Why It’s Important to Keep Your WordPress Website up to Date
By Brad Stitgen
When the software on your cell phone, laptop computer or smartwatch is updated it’s usually a good idea to install the latest version of the software. The same goes for the WordPress software powering your WordPress website. Here’s why…
There are 3 main reasons for upgrading WordPress. The first, and probably the most obvious reason is so you can enjoy the latest and greatest new features and upgrades to the software. WordPress is constantly adding new features and improving existing features to WordPress core.
The second reason to stay current with your WordPress installation is so that you can install or continue to use the latest versions of your favorite plugins. As new versions of WordPress are introduced actively updated plugins are modified to work with the latest releases of WordPress. If you get too far behind in your WordPress updates you run the risk of not being able to run the latest release of your favorite plugins.
While the first two reasons are important. What if you’re happy with the way the site currently functions? What if you don’t have any need for any of the new features in the latest version? If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
In a word… Security. All content management systems, or any website for that matter, are vulnerable to hackers. Since WordPress is currently the most popular CMS today it’s important to keep it updated as it can be a target for hackers.
One of the great thins about WordPress is its large user base and active development community which quickly issues new versions of the software when security flaws are discovered. In fact, most cases of hacked WordPress websites are due to not keeping up with installing the latest release.
For this reason, it’s important to keep your WordPress site up to date and to keep your website data regularly backed up. This is especially true if you are continually adding content to your site such as with a blog site.
UPGRADING WORDPRESS IS EASY
Fortunately, updating WordPress is that it’s simple and straightforward. It’s done directly in the WordPress admin area. Unlike some other CMS’s that require knowledge of FTP and the like, in WordPress, you just click on an update link and WordPress does all the work.
The important thing is that you have a BACKUP OF YOUR WEBSITE before doing this (WordPress itself will warn you about this) and you test your website immediately after the upgrade.
Personally, I have never run into a problem with my plug-ins after a WordPress update since I stick to mainstream actively updated plugins whenever possible. If a plug-in were to be found to be incompatible you may need to disable that plug-in and look for an alternate.