Why You Should Always Use the Latest Version of WordPress

Every time a new WordPress update is released, we receive multiple emails from people asking if updating their WordPress site is safe. Do you want to know if you should update your WordPress to the most recent version? Do you want to discover the benefits and drawbacks of updating WordPress? We’ll discuss why it’s critical to always use the most recent version of WordPress in this article, as well as how to update WordPress effectively.

WordPress is a free platform that is maintained by a developer community. They correct issues, add new features, improve performance, and enhance current functions with each new release to keep up with emerging industry requirements.

To put it another way, if you don’t update your WordPress site, you’re jeopardizing its security while also missing out on new features and enhancements.

Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of updating WordPress.

1. Security

The most crucial reason to keep your WordPress website up to date is for security reasons.

WordPress is used by more than 30% of all websites on the internet. WordPress is a prominent target for hackers, malicious code distributors, data thieves, and hackers due to its popularity.

CMS Share of the Market

Because WordPress is open source, anyone may learn and enhance it by studying the source code. It does, however, mean that hackers can study it and devise new ways to breach into websites.

The good news is that not all hackers are malicious. Because there are far more good hackers than bad, security specialists from all around the world can analyze the code and appropriately report security vulnerabilities and remedies. When a security vulnerability is discovered, the WordPress core team works quickly to deliver an update that addresses the problem.

This means that if you aren’t running the most recent version of WordPress, you’re running software that has known security flaws. Hackers can look for older versions of websites, and you could be the target of a sophisticated assault.

Hackers might take advantage of plugins as well as WordPress itself. You must keep all of your WordPress plugins, themes, and the core itself up to date at all times.

See our definitive guide to WordPress security for more information on how to keep your site safe.

2. Innovative New Features

Each major WordPress update brings new features and modifications to the platform. WordPress 5.0, for example, introduced the block editor, WordPress 5.3 added accessibility and UI enhancements, and WordPress 5.4 added additional blocks and block editor improvements.

Gutenberg is a new block editor for WordPress.

If you were using an older version of WordPress, your experience would be very different from someone who was using the most recent version.

Because you’re using an older version of WordPress, you’ll have a hard time obtaining help online. Users on the WordPress help forums will presume you’re running the most recent version of the software.

3. Speed

3. Speed

WordPress developers are constantly working to improve the speed of the platform. Each new release includes a number of performance enhancements that make WordPress function more quickly and efficiently.

WordPress 4.2, for example, enhanced JS performance for navigation menus, while WordPress 4.1 improved complicated queries, which helped sites that used those queries perform better.

Because speed is such an important aspect of SEO, you should always keep your WordPress up to date to get the most out of it.

Check out our definitive guide to WordPress speed and performance for more advice on how to improve your site’s speed.

4. Fixes for bugs

Despite the fact that major versions are thoroughly tested, WordPress issues do occasionally get through the gaps. That’s why minor WordPress updates (those beginning with X.X.X) are released on a regular basis to cater for it. The most recent WordPress 4.2.3 update, for example, corrected 20 problems from the 4.2 version.

If you go to the WordPress support forums and ask for help, the first thing you’ll hear is that you should update WordPress since that might fix the problem. If you refuse to update WordPress, you will be unable to receive assistance.

5. Reliability (or NOT)

Plugin and theme authors frequently time their updates to coincide with major WordPress releases in order to take advantage of new features and advancements.

However, if your existing WordPress plugins aren’t following best practices and coding standards, an upgrade may break them.

This is why it’s critical to back up your WordPress site on a regular basis.

To summarize, the sole disadvantage is that your site may occasionally break. However, you do have the following advantages:

  • WordPress security has been improved.
  • WordPress has some cool new features.
  • Improved WordPress performance
  • Better compatibility thanks to a bug-free WordPress website

Now that you understand why it’s critical to maintain your WordPress site up to date, let’s look at how to do it.

How to Update Your WordPress Website

It’s simple to upgrade your WordPress core, plugins, and themes anytime there’s a new version available. WordPress has an update notification mechanism built-in. When you connect to your WordPress dashboard, it displays the number of available updates.

Screen for updating WordPress

All you have to do now is go to Dashboard » Updates and apply the updates. This is a one-button operation.

However, because many website owners do not check their WordPress dashboard on a daily basis, they may be unaware that an update is available for days. You do, however, have a few options.

Automatic updates for minor releases are enabled if you’re using WordPress 3.7 or above (which are reserved for security and bugfixes). For major releases, plugins, and themes, you can enable automatic upgrades.

Alternatively, you can receive email notifications whenever your WordPress site is updated.

Get WordPress Update Notifications by Email

Logging into your site to check for updates is usually the last thing on your mind when you’re busy running your business. Wouldn’t it be more convenient if you could receive an email notification anytime your WordPress sites were updated?

That’s a possibility.

The WP Updates Notifier plugin should be installed and activated first. To configure the plugin settings, go to Settings » Updates Notifier after it’s been activated.

Settings for the WordPress update notification plugin

This plugin checks your site for updates every hour using WordPress cron. You can reduce this to once or twice a day. This plugin will send you an email notification when a new update is available.

By default, it looks for updates to the WordPress core, plugins, and themes. You only need to click the save settings with test email button.

WordPress Updates Installed Automatically

You can make the procedure even more automated. You may set up automatic upgrades for major releases, plugins, and themes in WordPress.

If you’re not using managed WordPress hosting, this approach is dangerous. Managed WordPress hosting firms keep an eye on your site and upgrade it to the latest WordPress versions automatically.

If you enable automatic updates, there’s a chance your site will break and you won’t be available to fix it right immediately. Having said that, if you want to activate automatic updates, there are two options (plugin method and code method).

First, let’s look at the plugin approach.

The Easy Updates Manager plugin must first be installed and activated. To configure the plugin, go to Dashboard » Update Options after it’s been activated.

Setting up automatic WordPress updates

Scroll down to the automatic updates area to activate automatic updates for the core, plugins, themes, and translation files. Simply save your settings once you’ve finished.

Using the wp-config file, enable automatic updates.

You can enable automatic updates for WordPress core by simply adding this line to your wp-config.php file.

Make a backup of your website beforehand, just in case something goes wrong.

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define('WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true);

If you also want to update your themes and plugins automatically, you’ll need to add this to the functions.php file of your theme or a site-specific plugin.

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add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_true' );
add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_true' );

We hope that this post has shown why you should always use the most recent version of WordPress.