Update WordPress | Don’t ignore Maintenance

From time to time, you will need to update your WordPress installation to the latest version. WordPress has a built-in alert system that lets users know when their installations are out of date.

Whenever a new version of WP is released you will see a message at the top of your wp-admin dashboard and in your sidebar indicating that you need to update your installation.

It is important to pay attention to these alerts.

Update WordPress

Why bother updating WordPress?

Sometimes security vulnerabilities are corrected with new WordPress releases. Updating to the newest version of WordPress will ensure that you have the latest security fix. Not updating your version of WordPress may leave your site open to hackers.

At other times new features are added, making improvements to the functionality of WordPress.

No Fear WordPress Updates:

  1. FTP access – I never update a WordPress installation or plugins unless I have FTP access. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. Filezilla is a free open-source FTP program that you can download and use for transferring files from your website’s server to your computer. Make sure you can connect.
  2. Backup of your site. All your posts and pages are held in the database, it’s important to backup your database and your website files on a regular basis and before upgrading your version of WordPress and your plugins. WordPress Managed Hosting is the easiest option but you can also use a  Backup Plugin to schedule regular backups.
  3. The WordPress team recommends that you disable plugins before updating your site. If you wish to disable the plugins, go to the Manage Plugins page in the Dashboard, changing the “Bulk Actions” pull-down menu to “Deactivate” and clicking “Apply”. If a plugin breaks your site during an upgrade, you’ll need to be able to access the /wp-content/plugins directory on your server via FTP. Simply rename or delete the broken plugin and your site will be restored.
  4. Automatic Update. Clicking the automatic update button will work for most people. If the automatic upgrade doesn’t work for you, don’t panic, just try a manual WordPress update.
  5. Enable your Plugins again! If a plugin itself needs updating you will want to update it before you enable it.
  6. Now visit your site and make sure that everything is working properly.

Keeping WordPress Plugins Up-to-date

Some plugins may become outdated and no longer work with a newer version of WordPress. If you have issues after activating a plugin, deactivate it and visit the plugin’s website. Many plugin authors will upgrade their plugins to accommodate the newer version, but some won’t. Some plugins will become obsolete with the improvements in WordPress.

If a newer version of a plugin is available in the WordPress Plugin Repository you will see a number next to the plugin in the left-hand column of your wp-admin. This number indicates how many plugins need your attention.

In the Manage Plugin panel, a message will display along with a link to the location to download that new version. It is also advisable to deactivate a plugin before updating it. If an active plugin fails during upgrade your whole site can be adversely affected. Once updated you will be able to reactivate the plugin.

WordPress Theme updates

If you have made any modifications to a theme, updating the theme will overwrite your changes. It is best to create a child theme to protect modifications so that themes can safely be updated.  Read more about updating themes here.

With a little effort on a regular basis, you can keep your site current and safe from security threats!

Questions about WordPress Updates?

If you have any questions about WordPress updates, please add a comment below.

Due to the current recommendations from Ontario Public Health and Health Canada regarding COVID-19 and social distancing, we are postponing our 2-day WordPress Intensive and SEO for WordPress workshops.

To help people who require WordPress training, instruction or courses during this time, we can provide online training.

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One thought on “Update WordPress | Don’t ignore Maintenance

  1. Thanks for the great suggestions. I can’t wait to take your two day WordPress workshop.


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