As a WordPress website owner, you may have wondered, what are WordPress updates? What are the different types of WordPress updates, and what makes them so important? In this article we’ll take a deep dive into the different types of WordPress updates, and why each has an important role in your website.
Why Should I Update WordPress?
First one must ask, why should I update WordPress, to begin with? If the website seems to be working fine, then is it really necessary to update it? The answer is yes, absolutely! You’ll want to be sure to update your WordPress website regularly for multiple reasons. Among the most important benefits of keeping your WordPress website updated is to ensure that your website is fast, secure, and has the latest features for your visitors.
There are three different types of updates you should focus on to keep your website running smoothly. These are updates to the WordPress core software which establish the foundation for your website, your WordPress theme which controls the layout and appearance of your website, and the various WordPress plugins that expand the functionality of your website.
WordPress Core Updates
The WordPress core software is the foundation of your website. This software is comprised of all of the files that you initially start with when you first install WordPress. Since WordPress is an open-source project, there’s a community of developers who are constantly working to improve the software. These tasks primarily center on coming up with new features to improve usability, maintaining compatibility across browsers and devices, and patching the core software against security vulnerabilities. These new features, compatibility fixes, and security patches arrive as part of regular updates. Major updates are released several times a year with minor updates rolled out as needed.
WordPress Theme Updates
Your WordPress theme adjusts the look and feel of your website, structuring it to best accomplish your website’s purpose while allowing you to alter fonts, colors, and other attributes to match your brand. WordPress comes with several simple themes included. Likewise, the online marketplace has become saturated with premium themes. Regardless of whether you choose a theme included with WordPress or you have installed your own theme, you’ll want to be sure that it stays up to date. Just as with WordPress core, themes may have new features added, may require compatibility fixes, and will need to be patched against security vulnerabilities. The theme developer must also ensure continued compatibility with the WordPress core software.
WordPress Plugin Updates
WordPress plugins alter or expand upon the core WordPress software functionality. For example, WooCommerce is a popular plugin that allows goods and services to be sold on your website. WordPress plugins are of particular concern as failure to update them may result in loss of use of all or part of your website over time. This is often due to compatibility issues with the WordPress core software, theme, other plugins, or web browsers. However loss of use can also occur due to changes that affect the functionality of the plugin itself. In addition, since WordPress plugins focus more on functionality rather than aesthetics, they are also a popular target for hackers.
WordPress Security Updates
Perhaps the most important reason to update WordPress is for the security updates. These updates apply to WordPress core, WordPress themes, and WordPress plugins. By not installing all security updates, you leave your website open to potentially being hacked. This is a far more often occurrence than you may think with the use of bots that scan the web for outdated WordPress installations and inject malicious code in order to gain control over a website. These bots can then post spam or even harvest personal information including usernames and passwords. For this reason alone, you’ll want to be sure that WordPress core, your themes, and your plugins remain up-to-date always.
We hope now that you’ve read this article you have a better understanding of the different types of updates that are applicable to WordPress and the importance of keeping your website up-to-date. By following the practices outlined in this article, you and your visitors should benefit from a healthy website for many years. If you are looking for assistance keeping your WordPress website updated, consider a WordPress website care plan, and we would be glad to help you!