Why do you need to ACT NOW and update your FREE website plugins?

Why You Need To Update Your Website Plugins

Are you trying to manage your website updates on your own? If so, you’re taking a huge risk. Without the proper knowledge and experience, you could easily cause more harm than good. In this article, we’ll explain the importance of keeping your website up to date, and highlight the risks involved with trying to do it yourself. We’ll also show you how our centralised support team at Onside Online can help take care of updates for you. So, if you’re looking for help with the regular maintenance of your website, read on!

What Do You Need To Update On Your Website?

Your website is a crucial part of your business and needs to be kept up-to-date to ensure that it runs smoothly and efficiently. There are a few different things that you need to update on your website on a regular basis, including WordPress software, plugins, and themes. These updates are important for security, performance, and compatibility reasons.

What Is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that helps you create and manage your website. It is the most popular CMS in the world, used by millions of websites. WordPress software is free and open source, which means that anyone can contribute to its development.WordPress Updates WordPress updates are released regularly to keep the software secure and improve performance. It is important to update WordPress as soon as a new version is available so that your website is not vulnerable to security threats.

What Is A Plugin?

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that extends the functionality of WordPress. There are plugins for everything, from SEO tools to social media sharing. Plugins are developed by WordPress developers and are available for free or for purchase from the plugin directory.

Like WordPress, plugins need to be updated regularly to keep them secure and compatible with the latest version of WordPress. If a plugin is not updated, it may no longer work properly or may cause conflicts with other plugins or themes.

What Is A Theme?

A WordPress theme is a collection of files that determine the look and feel of your website. It includes the layout, colours, and typography. WordPress themes are available for free or for purchase. There are thousands of themes to choose from, so you can find one that fits your style and needs, such as a business website, an online store, or a more customised theme.

As with WordPress and plugins, it is important to keep your WordPress theme up-to-date. An outdated theme may not be compatible with the latest version of WordPress, and it may also contain security vulnerabilities.

Why Should I Update My WordPress, Plugins & Themes?

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to updating your WordPress website until something goes wrong. Whether it’s a plugin that stops working or a sudden drop in traffic, it’s only then that the importance of keeping your website up to date becomes apparent.

However, updating your WordPress website is not just a matter of keeping things running smoothly – it’s also crucial for security, performance, adding extra features, and overall improvements in user experience. Also, since more than 30% of all website traffic now comes from mobile devices, it’s important to make sure that your website is responsive and looks good on all devices.

Here Are Four Good Reasons To Keep Your WordPress, Plugins, And Themes Up-To-Date:

1. Security

One of the most important reasons to keep your WordPress website up-to-date is for security. WordPress is a popular target for hackers because it powers millions of websites. As such, new security issues and vulnerabilities are regularly discovered. Outdated WordPress websites are especially vulnerable to attack because they may not have the latest security patches. For example, the WordPress W3 Total Cache plugin was recently exploited to inject malicious code into websites. The attack affected millions of websites and could have been prevented if the plugin had been updated to the latest version.

Similarly, outdated plugins and themes are also susceptible to security breaches. Therefore, it is important to check for the latest security updates regularly and install them as soon as they are available as they will improve the overall security strength of your website.

2. Performance

Another reason to keep your website up-to-date is performance. Outdated software can lead to slow loading times, affecting your user experience. For example, outdated plugins and themes can cause your website to crash or look dated and unprofessional. Additionally, search engines like Google penalize slow-loading websites by ranking them lower in search results. The good news is that your plugin authors and theme developers are continuously working to improve performance and address these and more issues. By updating your plugins and themes, you can ensure that your website is running smoothly and efficiently.

3. Features

When you update WordPress, plugins, and themes, you also get access to new features. For example, the latest version of WordPress includes an additional functionality called the Gutenberg editor. This allows you to create richer content with media such as images and videos. In the same way, new premium plugins and theme releases often include new features and enhancements compared to previous versions. Therefore, you should keep an eye out for new major releases to take advantage of the latest and greatest features.

