Developers are continually working to catch your eye with smart plugins for your WordPress web design. A plugin is add-on software that expands the functionality or includes additional features that can make your site stand out. It’s crucial to update to keep your site healthy and use those added functionalities effectively. That includes not only the plugins as required but also regular and entire WordPress core updates, as suggested by WordPress.
Luckily, WordPress has one of the most manageable updating systems around. They’ve designed it to be backward compatible and user-friendly. There are some best practices you should follow, however, so the updates happen with no disruption to your website.
Why WordPress Updates?
Before we get into updates, it will be helpful to have some background of the mechanics of WordPress. At least, on how it relates to you and your site. Your WordPress site consists of two major parts – a database and files. The good news is that updating WordPress, including its database and all files, ultimately protects your website from security issues and technical failures. The bad news is that updating can put your site at risk of losing custom features or creating incompatibility issues between your WordPress files.
When Should You Update?
Updating your WordPress site is not an optional task. It becomes a matter of when and not if your website will break if you don’t keep it updated. WordPress takes the stress out of knowing when to update by telling you it’s time. The WordPress platform regularly checks the versions of the software and plugins you are using to make sure you are using the latest ones. There is a built-in alert that notifies you via a site message within the WordPress administrative dashboard when updates are available.
Before You Update
It can be pretty scary to change anything within a website. For this reason, you will need to back up your entire site before any updates are made to ensure you are protected. Backups also enable you to go back to a previous version of your website if you’re not happy with the results.
Your site should be getting backed up regularly by your hosting site – that is if you have a reputable host. You also have the option of backing up your website on your own. There is third party software that you can use or manual backup instructions you can follow for those hardcore DIYers.
Updating plugins is in itself, not a difficult task, but you must follow the WordPress recommended steps to do so. Plugins are managed from the plugin’s admin screen of your WordPress admin dashboard. According to WordPress.org, updating your plugins is a simple four-step process that you can find here. WordPress offers an extended set of instructions as well as a support forum.
Custom Web Design Makes It Easier
Tingalls Graphic Design creates custom themes for every client. Our themes are optimized for speed and reduce dependencies on external plugins. This creates sites that are less likely to be affected by WordPress core updates, and having less plugins means less to update and less long-term compatibility issues. If you’re interested in learning more on how we can create a custom WordPress site, set up the hosting, and maintain updates and backups, contact us today for a free consultation.