June 25, 2024

WordPress Updates

Why Keeping WordPress Updated Is Critical

If you’re a business owner with a website running on WordPress, you’ve probably heard the advice to keep it updated. But why does it matter so much? As a developer hosting over 100 sites, let me break it down a bit.

1. Security, Security, Security

Let’s start with the big one: security. WordPress is incredibly popular, powering over a third of all websites on the internet. That makes it a prime target for hackers and cybercriminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities. When the developers at WordPress (or plugin developers) discover a security hole, they patch it up in the next update. If your site isn’t updated, it’s more vulnerable.

You’ve worked hard to build your business, and your website is your digital storefront. Would you leave your businesses doors and windows unlocked? Of course not! Think of updating WordPress like installing a sturdy lock on your front door—it’s a basic security measure that protects your business and customers.

2. Speed Matters

Have you ever visited a website that took forever to load? Chances are, you didn’t stick around. Your customers won’t either. WordPress updates often include improvements to speed and performance. They streamline code, optimize databases, and make your site run faster and smoother. In today’s fast-paced digital world, a slow website can cost you customers and negatively impact your search engine rankings. Keeping WordPress updated ensures your site stays speedy and responsive, keeping visitors happy.

3. Compatibility Woes

WordPress is complex, with the core CMS which is extended by an ever evolving array of themes (for appearance) and plugins (to add functionality). It’s constantly evolving alongside web browsers, server software, and other plugins and themes. Updates aren’t just about new features—they often fix bugs and ensure compatibility with the latest technology. Running an outdated version of WordPress can lead to compatibility issues with new plugins you want to install. By staying up to date, you ensure everything plays nice together, keeping your website running smoothly.

4. Peace of Mind

As a business owner, your plate is already full. The last thing you need is to worry about your website crashing or getting hacked. Regularly updating WordPress gives you peace of mind knowing that you’ve taken a proactive step to protect your investment. It’s like regular maintenance for your car—it may not be glamorous, but it prevents costly breakdowns down the road.

How to manage your updates

On the face of it - updating WordPress is easy - login in as admin and hit the update button. The issue is that now and again, there will be a glitch - could be that something custom about your site doesn't fit with an updated theme, or that the software that your server is running needs to be updated too (before the WP updates). The outcome of a glitch can be that the update doesn't run, or you need to do something first. Worst case - your website becomes unavailable and you need to resolve the glitch to get it back online, meaning downtime.

That's why we offer managed updates. One of us will backup your website, run the updates, then test that everything is humming along nicely. If there's a problem - we instantly roll it back to the backup, and go from there. The key outcome being that you don't have any downtime, even if things go wrong.

Conclusion

Updating WordPress isn’t just a chore—it’s a critical part of running a successful online business. It’s about security, speed, compatibility, and future-proofing your investment. So, next time you see that little update notification in your WordPress dashboard, don’t ignore it. If you'd like to learn how to run updates yourself, or if you'd like us to run them for you - get in touch