4. Compatibility

Outdated software can also lead to compatibility issues. For example, outdated plugins or themes may not be compatible with the latest version of WordPress. This can cause conflicts and lead to errors on your website. Fortunately, theme and plugin developers regularly release updates and care plans to ensure compatibility with the latest WordPress version. You can also check the release notes to see if a plugin or theme is compatible with your version of WordPress. All in all, it’s important to update both WordPress and your plugins and themes to avoid any potential compatibility issues.

5. Bug Fixes

Finally, another reason to keep your website up-to-date is that new releases often include bug fixes. For instance, if you’re using an outdated version of WordPress, you may be experiencing bugs that have already been fixed in the latest release. And again, you can check the release notes to see if a particular bug has been fixed in the latest version.

How Often Should I Update My Site?

Ideally, you should update your WordPress website, plugins, and themes as soon as new updates are available. BUT WAIT, READ ON BEFORE YOU DO! However, if you’re not able to do that, you should try to update at least once every month or once every few months. In case you’re using a plugin or theme that is not compatible with the latest version of WordPress, you should wait until additional updates are available for that plugin or theme.

Should I Do Automatic Updates On My Website?

Although it’s possible to do automatic updates on your website, we don’t recommend it for several reasons. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering doing automatic updates:

1. Disruption

One of the main reasons why we don’t recommend automatic updates is that they can cause disruption. If an update is released in the middle of the night, your website might go down until you’re able to fix the issue. And if you’re using a plugin or theme that’s not compatible with the latest version of WordPress, your site might break.  

2. Compatibility Issues

Another reason to avoid automatic updates is that they can lead to compatibility issues. If a plugin or theme is not compatible with the latest version of WordPress, it might not work properly after an update. This can cause errors on your website, and make it difficult for you to fix the issue.

3. Backup Out-Of-Date

If you have automatic updates turned on and a plugin or theme update breaks your site, you could be left with a backup that’s out-of-date. This means you might have to restore your site from a backup that’s several weeks or months old, which could result in the loss of important data and updates that you had made during that time :-(.

For these reasons, we recommend that you update your WordPress website, plugins, and themes manually. This way, you can control when and how updates are installed on your site. If you’re not comfortable updating your site yourself, you can always hire a professional external service like us to do it for you.

Where Do You Find Updates

As discussed earlier, it’s important to keep your WordPress website, plugins, and themes up-to-date. In this section, we’ll show you where to find updates for each of them. Luckily, you can find thousands of plugins and themes on the WordPress.org website. You can also filter user’s favourite plugins which is a great way to find quality and well-supported plugins. However, its really important to check that you’re using the “correct version” of any theme or plugin. Not doing so can break your website and cause serious security issues.

WordPress

To update WordPress software:

You can also manually update your WordPress using FTP.

Here is a guide on how to update WordPress software via FTP:

Looks difficult, right? That’s why we recommend that you hire a professional online service to update your WordPress site for you.

Plugins

Next, you need to check for the plugin updates. To do this, go to Dashboard Menu Option > Plugins. Here, you’ll see a list of all the plugins that are installed on your site. For each plugin, you’ll see whether or not an update is available. If an update is available, simply click on the “Update Now” button. Once the updates have been installed, you’ll need to activate the plugins again.

You can also check for updates using the built-in plugin installer. To do this, go to Dashboard > Plugins > Add New. On the next page, you’ll see a list of all the plugins that are available for installation. Again, if any of the plugins have upadtes available, you’ll see a notice next to them.

If you’re not comfortable using the built-in plugin installer, or if you don’t see any updates available for your plugins, you can always download the correct version of the plugin from the WordPress.org website and install it manually.

You can even create a staging server for your website. A staging server is a copy of your live site that you can use to test changes before making them on your live site. This is a great way to perform rigorous testing on plugins and themes on this staging environment before pushing them to the current version of your site, such as visual regression testing.

