If you’re not running the latest version of WordPress, then you’re putting your website at risk. Hackers actively target sites that have fallen behind with their updates, but installing a new release could cause errors and incompatibilities on your site, too. You might sometimes feel like you have to choose between security and uptime.
Fortunately, by taking a few precautions and using our ManageWP Safe Updates, you can have the best of both worlds. With a backup in place, you can quickly restore your site if something goes wrong, then fix the problem so you can upgrade your WordPress version without fear.
In this article, we’ll explore why you should always install new versions of WordPress as soon as they become available. We’ll then share the secret to updating the platform safely. Let’s get started!
Why it’s important to update WordPress
WordPress powers well over 30 percent of websites, which makes it a popular target for hackers. In fact, approximately 86 percent of sites are compromised due to an outdated plugin, theme, or WordPress version.
WordPress is open source, which means anyone can study its code:
This is what enables developers to create such amazing and valuable plugins and themes, as well as contribute to new core features. However, it also lets hackers find security loopholes.
New versions of the Content Management System (CMS) routinely include security patches for known vulnerabilities. If you don’t update all your site’s components, you’re leaving the door wide open to hackers.
New releases of WordPress also sometimes introduce performance improvements and new features. You should assume that your competitors are already reaping the benefits of these innovations. If you don’t update to the latest version, then you’re putting your website at a significant disadvantage.
Finally, new releases of WordPress often address bugs and incompatibilities with third-party themes and plugins. If you’re experiencing issues with a theme, plugin, or any other add-on, then check that you’re using the latest version of each extension and the CMS.
Potential drawbacks of WordPress updates
Despite the benefits, installing a new version of WordPress isn’t always straightforward. Although it’s rare, you may encounter data loss, errors, or even a broken website following an update.
Updating WordPress core can sometimes cause conflicts with essential themes and plugins. We saw this recently when a jQuery conflict in WordPress 5.5 reportedly caused issues with around 2,400 WordPress plugins.
Since many themes and plugins are developed by third parties, there’s no guarantee they’ll be compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Ideally, developers will be monitoring key resources such as the WordPress roadmap and Make WordPress Core to prepare for future releases, but this isn’t always the case.
Many WordPress themes and plugins are distributed for free. They’re also often maintained by a
This article was written by Will Morris and originally published on ManageWP.