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WordPress Updates: Critical or Unnecessary?

June 15, 2016

WordPress updates seem to come out as often as stump speeches during election season. Today we examine how important it is to make sure your WordPress site is up-to-date and running the most current version.

Before Upgrading WordPress, Consider This:

  • It is critical that you make a full backup of your site files and Database. Everyone always “says” to do this and it sounds so obvious, but it often gets skipped when we are all in a hurry or get upgrade-happy. Get in the habit of setting up a regular backup schedule (too many plugins to list here), and you will never have to worry about this.
  • Custom Themes — If your theme is built from scratch OR customizations have been made from a free or purchased theme, make sure to visit your site after the upgrade and ensure all is working properly. Every so often, there are issues here with compatibility. FYI: Upgrading your theme and upgrading WordPress are two different things, and each has different potential issues.
  • Plugins — There are millions of plugins available for WordPress from a variety of sources with different levels of support. If your site uses a lot of plugins, be sure to check before you upgrade that they are compatible with the latest version. After you upgrade, test them to ensure that they are all working properly.
  • Servers and Shared hosts  WordPress is pretty good about checking this, but once in a while, you may run into issues where MySQL or PHP or other server-side software needs to be updated before WordPress. You’ll need to work with your host on this one.

There are minor version updates and major version updates that get released regularly.

Updating WordPress is a good idea, here’s why:

  • Updated Site Speed — Newer versions improve the acceleration within the site speed. By improving the Javascript, the newer versions will perform with higher speed and make it easier to explore the navigation menus.
  • Site Compatibility — Upgrading to newer versions means easier synchronization with important functions like browsers, plug-ins, themes, etc.
  • Improved Features and Security — Improved security features decrease the threat of possible hackers trying to steal important data. Other features that are often enhanced with each update include media support, visual editor, and so much more.
  • Reducing Bugs — There is no such thing as a completely secure platform and often WordPress will have updates that are intended to help fix any bug issues found in the website.

It is important to stay up-to-date with the newest version of WordPress in order to fully take advantage of the latest features available. Updating is pretty simple. When you log into the WordPress dashboard, there will be highlighted notifications indicating the updates that are available to you. If working through WordPress 3.7 or above, there is a built-in notification system that easily allows you to turn on automatic updates.

About WordPress

In 2003, WordPress started out as just a blogging system but since then has evolved into a full content management system and more. The service is completely customizable and can be used to create almost anything from a blog to a company website — and even an app! WordPress is the most widely used Content Management System in the world.

Behind WordPress is an ever-growing community of experts who are consistently tweaking and updating the system, thus resulting in frequent updates to improve features.

Still need some assistance in getting your WordPress version updated? Our team at Van West Media can help! We’re a full-service digital marketing agency offering web design and development, search engine optimization, social media strategy , paid advertising and content marketing, just to name a few.  Contact us today to get started.