WordPress (WP) is an open source website creation tool, created and continuously updated by a team of developers. It powers over 31% of all websites, making it responsible for millions of sites worldwide. Many new website builders use WP because it’s an established and trusted source.
However, new users may be not as familiar with why they should continually update their version of WP, in addition to any plugins they’re using. Updates are vital to maintaining security and speed for your site, as well as taking advantage of all the new features that come with updates.
Here are the strongest reasons you should update your WP website:
WP is open source, which means anyone can learn the code and improve it. This also means hackers can learn the code to try to exploit websites. Hackers can easily exploit WP sites with insecure web hosting, weak passwords, and outdated plugins and themes.
However, most hackers are actually “white hats” and have good intentions. They take advantage of the source code to discover security bugs and fixes. They report these security vulnerabilities to the core WP team, which will then fix the issues and release an update.
Malicious, or “black hat,” hackers, specifically target users with older versions of WP and older plugins that are easy to exploit. If you’re not using the latest version of WP or haven’t updated your plugins, you run the risk of a security breach of your site or experiencing bugs you could otherwise fix with an update. Updating is one simple way to protect against these loopholes that hackers use to their advantage.
Additionally, if you are a new site user, you may still be unfamiliar with all the ways you can maximize security for your site. Updating regularly can at least ensure you maintain a baseline of security to keep your site a friendly and welcoming place for visitors.
Take Advantage of New Features
In addition to security fixes, updates bring users brand new features. For example, the latest 4.9.8 release gives users a preview of Gutenberg, a block editor, before it’s released in the 5.0 version. Gutenberg separates texts into blocks every time you hit the Enter key. This allows you to easily rearrange large groups of text. Additionally, this release lets users find and report bugs in the feature, so they’re fixed for the full release in 5.0.
Get the Best Online Support
If you’re looking for help on WP support forums, users will generally assume you are using the latest versions of WP. Doing so will not only make getting support more likely, it may even eliminate many issues you have. When using outdated versions, the support you receive may not make sense to you, as certain feature may be missing.
If you’re a new user, you’re probably accessing online WP support forums for all your questions while you tackle the learning curve. Updates are extremely important in this case, so you’re speaking the same language as the person who’s helping you.
Perform at Higher Speed
WP developers are always trying to make the tool faster for users and make the websites themselves run quicker. A faster website means greater search engine optimization. So update your WP and plugins to make sure you’re maximizing your performance speed and creating a good experience for website visitors.
As mentioned before, WP works diligently to eliminate bugs whenever they’re reported and will release new versions with bug fixes. The 4.9.8 version fixes 46 bugs; that’s a lot of problems you might be experiencing that you can eliminate with a simple update. Plugins and themes generally have just as many updates as WP itself, and updating these can eliminate bugs and errors, too.
Therefore, it is very important to always create a complete WP backup before you do updates. This way you can continue to update with confidence. Knowing if any component does cease to work as expected, you can always switch back to your previous version of WP until you can identify the faulty programs and switch to more reputable ones that will stay current with future updates.
The risks to updating your site are far less likely than the issues that arise out of neglecting to keep your WP site and its plugins updated. With a regularly maintained backup, this risk is virtually non-existent. With advantages like improved security, better features and higher performance speed, WP users can improve their sites and stay up-to-date with technology and their competitors.
Whether your website was built by Imagine Monkey, or by another firm, our experts can help keep your website secure with our Managed Services.