WordPress plugins offer added functionality or features to the website. As the technology advances, the issues and bugs present in the plugins are fixed. This offers the website better security and enhances its performance as well. So, it is crucial to keep the themes and plugins always updated if the site is built on the WordPress platform.
Webmasters are often troubled with the question if it is important to update the plugins and themes they are using. A clear answer to this is ‘yes they should’. But if the same question is there in your mind and you are unaware why the updates are necessary, read on to know the reasons.
Reasons You Need Updated WordPress Plugins and Themes
There are three main reasons primarily. Here we’ve discussed each of these reasons in detail.
Keeping the website secure from numerous malicious attacks and hackers is an essential thing every website owner should focus on. A whopping 30% of all sites are based on the WordPress platform, and that makes it one of the most popular CMS systems online.
However, this fact also indicates that when it comes to cyber attacks, WordPress stays at the receiving end of the majority of it. WordPress releases frequent updates that address the loopholes, exploits and other security issues of the previous version. But updating the base WordPress engine is not enough if the associated WordPress toolkits like the themes and plugins that you installed on top of it are not updated.
Keep in mind that it takes a genius or a group of genius hackers to find exploits in order to attack the main WordPress platform. That’s because it is built on a far more robust and secure system.
On the other hand, most third-party themes and plugins come from individual developers or some small companies that might lack the huge technological prowess a tech-giant as WordPress can offer.
Therefore, it’s of utmost importance to keep such plugins and themes updated to ensure your WordPress website security.
To Fix Various Bugs
No application comes without bugs, no matter how advanced it is, or how much testing has been done before its release. Since every user and their usage environment is unique, it is literally impossible to replicate all the bugs in a testing environment. So, WordPress themes and plugins, like every other software, come with several bug fixes in every update.
If you want to ensure that your site doesn’t hamper user experience, you must keep them in their latest versions.
For Updating Latest Features And Having Improved Performance
The theme and plugin developers keep adding new and innovative features to their existing products to make sure their users get improved functionality apart from the same old functions so that they don’t start looking elsewhere for other alternatives.
Moreover, old plugins and themes often become incompatible with the latest versions of WordPress. That’s the key reason you need to keep updating these applications to ensure better and improved performance always.
What Should Website Owners Do To Keep The Themes And Plugins Updated?
There are mainly two ways a website owner can update the themes and plugins – automatic and manual. They can schedule auto-update with Plesk or c-Panel, or choose to update each of the plugins and themes manually.
The auto-update feature is the perfect way to perform updates in the majority of cases. However, here is how you can manually update them in a step-by-step process.
Check for Updates: WordPress doesn’t notify you about an update via email. So you need to login to your admin dashboard and check if there’s an update available for any of the plugins and themes.
Don’t Skip Reviewing The Changelog Of Each Update: Every update comes with its changelog, where you can review what things have changed in the new version from the previous one. This is important for you to know prior to applying the update since there can be something you may not want to change.
Don’t Forget To Take a Backup: Backing up your WordPress site before an update is vital since you can go back to the previous state, in case something goes wrong during the update or after the update.
Test the Update In A Separate Environment First: While some might think this is not necessary, you must test a specific update outside your site. This step will enable you to be sure about the latest update. You can test if the update isn’t going to break something by creating a conflict with other plugins or themes present on the site. You can clone your website in the same or another WordPress hosting and run the update there first to ensure it’s running flawlessly.
What Should Professional WordPress Developers Do?
If you’re a pro WordPress developer and make money by selling your themes and plugins, it’s necessary to release the updates as frequently as you can. Here’s what you should do as a professional WordPress developer in order to release regular updates for your applications.
Test, Test, And Test: It’s a no brainer that you must keep testing your plugins and themes in various WordPress environments. If you’re a company, then you should have a testing team, or in case you are an individual professional, you can ask for beta-testers from your users.
Actively Monitor The Bug Reports: As a developer, you must check every bug report that your users to send to you and communicate with them regarding the matter. This will increase their trust in your products.
Avoid Losing Changes During Theme Updates: If you wish to add code snippets or custom styles to your WordPress theme, then the best option is to create a child theme and add the custom code to this theme’s files. You can also use the Code Snippets plugin as it safely enables you to add the custom code snippets without causing any harm to the website.
Whether you’re a WordPress developer who works on the themes and plugins or the end-user who uses them, regular updates of themes and plugins are a vital aspect that shouldn’t be ignored. It is crucial to fix frequent bugs and security vulnerability problems for smooth performance. Such updates make your WordPress website a secure place for you and your customers/users.