Themes

Finally, you need to update your theme. To do this, go to Admin Dashboard > Appearance > Themes. Here, you’ll see a list of all the themes that are installed on your site. If there’s an update available for your theme, you’ll see a notification next to it. Simply click the Update link to install the latest version of your theme.

You can also update your theme by downloading the latest version from the theme developer’s website and installing it on your site. In this case, you’ll need to make sure that you don’t have any custom code in your theme, as this will be overwritten when you install the new version. However, if you do have custom code, you can create a child theme to keep your customizations. Also, you need to make sure that you don’t find any malicious code in the new theme.

Preparing A Backup

Now that you know how to update your WordPress website, plugins, and themes, it’s time to learn how to prepare a backup. This is an important step to take before you update anything on your site, as it will help you avoid any data loss if something goes wrong. Also, regular backups will give you peace of mind knowing that your site is safe and secure.

There are two parts to backing up your WordPress site: the database and the core files. The database contains all of your website’s content, while the files include things like your theme and plugins.

To backup your database:
To backup your files:

Once you have both the database and the files backed up, you’re ready to update your WordPress site.

You can also use a backup plugin like BackupBuddy or WP Database Backup to create automatic backups of your WordPress site. We recommend that you use a plugin like this, as it will help you save time and ensure daily backups of your site.

However, if you’re still not sure how to do the backup yourself, you can use the active WordPress community forum to find a relevant article from a library of thousands of articles, or alternatively, you can contact an external service like ours and we’ll be happy to help you out.

Issues With Updating Your Website Backend On Your Own

As a services brand, your business website is one of your most important marketing tools. It’s how you attract new clients and grow your business. That’s why it’s so important to keep your website up-to-date.

Although you can find thousands of plugins and themes to help you customize your website, it’s important to remember that these need to be updated regularly. Otherwise, you risk your site becoming vulnerable to security threats.

Updating your website can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the technical aspects of WordPress. However, it’s important to keep your site up-to-date to add extra features and avoid any security risks. Here are some of the issues you may face when updating your website backend on your own:

1. Compatibility Issues

One of the biggest risks of updating your website backend yourself is compatibility issues. When you update your website, you could inadvertently break something that was working before. This could be a critical feature on your site or even prevent your site from loading altogether.

2. Restoring A Backup - Do You Know How To?

If something does go wrong during the update process, the first thing you’ll need to do is restore a backup. However, if you’ve never done this before, it can be a challenge. If you don’t know how to restore a backup correctly, you could end up losing important data.

3. Can You Afford For Your Website To Go Down?

If you break your website when you update it, your site will be down until you can fix the issue. This could cost you money in lost revenue and damage your reputation. For example, if you have an eCommerce site, every minute your site is down could cost you sales. Similarly, while updating your website, WordPress usually puts your site into maintenance mode. This not only prevents people from accessing your site from mobile devices, but it also displays a message to say that your site is down for maintenance. So, if you can’t afford for your website to be down for even a few minutes, it’s best to leave the updating to the professionals.

4. Do You Know What To Test/Look For Your Updates Are Live?

After you update your website, it’s important to test everything to make sure everything is working as it should. This includes testing all of your site’s features and functionality, as well as checking for any broken links. This can be a time-consuming process, and if you’re not sure what to look for, you could miss something important. For example, if your site is still in maintenance mode after you’ve updated it, that’s not good! Similarly, you’ll want to test your site on different mobile devices to make sure it looks and works as it should.

In Summary

At Onside Online, we take care of the latest updates for our client websites so they don’t have to worry about the risks. Our support team will back up your site, update it, handle all the technical tasks, and test the site to make sure everything is working correctly. We also offer regular maintenance, SEO and content creation services of your website. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Leigh Reading
Leigh Reading

Digital Marketing professional with 13+ years of helping businesses achieve their goals.

Share this article:

Ready to transform your business?

Contact Leigh and Mandy today for a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Read the latest articles from our experts