Keeping your WordPress website updated is key for site security and stability. Out of date plugins, themes, and even the WordPress core, can contain exploitable vulnerabilities. A site’s features (like forms or image galleries), if not updated, can experience problems, and the look of your site can be affected by an out of date theme.
All the components of a WordPress website work best together when fully updated. And the longer a site goes without updates, the more difficult updating the site can be.
By the same token, a mistake by a plugin or theme developer can cause a problem with a site, so monitoring your site is important. You will see any changes first, and can take the steps to correct them.
Okay, so how do you update a site? It’s really pretty simple.
First, backup your site! If you aren’t backing up your site on a regular basis, then you need to start!
Once you are logged into the WordPress dashboard (usually at your site URL with “/wp-admin” added to the end of it.) you will see a list of items on the left side of your browser window. Hover over Dashboard at the top, and click Updates. If your site has updates, then you will see a red circle with a number indicating how many updates are waiting.
On the Update page, you will see a list of plugins, themes, and WordPress itself at the top. You will always update plugins first, then themes, and finally, if needed, you can update the WordPress core, too.
If your website host has a staging platform available (and if you are hosted with us, we have staging included), it is best to make your updates there. Then you can inspect your site, and make sure everything looks good before you apply the updates to the live site.
If it has been a while since you last updated your site, take it in steps. Update a single item at a time, then look at your site. If there is a problem, it is easier to identify the source this way.
In no time, you will have an updated, secure site!
If you are hosting your site with Ladder Creative, here are a few links to some information our hosting partner has that can be helpful.