Why Should You Update WordPress?
Keeping your WordPress website up to date is crucial. This includes the core version of WordPress, and also any plugins you’ve installed. Here are some of the most important reasons why:
The vast popularity of WordPress means that it’s a hot target for viruses, malware and other security threats. These problems are generally resolved and patched quickly with WordPress updates, but often you have to manually accept and install these onto your site. Without them, you’re open to the vulnerability.
Bugs & Errors
The nature of software development means there’s often bugs and errors in systems. As these are discovered, they are fixed, then the updated code is released as the ‘Update’ you see.
Updates are also used to deliver new features, better functionality and improved user experience. Especially with plugins, your site could be missing out on great new features which could help your staff or website visitors, save time or money, or offer added value in some other way.
The Update Process
To update WordPress, follow the below steps.
Step 1: Create a Backup
The first step will be one of the most important steps you’ll carry out. You need to ensure that you have a backup of your entire site saved in case something goes wrong, during or after the update. If you have several websites that are ready for updates, then it’s a good idea to do a back up on all of the accounts that require updates at once, for efficiency. Backups can take around 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the site.
To carry out updates using cPanel:
- Log into cPanel for the website that needs an update
- In cPanel, go to ‘Backup Wizard’
- Select ‘back up’ to enter the backup wizard
- Click the ‘Full Backup’ option to start the process.
- The next screen is where you’ll see where previous backups have been generated, if there are any. Below this is a option to generate a new backup for your website. Choose this option.cPanel also has the option to send alert emails to your email address. We recommend you do this so that you receive a notification for when your backup has been completed.
You’ll know your back up has been completed if you check back and see something along the lines of this.
Step 2: Update WordPress Core
Next, log in to your WordPress back-office. Usually you will be able to carry out updates with the one-click option (though, sometimes this will not be available for your theme- refer to your theme’s configuration documentation for update instructions)
Access the update option using the button either at the top of your screen, or through the ‘updates’ panel.
Simply click the button to begin the automatic update process. Once your core has been updated, clean the site’s cache to clear any remaining elements that might still be on your system.
Step 3: Test, test, test
The next step, which is very important, is testing. Updates have been known to cause multiple issues, especially when your plugins, theme or core version of WordPress have conflicts with each other. These can include errors or visual problems with parts of your site like interactive elements, images, and the functionality of any updated plugins.
Does your navigation still work? Are your contact forms still functioning? Are there any glitches in your sliders, galleries or blog?
Step 4: Update Plugins
After you’ve checked whether or not your website is functioning the way that it was before the update, all of your plugins that need updating will have to be updated on a one by one basis. After each update, test through the functionality of the plugin. Doing this one by one will help you isolate problems if anything does go wrong, as you’ll know which plugins have caused the errors.
Once you’ve updated all of your plugins, then you’ll need to carry out some more tests to see if the functionality is the same as it was prior to the update.
If Something Goes Wrong
If something goes wrong, we advise that you make a note of which update caused the issue. Then you’ll need to restore your previous backup.
After this is done, go through the update process again, missing out the plugin or update step which caused the problem. We recommend that you get in touch with a web development team if you cannot fix the problem yourself, for help with the issues you’ve experienced.
Monitor the website over the next few days to ensure all is working correctly, in particular the key actions and conversions on your site (for example, contact form fills or item purchases)
For help with updating your WordPress site, we offer fixed monthly maintenance packages. Get in touch to discuss your requirements!