Cybersecurity Insight

The Importance of Updating Your WordPress Site & How To Do It

25 Feb

There are nearly 1 Billion websites live on the web; of those 1 Billion websites, almost 1 in 5 of them are created and maintained using the WordPress platform – a popular open source Content Management System (CMS).WordPress is beneficial due to its ease of use for those who aren’t particularly familiar with web development. Updating software platforms in general, WordPress in particular, is important for a few reasons, but mainly to improve their core functions and to increase security, the latter being the most important.

WordPress Plugins

Plugins are add-ons to WordPress that build in new functionalities, allowing users to create a new header, embed an Instagram feed, or thousands of other customizable options. These plugins need to be updated consistently to ensure proper security. One thing to note is if you see that your plugin has not been updated in over 6 months, it’s possible the original developer stopped supporting it, and you may want to find a new solution.

Updating your plugins is quite simple – once you visit the Plugins menu you can click “Update Now” on the individual plugin or select all the plugins that need to be updated. It is suggested that you update plugins one by one, this way if something goes wrong or there is a conflict with new updates to certain plugins you can see which plugin is the culprit and deactivate it until you find a solution.

WordPress Themes

Themes have templates, custom CSS, and other functionality to allow you to develop your site the way you want; most importantly, they bring the site to life and also cut down on development time. Just like with plugins, themes need to be updated too.

Again you can often see update messages on your WordPress dashboard. But if you don’t, you can update your site’s theme by going to Appearance->Themes and clicking “Update” on your particular theme.

WordPress Platform Updates

The WordPress platform is sophisticated and needs to be consistently maintained and improved. On average you’ll see a new update every few months. While it’s important to keep everything up to date, making sure WordPress is on the latest version may be the most important; it is running the whole show after all.

WordPress will tell you to update via a message in the upper left hand corner of the homepage that provides the version number and a link to update.

The very obvious theme in this post is to be aware of what updates need to be made to your site and its parts, and why. Each plugin, theme, and WordPress update will provide a version history that allows you to see what will be updated. Not only is this helpful but can help you troubleshoot any issues you may encounter when updating all of your software. More importantly, it is so much easier for malicious attacks to occur on your WordPress site if everything is not updated, or if those updates are outdated. A hacker can easily latch onto vulnerable code and presto! they’ve gained entry into your website and everything you’ve worked so hard to create.

Updating your WordPress site doesn’t take a lot of time or sophistication, but making sure you’re continually updating your plugins, themes, and WordPress itself when updates are available can avoid a lot of headaches down the line.