WordPress Plugin Updates
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
WordPress is in a constant state of development. This means that even once a plugin is released, it will usually have ongoing support that fixes bugs, adds new features, streamlines the code or optimises it to work with new WordPress releases. These updates are provided free of charge, and it’s important to keep all your plugins up to date to ensure you have the best and newest developments working for your site. Letting your plugins get old or dysfunctional can be a major headache. In particular, they become more susceptible to bugs or hacks that have been discovered and abused by online hoodlums. WordPress developers are constantly on the lookout for these and developing fixes, but they only come into effect if you update your software.
However when you do update, it’s important to do so correctly. When updating the WordPress CMS software itself, always make a back up of your entire website. It’s possible for things to go wrong, and if you don’t have a way to restore your old site it can be a nightmare to fix. Follow the official instructions carefully if you need to make a manual update, however with certain builds or hosts you will be able to update automatically.
Plugin updates are almost always automatic (however you need to manually check for and instigate them), however it’s still a good idea to be cautious. Update one at a time and thoroughly check to make sure nothing has broken before moving onto the next. It’s difficult to trouble shoot if you make more than one change before checking.
It can also be a good idea to do a quick search into the plugin name and version that you will be updating to – sometimes there’s a bug or issue that developers don’t catch and it will usually be all over various tech help forums if it’s a widespread issue. Sometimes it’s better to hold off and wait for the next update if the problem is really major.
Plugin updates aren’t released on any particular schedule, as it’s up to each individual developer to create and release them. Check regularly to see if any updates have come out is best practice, but at the very least, scheduling a day every 6-12 months to routinely go through and make any updates is essential. If you don’t, you risk exposing your site to serious security threats as well as missing out on improved functionality and features.
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