Having a WordPress website is like owning a car. Every so often you have to get take your car in for regular maintenance. If you choose to ignore the regular maintenance then you’ll eventually pay the price.
If you have a website developed in WordPress then maintenance means you’ll need to update plugins and occasionally your WordPress version and theme.
The longer you go on ignoring these updates the more of a risk it becomes that you’ll encounter problems or worse, your site will crash. Especially if you’re running ancient versions as my previous employer had been doing.
Of course many site owners and businesses choose to ignore these updates with the mentality “if it aint broke don’t fix it”.
I worked at a WordPress development company in Toronto once which completely ignored any updates and explicity told their clients to do the same.
If you’re site is developed properly and you update your site frequently then you’ll likely not encounter any issues on updates.
So why update your WordPress website?
WordPress powers roughly 25% of all websites on the internet which has made it a target for hackers.
Being open source this means that the WordPress code is openly available for hackers to figure ways to exploit it. When the WordPress community becomes aware of these vulnerabilities they will provide patches in new releases to further secure the site.
If you want to get an idea of how important it is to update your WordPress for security just visit the Security Category Archive and click on any of the maintenance releases to see the number of patches.
Since there are tools available to figure out what version of WordPress a website is using. Hackers can look a the vulnerabilities for that version and exploit it. It’s that easy!
Without a doubt security should be the main reason to make sure your WordPress version is current.
New WordPress releases also provide additional functionality that make managing your website much more efficient. Over the years the WordPress backend has become more and more intuitive. In the past you’d have to install additional plugins for certain functionality which is now readily available in WordPress. I’m not a fan of installing too many plugins so it makes me happy to hear that they are paying attention to user needs and adding them as core functionality.
For example, with WordPress 4.8 there is a visual editor that is available for widgets. It’s surprises me that it’s taken this long since I’ve had to create the HTML using another HTML editor such as dreamweaver or install a Visual Editor plugin.
So if you want to take full advantage of all the features available make sure your WordPress copy is current.
Bug Fixes & Optimization
As with any piece of software, there will always be bugs. Thanks to the developers and the WordPress community spotting these bugs, fixes are included in future releases.
Further to the bug fixes are code improvements. For instance in WordPress 4.2 JS improvements were made to the navigation menus and in version 4.1 complex queries were improved to improve overall performance.
These code improvements contribute to a more stable and faster running website. A faster running website means users will have a better experience on your website and also improved search engine rankings.
Is your WordPress website up to date?
If you’d like a WordPress expert to take a peek under the hood and see if you’re due for a WordPress update then contact NexToronto today! We can provide monthly WordPress maintenance packages so that you’ll be running a current, secure and optimized version.