Why Keeping Your WordPress Site Up To Date is Crucial
If your WordPress site has been hacked in the past then you know the importance of keeping it updated. If you are one of the lucky ones and avoided this, I recommend you find out if your WordPress site is backed with the latest version and plugins. The sooner you do this, the better. As WordPress continues to grow in popularity (now used by 23.8% of all websites, it also becomes a bigger target for online hackers.
Updating will improve your websites security, as it includes fixes to bugs that relate vulnerability and stability issues. Leaving these unresolved increases your chance of being targeted and your website being infected. This could lead to a costly problem for your online business or brand.
Security improvements are the most common reason for updates to be released. But sometimes it can include new features or improvements that’ll make your site better than your competition. Or, at the very least, provide hours of enjoyment as you tinker away, thinking of how this new shiny feature can be implemented.
Don’t forget your plugins and theme
These too need to be kept up-to-date for the same reasons. Many WordPress sites use popular plugins that draw the attention of hackers. This was recently seen late last year when a popular slider plugin left over 100,000 + sites vulnerable.
The next time you login to your dashboard, see if there is a number next to the plugins menu item. This indicates you have a plugin that needs updating.
If you’ve installed an off-the-shelf theme, then check to see if it too provides updates. Premium themes commonly provide regular updates.
Is it easy to update?
The answer to this question is relative to the size and complexity of your site. If your website uses a wide variety of plugins and includes customisations, then it’s unlikely to be a straightforward process. If you have a site like this and have no past experience, it is recommended you enlist the services of a professional and save yourself the hours of googling to try and get up-to-speed on the numerous reasons your site crashed.
If you’re running a simple blog or brochure site you should be okay to complete these updates yourself.
STOP! Before you start, here are some tips
Create a complete back-up of your website. Don’t risk breaking your website or taking it down without having a back-up option in place. A good rule to follow? If you don’t know how to take a back-up of your website then you’re not ready to graduate to WordPress upgrading.
Also check to see if the plugins on your site are NOT compatible with the current WordPress version. Premium plugins will advise if there are any issues that may arise while they prepare to release an update for the latest version. Many free plugins will not. Another important reason to back-up first just in case you need to roll back.
Be proactive with your WordPress security
Security plugins provide an extra level of security and can provide both broad or specific defence features.
The following are two popular options available today that provide real-time monitoring and protection.
Written by Mark Nido — Project Manager at WME.