Website Security: Should You Update WordPress and Plugins?

40% of all websites are created on WordPress. If you are one of the thousands of businesses using the WordPress core for their website, you’ve probably encountered your fair share of WordPress updates.

These website updates come on top of having to update the plugins and themes of your WordPress site. This can be a lot to manage.

Regular updates are vital to the security and performance of your website. Without them, you’re risking the integrity of your website and the safety of your website visitors.

Keep reading to learn not only why WordPress and plugin updates are important, but also why you may need the help of a professional when it comes to completing them.

Why Should You Keep Your WordPress and Plugins Updated?

Security

Updates are imperative to the security of your website. These updates help patch up any holes so hackers can’t get in.

Most online businesses collect data from their customers on their website, whether for an online order or marketing purposes. The longer you go without updating your website and plugins, the easier it is for hackers to access valuable information collected in these transactions.

While a hacker or a security breach is a headache for you, it can also cause your customers to lose trust in your business.

Performance

As with most technology, system updates help your website stay quick and responsive. Outdated WordPress releases or plug-ins can make your site seem glitchy and might even cause your website not to function fully.

Your website speed, user experience, and core web vitals determine how your site ranks in search engines. The reason for this is simple; if your site loads slowly or a key plug-in doesn’t work properly, people will leave your site. This, in turn, will lower the ranking of your site in search engines like Google, making it harder for people to find your business.

Features

Some updates add special and new features to your site. When you keep your WordPress and plug-ins to their latest versions, your website has access to the latest features and functionality.

Stay up to date with the latest WordPress features here. 2021 alone saw upwards of 6 new feature updates!

Compatibility

WordPress currently runs on PHP 8. PHP 8 is relatively new, as it was released in November of 2020. Since the programing language is newer, WordPress constantly needs updates to fix issues that pop up.

Without these updates, Your site might become incompatible with PHP8, causing it to crash.

Keep in mind, when you update your WordPress, you need to update third-party plug-ins separately, or else they’ll become incompatible with each other.

Bug Fixes

Sometimes small glitches and problems on your site can be fixed with a simple update. Though major updates take time to produce and lots of tests are run, bugs are inevitable. However, these updates fix bugs found in previous versions.

Is it safe to update WordPress and Plugins Any Time There Is an Update?

So, is it safe to update WordPress and its plugins or enable automatic updates?

Short answer: No.

You may be thinking, “We just went through all the reasons why WordPress and plugin updates are important; why is it not safe to do updates as they pop up?”

Sometimes, it’s best to wait on updates and not do them as soon as they are released. This is because an update for one part of your site might make a plug-in suddenly nonfunctional. You trying to do the right thing and update your website might actually cause your website to break.

As a website owner, it’s in your best interest to hire a WordPress developer to take care of these updates so that everything runs smoothly. You have a business to run; you shouldn’t waste your time dealing with WordPress updates.

How to Undo a WordPress Update

It happens. Sometimes you jump the gun, and you install a WordPress update right away, only to crash your site.

Whether it’s due to a compatibility issue with your theme or one of your plug-ins, the only way to get your site up and running again is to downgrade it.

Before we start, it’s important to note that downgrading to a previous version of WordPress is not a permanent solution. Updates to your site are important and should be done once everything else is ready.

There are a few ways to undo a WordPress update, but a manual downgrade is needed for most crashed websites. Before attempting to downgrade, make sure you back up your website.

Manual Downgrade

  1.  Deactivate your plug-ins by accessing the backend of your site as a WordPress admin.
  2. Download the release of WordPress you had prior to updating.
  3. Here’s is where you need to be careful: use Secure File Transfer Protocol and a file client to access your site’s files. You will need to delete your wp-admin and wp-includes folders. From there, you’ll upload the files from the old version of WordPress (not including the wp-content directory). This will overwrite the old files.
  4. Lastly, go back into your site’s backend, and you’ll get a message asking you to update your website’s database.
  5. Reactivate your plug-ins.

This can be a lot, especially if you’re not digitally savvy. One wrong move and you can crash your site, leaving your site unavailable to customers.

Having a professional fix your site on such short notice can be extremely expensive. This is another reason why it’s best to leave the updates to a professional.

How to Undo a Plugin Update

To easiest way to undo a plugin update is to install WP Rollback, another plugin, to your site. After installing and activating WP Rollback, you’ll be able to roll back to a previous version of the selected plugin.

Why WordPress Updates Are Important (And Why You Should Hire a Professional)

Each update bumps up your security and improves your site’s performance. Nonetheless, one misstep can crash your website.

This is where we come in. Let us manage your WordPress update and we will take care of all the updates and even provide backups of your website.

Ready to stop stressing over your website and return your focus to your business? Contact us today!

About Us

At Josiesque Designs, we provide professional website design and web development, along with effective digital marketing plans and strategies to help your business reach your target audience online.