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What’s the deal with WordPress upgrades?

What’s the deal with WordPress upgrades?

* Important bit: if we host your website we deal with upgrades for you.

From time to time you may have noticed info in your WordPress admin dashboard about upgrades – ever wondered what that’s all about?

What are upgrades?

Upgrades fix bugs and security vulnerabilities and sometimes add new bells and whistles. There are so many nasty people out there that it’s essential to keep everything running your website up to date because otherwise it may be at risk.

What type of upgrades are we talking about?

There are upgrades to WordPress itself and to the plugins that add extra functionality to your site.

WordPress upgrades

Major new releases come out two or three times a year. These bring improvements to the way WordPress runs and sometimes new features and/or changes to the admin interface.

Since late 2013 the WordPress core now updates itself automatically with what are called maintenance releases, on average once a month or so. These are usually fixes for small things and won’t even notice them.

If you want to get technical major releases have two digits (WordPress 3.9) and maintenance releases have three digits (3.9.1). In 2013 there were three major releases and six maintenance releases.

WordPress updates are generally well-tested and if there are important changes we know well in advance what they’ll be. For major releases we test beta releases for any potential impacts well before release date

Plugin upgrades

Most sites use a handful of WordPress plugins to do various things (to create contact forms, image sliders, manage SEO for example). Each plugin developers releases updates at different frequencies as they add new features or fix bugs and/or security issues.

Again, if we host your site we’ll upgrade plugins for you.

Theme upgrades

Depending on how your site is set up these can be a bit more complex.

Do upgrades cause problems?

Not often.

If your version of WordPress is regularly kept up to date, your site uses as few plugins as possible and these are well-written you’re unlikely to have issues.

We make dozens of WordPress core and plugin upgrades every week and rarely come across an issue.

Is there a 100% guarantee an upgrade won’t cause an issue?

No. A dynamic website is a complex being made up of many parts. Sometimes one small change or bugfix in one place can have an unexpected flow-on effect that’s not instantly noticeable somewhere else.

If we upgrade for you we back up before starting and we look over your site after finishing. If you notice anything you think is different let us know and we’ll look into it.

Steve is Go4's fearless leader. He designs, codes, project manages and wrestles with his inbox.

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