With almost quarter of the world’s top 10 million websites built using WordPress, something has to be right – mostly it is. However, WordPress’ success also puts it in the spotlight for hackers – those that appear to have the mission to make everyone else’s life as difficult as possible.
How can we fight back?
Well keeping all things WordPress up to date is the most important way.
There are 3 main components to a WordPress website – the WordPress Core, WordPress Themes and WordPress Plugins. Let’s look at them one by one:
Why Update WordPress Core?
The WordPress Core is basically the software or Content Management System (CMS) that you use to build your website. Periodically there are major or minor updates to the system. These updates provide extra security and increased functionality. I mentioned hackers earlier. For many of them it is their full-time job to try and hack websites. For every improvement that WordPress makes there are thousands out there trying to get around whatever they have fixed. It is a race that generally WordPress is winning.
Don’t let this put you off WordPress. The same is true of any popular CMS. WordPress is about as secure as you can get if you keep things up to date.
As soon as a new update becomes available then it is advised to update your version of WordPress to avoid the issues above and give you more functionality.
Why Update WordPress Themes?
The first thing you must do after installing the WordPress CMS is to install a theme. This is the starting point to the way your site looks and the added functionality the theme designer gives it. Just like the WordPress Core, it is very important to update WordPress themes as soon as an update becomes available.
An update in the WordPress Core may open a door the theme designer allowing them to develop their theme further. Or, like WordPress, they may discover a hole in their security which needs to be filled. They may even just want to make their theme even better. Whatever the reason, update your version as soon as possible.
Why Update WordPress Plugins?
Plugins are all about functionality. You’ve seen something on another site that you like! Well there is probably a plugin that could help you do that on your site too. There are literally thousands of them out there.
For exactly the same reason as updating your core and your themes make sure that you update your WordPress plugins as soon as possible too.
How To Update WordPress
- If you are happy to enter the admin section of WordPress then updating each part manually is straightforward to do.
- Like I said above “there is a plugin that could do that” – several actually. Some Plugins can automatically update everything for you as and when required. There is a downside to this in that many premium (paid for) themes and plugins cannot be updated automatically. They have to be downloaded from the designer’s site and then uploaded to yours. Not difficult to do if you are confident to do so.
- Get someone to do it for you – it is important!
However you choose to keep on top of your WordPress updates, the most important thing is that you do. Keeping WordPress updated should allow you many years of uninterrupted pleasure in using your WordPress website for your business or blogging.
Words Of Warning!
Since the core, themes and plugins are all working together, it is possible that an update in one will affect the working of another. Your site can start behaving strangely or crash totally. Usually that is not a major problem. There is even a plugin that can roll-back an update to an earlier version to sort the problem until it is fixed totally. Alternatively you or your web designer can remove the offending update altogether.
Also make sure that you have backed up your WordPress site before making updates. It is not enough for your host to back-up regularly as their server could go down and you could lose everything. Having said that with the introduction of “Cloud Hosting”, a host who uses this will have several copies of your site on several servers at any one time so here you should be safe enough not to need an extra back-up of your site. If you’re worried though – there are several plugins that could back-up your site for you.
Thanks of reading.