I’ve said it before and I’m likely to say it again. Your WordPress website is not a ‘set and forget’ feature of your business.
WordPress is the largest online content management system in the world with well over 75 million websites built using its software. Just like your trusty iPhone or software on your computer, websites need regular updates to ensure high levels of security are maintained, plugins are running smoothly and Google is ranking your website higher.
The most important reason is to keep your website safe.
With 27.5% of websites worldwide using WordPress you can understand why it is a mecca for hackers. Websites that run off older versions of WordPress are susceptible to hackers, who are simply there to prove their coding skills and cause mischief. New security updates are usually included with updated versions of WordPress.
Updates include improved features that allow your website to function better with superior performance.
Better performance results in better SEO and with Google as the god of the internet you want to make sure your site is organically ranked as high as possible at all times.
4. Fix bugs
Newly updated fix functionality bugs on your site ensuring that you don’t have glitches or areas of your site that don’t work.
New plugins offering better features or performance will not run on old WordPress software, so you are limiting the functionality of your site by not updating. Be aware too that every time to you update WordPress you will need to update, check and test your current plugins to ensure that they work.
What to do when updating your WordPress site
It is important to keep your software up to date on a regular basis. We recommend at the least to do it once a month. If it is not done regularly, people may report issues with the functionality. This is not due to the website suddenly playing up, it is due to the outdated plugins and software. Most web developers can help you fix these problems, but keep in mind that there will be a fee to do it.
If you haven’t updated your WordPress for a while, this process can be quite lengthy and fixing the issues can take time. If you have some WordPress knowledge, you can make these updates yourself, but beware as you can break things.
1. Update plugins
Most WordPress websites are built with plugins to allow different features to work for example a rotating banner, a gallery or even a testimonials feature. Plugins are designed by different developers who hopefully keep their plugins updates to work efficiently on the latest version of WordPress. It is best practice to regularly (monthly) keep your plugins updated as bugs that have been identified get fixed and the features run better. It can happen that the developer of the plugin has not enabled it to run efficiently on the latest version of WordPress. Test every plugin as you update it.
2. Update PHP
PHP is a programming and scripting language designed to create interactive and dynamic websites. Like WordPress, is it open source and is part of the server side of programming language. Some hosting platforms have outdated PHP code which can slow down your site. Old PHP code will adversely affect your website and there will come a time when your site will no longer function. Ensure that your PHP is kept up to date, and your WordPress website will have a much longer lifespan.
3. Update WordPress
Once you have completed the above you can then update your WordPress. Once it’s updated, you will need to check through your site to see if any of the plugins no longer work. Use the WP Rollback plugin to roll the plugin back to a version that does work on the most up to date WordPress version.
We have included “WordPress and Plugin Updating” as a new subscription feature of our services. Similar to website hosting, we charge a monthly fee for this service on a 12-month subscription. Our team of developers ensures that your site is always up to date and as safe as we can possibly make it. Please contact us if you are interested in this service and we can get an estimate out to you.
Remember, prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure!