress after every update is released, but that it should be done once a year. Updating WordPress usually only takes a couple of minutes to do, but it’s an action that could save you hours of time and a lot of money restoring your site. If you continually run out-dated versions of the WordPress core and plugins then you are more susceptible to things going wrong.

 

There are 4 main reason for actioning WordPress updates

1. Security
The main reason for updating WordPress, and indeed any computer software or system, is security. Hackers look for system vulnerabilities, so maintaining up to date systems is crucial in keeping a step ahead of hackers. With WordPress being used for millions of websites, it’s a popular target for hackers, but fortunately security is very good. Prevention is better than cure and WordPress updates are the developer’s way of preventing problems before they start. If you choose not to update regularly you do increase your risk.

 

2. Useability
WordPress updates not only improve security, they also fix little bugs that may provide a less than flawless user experience. Updates will improve your websites usability and performance, which is great for you and your visitors.

 

3. Future proofing
There will come a time when you will want to add extra functionality to your website or upgrade it in some way. If you have let WordPress get very out of date, it’s possible that new plugins of extensions may not even run on your site. It is normally safer to gradually upgrade things as time goes by, rather than perform a major and significant upgrade of a very out-of-date system.

 

4. Features
WordPress updates are free, so it makes sense to gain the latest features. WordPress is continually evolving, adding more features and improving the ease of use.

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It’s a good idea to backup your WordPress files before performing an update. It is rare for updates to cause a problem, but it does happen.

Depending on the complexity of your website you could have dozens of plugins working harmoniously together, only to have some unexpected conflict occur when updating. It can be a frustrating experience if something major goes wrong that knocks out your website.

You don’t need to stress over every little update. But you should be prepared to update on a regular basis for your own protection.

It’s a lot simpler to update your website every so often than to deal with a hacked site.

 

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