Have you ever wondered why WordPress keeps telling you there’s an update for your WordPress core or for some of the plugins used in your site?
It’s actually fairly important.
Keeping your site core and plugins up to date minimises your chances of your site being hacked.
What are WordPress Core Updates?
WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System.
Hundreds of millions of websites run on WordPress, and there is a passionate community of developers around the world that are constantly working to improve the platform.
Every few months or so, their accumulated efforts result in a new version of WordPress that is released to the world and shows up in the backend of your website like this:
What are WordPress Plugin Updates?
In addition to WordPress Core updates, there are also WordPress plugin updates.
These also show in the backend of your website and look like this:
There are thousands of WordPress plugins, and they are amazing.
They literally allow new functionality & features to be ‘plugged in’ to your website.
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Is updating important?
Individually any given update is usually not critical.
However, if you never update your website it won’t take long before the WordPress core and all your plugins are out of date by many versions.
This could lead to a large number of known security vulnerabilities that haven’t been patched by updates.
Hackers target known vulnerabilities and write bots that search the internet looking for sites that they can exploit.
Therefore keeping your WordPress Core and WordPress plugins up to date minimises the chance of your site being hacked.
What can go wrong?
Updating is as simple as clicking on the update and letting it run and normally, for both plugins and the core, this works without a hitch.
Sometimes, however, there are problems and in a worst-case scenario the site could break.
This is commonly caused by conflicts and incompatibilities. As both WordPress and plugins are developed separately by different programmers around the world, occasionally updates in WordPress or a plugin may inadvertently break functionality in areas of your site.
For this reason it’s extremely important to have a backup your site before running updates, and check for problems afterwards.
If there are issues, then the site may need to be restored from backup, or the issues resolved. That is why, for many people, letting us look after their security and website maintenance makes sense.