What’s the deal with WordPress updates?

By JAZ Creative in Digital

Question…

You login to your WordPress dashboard and see all of those little red numbers in circles in your menu, what do they mean?

Answer…

Those little numbers indicate that there is a new version of Wordpress available, or a plugin that you have installed has a newer release ready to be activated.

The REAL question however is should you go ahead and run these updates?

This question doesn’t have a straight-forward answer, hence this article.  In theory there should be no issue with you going ahead and running these updates yourself.  In reality, there are many factors to take into consideration before running updates:

  • What PHP version is running on the server?
  • What other plugins are installed on your site and what is their compatibility with the available updates?
  • What WordPress theme are you using and is it compatible with the available updates?
  • Have any customisations been applied to the theme, plugin or core files that will be overridden by the updates?

So, what could go wrong?

Everything could go right, or everything could go wrong.  Most commonly when a conflict occurs you will get a white screen or error message instead of seeing your website or WordPress dashboard. Particular functions of your site can stop working or the pages just not look as they should.

If your site is working, why update?

Updates are released as a response to the performance demands of technologies, platforms and potential security threats that may have been exposed.  Whilst your site may be operating as it should, by running the latest updates, you can ensure the performance of your site and make sure you are in the safest position to ward off hackers.

Should you run your own updates or is it best to hire a professional to do so?

You can run the updates yourself if you are prepared to troubleshoot when conflicts occur.  If you are comfortable with taking backups, rolling back updates and debugging, then by all means do the updates yourself.  If you didn’t understand that sentence, then probably best not attempt to run the updates yourself.

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