WordPress is an open source software and gets update frequently like any other software. Minor updates are numbered with three digits like 5.7.2 while major updates are numbered with two digits like 5.8. While security updates will be automatically updated, you have to choose auto or manual updates for major updates. In this article, we will explain how and why you should update WordPress to the latest version.
Why Should You Update WordPress?
We think it’s vital to keep WordPress up-to-date. Why? Here are our top reasons:
This is the most important reason. WordPress is a huge target for hacking – being able to hack WordPress means potential access to millions of websites and the data they contain, or the ability to post your own content and links (including to malware). WordPress.org core is continually identifying and fixing security risks – most new versions of WordPress patch a security vulnerability. Running an old version of WordPress means there are known, documented security vulnerabilities on your website. If it gets hacked, that could have a seriously negative impact on your business, as well as costing you time, effort and money to fix.
The WordPress community put a lot of time and effort into making WordPress faster and more efficient.
Major releases of WordPress often include improved functionality and features to make more of web publishing.
4. User Experience
WordPress’ core developers work hard on the usability and workflow in the WordPress CMS, so by using an older version, you’re missing out.
At some point, you’re bound to want changes made to your site. Those changes might require the latest version of WordPress (for example to use a particular plugin that only works with newer versions). By updating frequently, you pick up small changes and errors that need to be attended to on an ongoing basis, keeping your site reasonably up-to-date with the core of WordPress development. If you don’t update for a year or two, you’re far more likely to suffer major disruption when you do, because all of those small and minor issues have become intertwined, making diagnosis and fixing harder and more time-consuming (and expensive).
How to Update WordPress to Latest Version?
Updating WordPress is easy to do – it’s just a case of clicking a few buttons (here’s WordPress’ own guide), but there’s actually lots to think about:
- Is your hosting configured to let you update easily through the CMS or do you need FTP access?
- Have you got a backup of the site’s files and database in case the update goes wrong somehow?
- Do you know how to get your backup restored if you need to?
- Do you know what to test to make sure the important parts of your site still work?
- Is it worth testing updates on a private version of the site before risking performing the maintenance on your live site?
Many hosting companies allow you to choose automatically updating WordPress to the latest version. However, we strongly recommend disabling auto update feature as it can break you site. You can test the update is working on your local or staging site or wait for sometime till others update and report any issues. After making sure the latest version is good for your theme and plugins, follow the below instructions.
- Login to your WordPress admin panel.
- You will see the availability of latest WordPress version as a notification. This will appear on the all the screens when you are in the admin panel.
- Alternatively, you can go to “Dashboard > Updates” section to see the details of the available version.
- Click on the “Update now” button to update your version to the latest.
- Make sure to test your site is working fine after the update.
If you have any problems in viewing or logging into admin panel, you can change the theme to default theme and troubleshoot by disabling all the plugins.