Regular WordPress Maintenance – Updates

In the second part of my series about the regular maintenance tasks you need to perform on your WordPress site, I’m going to talk about applying updates to WordPress, plugins and themes.

See the base of this posts for the other posts in this series.

Why Does WordPress Have So Many Updates?

The quick answer is it doesn’t, the core WordPress files are only updated a few times a year on a regular release program, the only interim fixes that need to be applied are security updates.

The update problem is due to the brilliant eco system around WordPress that allows developers to extend WordPress with plugins and theme.  The majority of sites I work with have 10 or more plugins, this code needs to bd patched and fixed on a regular basis.

Why Do We Need Updates

WordPress and it’s related plugins and themes are in a constant state of development.  New features are being added, fixes to bug are being released and most importantly of all patches to security loop holes are discovered and

We need to keep up with updates to ensure your site is secure,  bug free and lastly to take advantage of new functionality that has been added.

My preferred Way To Apply Updates

This is the method I use before applying updates

  • Full backup of site
  • Disable all plugins
  • Enable default theme
  • Update core
  • Update plugins where applicable
  • Updates theme if applicable
  • Re-activate plugins
  • Re-active theme

Rather than get into too  much detail, here is a video to show you the process

[leadplayer_vid id=”5229A6F939930″]

Updates Do Cause Problems

Because the developers or plugins, themes and WordPress core cannot test every permutation of installs there are sometimes issues after an update, so there are some cases when you need to roll back to previous versions of code.  This is when your backup comes into play and your knowledge of how to recover from your archive.

The “white screen of death” is a common problem after updates, WordPress crashes out and you cannot login until you deactivate your plugins or theme that is causing the problem.

A Word Of Caution

If you have made changes to your plugins or themes, when you apply updates those changes will be overwritten

Check out this post on stopping a plugin auto updating, or if you have customised your theme, you should consider moving those changes into a child theme

Next Up

In the next post in this series I will talk about the often overlooked maintenance task of  optimisation and clear outs of unused files and database content/

Need Help?

We are now offering an ongoing WordPress maintenance package.   As we go through this series of posts you will see that the maintenance tasks required to keep your site running smoothly do take up a lot of time, we can do that for you and free up that time to work on your website not in it updating and managing code.

 See the other posts In This Series



Photo Credit: Kaptain Kobold via Compfight cc

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