WordPress updates

Whilst WordPress is easy to use it’s important to understand that it’s a complex piece of software that needs regular attention to stay at its best.

What makes a WordPress website?

WordPress can be thought of as having three main parts; WordPress itself, Plugins and Themes.

WordPress

WordPress is an Open Source project, available for free to download and use. The team behind WordPress are volunteers, some of the best developers on the planet give their time for free and contribute to the project. WordPress is actively improved and updated every day, and regular updates are offered to users of WordPress to take advantage of. The updates can be minor, major or fix security issues.

Plugins

Plugins are used to add new functionality to WordPress sites, extending it beyond what it does as standard. Adding forums, shops, contact forms etc. is all possible using Plugins. It’s important to remember that Plugins work with WordPress, they wouldn’t work without WordPress being present.

Themes

Themes control the look or design of your website, this is the part that visitors to your website see. Themes, just like Plugins, work with WordPress, relying on it to display your content.

Why so many updates?

Because Plugins and Themes work with WordPress, interacting with it, when updates are made to WordPress itself this sometimes has a knock on effect to Plugins and Themes.

When a Plugin or Theme is first written it will be using features from whatever version of WordPress was available at that time. As WordPress is updated and improved sometimes these features may be changed. This means that any Plugins or Themes that used or relied on these features may need adjusting to continue to work as intended.

Developers have access to the latest version of WordPress before it’s released to the public, meaning they have time to check their Plugins and Themes will work with the latest version, and update things if this isn’t the case.

So sometimes, especially after a major update to WordPress, you’ll see lots of Plugins and Themes needing updates.

Why should I update?

WordPress is an evolving project, one of it’s strengths is that it’s continually improved. Sometimes the improvements make using WordPress easier, sometimes the updates make it more secure. Technology is constantly changing, using WordPress is one way to stay up to date with the changes.

My approach to WordPress updates

  • Check if any Plugins or Themes used have compatibility issues against the latest WordPress version.
  • Backup the website so I can roll back quickly to a working copy should a problem occur.
  • If the updates are minor run through these in turn on the live website, testing between each one.
  • If the updates are major then test first on a local copy of the website before working on the live website.

WordPress updates are included in both the Personal Plan and Professional Plan.