Have you received an email that says, “[Business Name] WordPress VERSION HERE is available. Please update!”
Not sure what to do next? Or what the heck it even means?!!??!
Every once in a while, your WordPress platform may request that you update it. X.Y.Z version has come out, and it seems oh so urgent that you upgrade to the next new version.
You may have looked at it and wondered: Why bother?
Just like those updates for your computer or your phone, they usually help protect you from security vulnerabilities and help your devices perform optimally. The same is true for your website!
Technically speaking, you don’t need updates. You can go without them for a good long while. But technically, your computer, phone, and even car don’t “need” updates either then. But it sure does help, right?!
Of course, there is a downside to that kind of “doesn’t need it” approach. Just like with your car needs an oil change and other maintenance, so does your website.
People who use malicious code and ‘hack’ websites keep updated with many different kinds of systems. They keep up to date constantly with all the little tricks that developers try to keep ahead of. That’s why updates are important.
Just like Windows comes out with updates every week, your phone apps, your security software. Everything with software likely needs patches now and again to fill in holes, fix bugs, and to keep everything moving together smoothly. Sure, it’s annoying but has to be done if you’re going to stay on top of the issues. All in all, these are some of the basic reasons updates will help:
- Bugs: All programs have little snippets of code that just don’t work right under certain circumstances. They may clash with addons, other updates, changes in browsers or any other dozens of things.
- Security flaws: Just like all programs have bugs, all programs have little flaws in security that can be exploited. Whether they have to do with how data is transmitted, stored, or displayed, people are always finding ways to get into the places they shouldn’t!
- New features: Most developers get asked to add features as soon as they launch a program or addon. They add these as updates. They could be as simple as an extra button, or as elaborate as a full rewrite of their program to make it work with another.
Updates are not universal or constant! Some programs will update once a week regularly, some once a month. Others can go years without any updates at all, then have several over the span of a single day! They happen when they’re called for, needed, or just when the developer has time. You will get notifications when your site(s) can be updated.
Even though it tells you it is easy, please do be careful. Sites are made up of WordPress software, a theme design and plugins for functions. Sometimes when you have a certain version of one, it is only compatible with certain versions of the others. So if you just update the software without updating the plugins, your site may break.
NOTE: Do not attempt this at home without a backup of your site.
And, of course, if you notice something strange, it’s time to take action. The problem has already happened.
While maintenance does come with a small fee, (depends on the number of plugins and features you have) it is nothing compared to the fee off an emergency project to clean up a hacked website. AND, if not caught in time, can effect your marketing, your rankings, other sites and more.
So please don’t ignore those emails. If nothing else, forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you decide what should be done, how quickly, and for how much.
If you don’t want all the hassle (and major risk) of updating yourself, Cal Coast Web Design offers maintenance packages or one-time fees to update whenever you want! We can help make the process quick and easy – if there are any issues, we’re more than happy to work with you to fix them and make sure your website is working perfectly! You can contact us by calling (888) 281-7665.