Tim Priebe

Should you upgrade WordPress?

upgradeIf your website uses WordPress, you may wonder if you should keep up to date on the most current copy of WordPress. Like anything, there are pros and cons to keeping it up to date. Let’s look at a few of those, so you can make an informed decision on your own.

Pros

There are two main reasons to upgrade WordPress: Better security and new features.

Better Security

In general, the more updated your software, the more secure your website is. The more secure it is, the less likely it will be hacked.

There are occasionally exceptions to this rule, as sometimes new versions are released with security holes in them. When discovered, they usually release a fixed version very quickly.

New Features

New features are rolled out constantly in WordPress. Past updates have included backups of pages and posts, great improvements on media handling, easier ways to insert links to your pages, and more.

Cons

Similarly, there are two main reasons not to upgrade WordPress: Broken themes and broken plugins.

Broken Themes

First, broken themes. If you constantly keep WordPress updated, eventually certain elements of your website’s theme may stop working. You may then have to contact your website company to have them fix the theme.

The fact that your theme needs fixes isn’t the website company’s fault. It’s just something that happens over time. So typically this is something you will have to pay them for.

Broken Plugins

Just like your theme, your plugins rely on WordPress working a certain way. While some of them may work fine when you upgrade, others may need to be upgraded.

In turn, some of those upgrades may be available and free. Others may cost money if it was a premium plugin. And still others may have been abandoned by their author, with no upgrade or suitable replacement available.

Still want to upgrade?

If you still want to upgrade your own website, here are a few tips.

1. Make a backup first.

backup-buddyIf you’re a highly technical, experienced webmaster, you can do this manually. However, I recommend using a tool like BackupBuddy. Make a backup, then download it to your computer before upgrading.

2. Set aside plenty of time.

While it’s possible the upgrade will only take 10-20 minutes, it’s also possible this will be that time your most important plugin stops working. And it may also be the time you discover it’s no longer supported by the author, and you have to spend a couple hours finding a replacement.

3. Upgrade a development copy first.

Set up a testing version of your website, preferably using something like BackupBuddy. Then run the upgrade on that version first so you get to practice before running it on your live website.

4. Hire a professional.

Want the process to be more stress-free? Hire a professional like T&S to perform the backup for you. If they’re experienced, they’ll have the process down and know how to greatly reduce or eliminate any risk involved in the upgrade process.

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