When running a site based on a content platform such as WordPress, it can be easy to think that it can be a ‘set and forget’ kind of deal where once you have everything setup how you want it, you will no longer need to be concerned with keeping your WP installation and any plugins or themes or running up to date.
To be blunt, this is not the case – and this post aims to educate you as to why its crucial to keep everything updated to ensure you have a smooth and efficient site for years to come.
First and Foremost, Security
In this day and age is easy (and rather lazy in my view) to say WordPress is not secure, and in most cases those who shout such dribble the loudest often have there own agenda/preferred CMS (haven’t we all read a post where the general message is ‘WP sucks, use this niche CMS instead’ at some point) but the truth of the matter is, with WordPress being the number 1 platform for millions of sites out there, it has an unparalleled amount of eyes on it so should any security issue arise, there are 100s of developers in the community constantly updating and refining everything so its as safe as it can be,
But this does rely on you, the site create/admin on doing your part and updating as often as you can. Typically this would mean regularly logging in to your WP admin and checking for any update notices, however there are tools which can notify you when an update is available so if you want to ensure your keeping on top of things, but with a more ‘hands-off’ approach, check out WP Updates Notifier over on wp.org.
You could be missing out on New Features
Now I cant speak for all themes/developers, but here at TommusRhodus we love adding cool new features and functions to our themes (just check out how much we have added to Stack in the short space since launch – with more to come!)
If your using an outdated version of a theme or plugin then you will no doubt be missing out on new features, bug fixes and much more.
Avoid Needless Downtime
This may seem like an unlikely scenario for most, but what spurred me to create this post was a user who came to us asking for support as they recent updated there core WP version but experienced the dreaded white screen of death – the cause of this was apparent as soon as I took a look.
In this case the user was using a VERY old version of WordPress (4.1 I believe) and as well as a large number of plugins (both free and premium) but has ignored all updated for years – meaning when they did decide to bring things up to date, the old, old versions of each plugin where simply not able to work with the latest version of WordPress.
The result was a day or so of downtime where essentially all plugins where manually disabled, and then one by one updated to bring them inline with current standards. Whilst this story has a happy ending, if your running a business online, having any downtime (especially for such an avoidable reason) is needless and could cost you some serious money.
Im Lazy, Really Lazy, What Are My Options?
Now, I want to point out that this is not an approach id suggest anyone should take, but, in the interest of at least offering an option for those out there who want a hands-off approach there is a plugin which can help keep your plugins and core WP file updated without any intervention from you (though be aware this cant work for most premium Themes, only those hosting on wp.org and such) – if this is something you would like to implement in your site(s) check our Advanced Automatic Updates from the plugin repository.
Ok so thats it for this post – if you have a cool method or tool you like to use for keeping your WordPress sites in tip-top shape, why not share them in the comments below? Im always interesting in how our users tackle things 🙂