In a world as connected as we live in today, updates are crucial to keep performance and security strong. We are constantly told to update our smartphones, computers, the apps we use etc. But if you are using a WordPress site, you might be wondering why updates are so important? The WordPress platform is tested and updated regularly to achieve the best possible performance and to avoid any security breaches. These updates can be used to discover new features, reduce the number of problems encountered and maintain a good user experience. In this article, we will see, in detail, why WordPress updates are essential.
WHY UPDATE YOUR WORDPRESS SITE?
This is a fairly common question among beginners. “If it’s not ‘broken’, why fix it? ”
Updating a WordPress site is more about being proactive than reactive. It just means that you are preventing mishaps from happening. An outdated version of WordPress may be fine, but it is not sustainable over time. Here are some advantages of updating your WordPress site:
When it comes to the security of your WordPress site, we have bad news and good news.
The bad news first: WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. This makes them a prime target for malicious people and data hackers. It doesn’t matter if your site has little content, these hackers are there to grab it – and data with it. They usually have automation tools to detect websites with security vulnerabilities. Then, they exploit these weaknesses.
Here’s the good news: malicious hackers are smart, but WordPress developers are even smarter. They work around the clock to make sure there are no security holes. As soon as bugs and flaws are discovered in WordPress, they take action. The corrections will then come to you in the form of a WordPress update.
An outdated website is no different from a house with its doors wide open. Thieves don’t even have to break and enter, they just walk in. On the other hand, an up-to-date website is like a house with the best security measures. A burglar may continue to look for loopholes to exploit, but they will not find any.
In short, whenever there is a new version, install it. The same goes for WordPress themes and plugins. Install updates as they become available.
Improved speed and performance
To improve the speed of your site, there are several dos and don’ts. You can start by updating your WordPress site. Many new versions come with improved features to increase the speed and performance of websites.
For example, WordPress block editor load time has been reduced by 14% in version 5.4 (compared to version 5.3). Also, since site speed is one of the signals used by Google’s SEO algorithm, take this aspect really seriously.
WordPress is a great CMS, the most popular in the world, but there is always room for improvement. Each major WordPress update introduces new features and improves existing ones.
For example, with the WordPress 5.4 update a year and a half ago, the CMS came with an improvement of the Gutenberg editor. These changes have made the editor more intuitive and user-friendly. Using an older version of WordPress would deprive you of these features. You will also have difficulty getting support for your (old) version of WordPress.
Every version of WordPress goes through meticulous testing. Even so, bugs can creep in. A bug is a defect or error in a computer program that causes it to produce an unwanted result. WordPress therefore regularly publishes minor updates to correct these bugs.
WordPress secure compatibility is crucial. Often times, WordPress developers release updates that ensure their plugins and / or themes do not conflict with major versions of WordPress. If you don’t update your WordPress theme, plugins, and software, you might end up with compatibility issues.
HOW TO UPDATE WORDPRESS, PLUGINS AND THEMES?
Rest assured, we are coming to the best part of this article: WordPress (as well as plugins, themes etc.) is very easy to update. When you log into your dashboard, you will see notifications informing you of available updates. And, even if you don’t log in regularly, you should receive email notifications to notify you.
Regarding plugins, do not install too many! If there are any that seem less important than in the past, feel free to uninstall them. After all, the fewer plugins and themes you have, the fewer updates you will need to make.
The update process
To get started, read first what you will get as improvements when the updates are made. This will give you an idea of what will change and what will be improved. Then, and this step is very strongly recommended, back up your WordPress site before proceeding with the update. With a backup handy, you’ll have a recent restore point to revert to if something goes wrong.
Only then do you need to update your WordPress version, theme, and / or plugins. Once the update process is complete, now is a good time to test the various newly appeared changes. A good place to start is to focus on the changes you read in the patch notes. There you have it, you have an updated and relevant version of WordPress, its themes and its plugins.