Why You Should Have the Latest Version of WordPress

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When maintaining a website, there are many things to keep in mind. Taking care of the updates is among the most crucial of them. Because WordPress is a constantly evolving platform – it is important to always keep it up to date to ensure that it’s functioning in a most smooth and efficient way possible. Therefore, we have decided to examine three most essential updates-related questions: what, why and how.  

What You Should Keep Updated?

It is not enough to update the WordPress alone. There are three main components that need to be taken care of:

    • WordPress itself,
    • Plugins,
    • Themes.

Keeping track of all available updates may sound difficult, especially if you are using a lot of plugins and multiple themes. However, it is, in fact, easier than you think, for you can manage all of the updates from a single screen. All you have to do is visit the ‘Updates’ section of the WordPress dashboard and find how many of them are available (number also appears in the bar at the top of your screen on all the pages of your site when you are logged in) and which components need to be updated.

Moreover, in case there are new versions of WordPress, you will see a notification at the top of almost every page of your administration panel. For minor releases of both WordPress itself and some plugins automatic updates are available, we will talk about this in more detail later.

Why You Need to Keep Your Site Up to Date?

Many users, satisfied with the performance and functionality of their current WordPress installations, feel like updates are unnecessary, and are reluctant to perform them. But new features is not the only reason to upgrade the site. The three main motivation factors are:

Increased Security

Due to the fact that WordPress is an open source tool – security vulnerabilities are usually found and attended to quickly. This is the case with both the platform itself and the most popular plugins. When an issue is identified and fixed – a new update is usually released. None of this, of course, is going to help, unless you regularly update your plugins, themes and WordPress itself.

Fix Bugs

Software bugs can come in many shapes and sizes. They can be huge – disrupting the functioning of the product altogether, or tiny – affecting only a part of the program. However even the smallest bugs may result in serious security holes – therefore, they have to be fixed. Updates help to eliminate the bugs discovered in previous versions.

Improved Features

Even though new features are not always the main reason for updating your site – they come as a pleasant bonus too. For example, WordPress 4.1 release offers a new default theme called Twenty Fifteen, distraction-free writing feature, admin language switching, plugins recommendations and other neat features.

How You Can Update Your Site?

Now that we have outlined the components and the reasons for updates – let’s look at the ways perform them.  

Automatic Updates

As it has been mentioned earlier, for minor versions WordPress itself and some of the plugins update automatically. This means that all of the upgrades are installed to every WordPress site using the previous release. These advancements help to increase the overall performance and stability of the site.

The drawback of this method is that it may cause compatibility issues, and some of the components may stop functioning properly.

Updating Manually

It is also possible to update the site manually from the  Updates screen. To do so – simply select the checkboxes next to the components you wish to update and click the Update button below. In case you need to update a large number of plugins, or you want to updating WordPress itself, it is highly recommended to make a backup first.

As you can see, keeping your WordPress installation, plugins and themes up to date is of crucial importance for successful site management and ensuring it works properly.

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