Keeping your WordPress website up to date is part of owning and protecting your WordPress website. WordPress websites that are not updated are at risk to be hacked.
While it would make it easier if all the updates came at one time, they don’t. Your theme, each plugin installed on your website, and WordPress itself have different teams of developers. All of these teams of developers are working hard to make sure WordPress, your theme and all of your plugins are the best they can be. This can include adding functionality, fixing security issues or just making sure the theme or plugin works with WordPress core updates.
When a theme, plugin or WordPress core has a security vulnerability, the appropriate team works hard to fix the problem. This also means that if you are maintaining a website, these updates can come at any time. Some plugins have a setting that allows auto updates. This can help, but is also a risk if the update conflicts with another plugin or theme and breaks your website. If the update is done manually, you know exactly which theme, plugin or WordPress core update is responsible for the problem.
How do you know when you have updates waiting?
Look for red circles with numbers in them that tell you how many updates you have on any screen in the admin area including the Dashboard. Notice the red circle with the number 1 in the lefthand menu next to Updates. Also notice the number 1 at the top of the screen next to the update icon.
If you have any plugins that need to be updated, there will be a red circle with a number next to the Plugins menu item in the lefthand menu (not shown in this example).
How to make your updates.
Always remember to make a backup of your website before making any updates. With a plugin like BackupBuddy from iThemes.com, you can rollback to a previous backup if something goes wrong when you make your updates.
When you click on the Updates menu item or the top Updates icon menu item, you will be taken to the following WordPress Updates screen:
- Shows you that there is 1 update waiting.
- Also show you that there is 1 update waiting.
- Reminds you to make a backup before updating. This is a message that is displayed with the BackupBuddy plugin.
- This is where any plugins that need to be updated are listed.
- This is where any themes that need to be updated are listed.
- To make an update, click the checkbox next to the theme or plugin (these must be done separately) you want to update and click on either the Update Themes button (as shown in this example) or the Update Plugins button.
- If your WordPress version needs to be updated, notification appears just above the Plugins section.
Be safe and keep your WordPress website up to date!