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Beware Updating Your Site’s WordPress and Plugins

Posted on September 6, 2019 by Jeff Pollard

I think we can all admit that we live in an electronic-heavy world, and at times keeping up with our various devices can become a hassle. Each day, you probably receive multiple prompts to update your devices. Smartphones seem to need something updated every day, and our computers remind us almost weekly with updates. Not to mention our smart watches, smart TVs, internet-connected refrigerators, and even the Roomba. You’re probably so used to seeing these prompts that it has become second nature to approve them without thinking twice.

As if your personal devices weren’t enough, when you log in to your website’s WordPress Admin you may periodically be prompted to update that software as well. After all, you probably realize that software updates are pushed out periodically to patch security exploits and fix bugs. But before you go pushing that update button, hold your horses, my fearless updating friend! I’m here to tell you that you should exercise extreme caution when updating the software on your WordPress site.

The truth is, many WordPress updates are minor and won’t cause any problems. But every once in a while, WordPress releases a major software update that has the potential to wreak havoc on your website if the update is installed. A great example of this is when WordPress version 5 was released in December 2018. One of WordPress version 5’s primary features is a brand new editor interface called Gutenberg. This new editor represents a major change to how the visual editor looks and works and will definitely cause confusion if you update your site and are unprepared for the change.

In addition to your site’s WordPress core software, if your site has any plugins installed (and it likely does), those will periodically have updates released as well. Again, I would urge you to exercise caution when attempting to update them. In fact, plugins typically receive major updates more frequently and have a greater likelihood of causing problems with your site.

Leave the Updates to the Experts

In truth, the best way to ensure that your WordPress site stays up-to-date and doesn’t get broken by a major update is to leave the updates to the experts. When you entrust us to update your WordPress site, we always make a complete backup of the site first (in case anything goes wrong during the update process) and then perform any/all available updates. Afterwards, we browse through your site to make sure that the new software hasn’t caused any problems or changed your website’s functionality. We offer this as an affordable ongoing service, which will give you peace of mind that your site is always updated and secure.  If you are interested in learning more about this service, please contact us.

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About the author:

Jeff Pollard

Partner, Director of Technology

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Jeff is one of Torx's founding partners and serves as the agency's Director of Technology. He built his first website back in 1996 and has never looked back. Jeff wears many hats at Torx: front-end designer and developer, server administrator, and resident Apple enthusiast.