Your website has been around for a while and now your marketers, web developer or hosting company are all nagging you to update your WordPress version and plugins. Is it really necessary?
Of course it is. Otherwise they wouldn’t be nagging.
3 Reasons To Keep Your WordPress & Plugin Versions Updated
We know that us just telling you to do it may not be enough.
Reason 1: Security
Since WordPress is open source, anyone can study the source code to learn and improve it. However it also means that hackers can study it too and find ways to break into websites.
“But my website is too small for a hacker to care,” we hear you say. That’s a mistake because hackers rarely target a single website. Also, a big website is protected by the best security systems and are therefore hard to break in. Small websites tend to have weaker website security because the site owners think their site is not important enough to be attacked. Hackers are scanning millions of websites on the internet using their automated tools. They search for sites running vulnerable plugins or themes or out-of-date WordPress core. Small websites, these days are more vulnerable to a security breach than the big ones. So trust us, size doesn’t matter!
This means that if you are not using the latest version of WordPress, then you are using software with known security vulnerabilities. Hackers can search for websites running the older version, and you may become a victim of a sophisticated attack. Not just WordPress itself, plugins can also be exploited by hackers. You need to make sure that all your WordPress plugins, themes, and the core itself is always up to date.
Reason 2: Improvements
The developers of WordPress and the various plugins are usually working to make them bigger, badder and more feature-rich. How do these improvements get to your site? By installing the updates for the plugins of course! Have you ever been using a plugin on your site and wished it did something slightly differently? It is unlikely that you are alone in that, and the developers may have added that to the updated version.
Reason 3: Bug Fixes
With technology, there are always bugs – some plugins may cause others to function incorrectly, there may be a glitch on the processing – the list of possible issues is endless. Developers push bug-fixes to your website in updates. If you don’t update the plugins, then the issues can’t be fixed.
Shouldn’t my hosting company or web developer be doing this already?
No, not unless you are paying them part of an SLA or extra amount to cover this. It isn’t something that most hosting companies include automatically.
We hope that the above give you a good idea of why staying up to date with your website software is so vital. Remember, sometimes updating the WP version or plugins may cause issues on the site, so make sure you are doing the update in a test environment, or that you can easily roll back to a backup if things go south. If you need help with updating your site, just give us a shout to let the experts help.