WordPress is constantly changing. The web is also constantly changing. Human beings, however, are creatures of habit and generally do not like change. This might explain why so many new WordPress users ask “Why Update WordPress, Plugins, Themes?”
The short answer is “You have to!” But since most people reading this are not children, this article will discuss the reasons why you have to update WordPress.
These updates are necessary for several reasons. And there are pros and cons Before we discuss the pros of keeping WordPress, its plugins and themes up to date, lets talk about the cons:
More often than not, we value something by its monetary cost. So whether your organization is an SMB, NPO or ministry, your first reaction to updates m,ight have been something like this:
“Upgrade? Updates? How much more money will that cost”
Then you might remember that technically WordPress is free. And its updates are free. So there is no monetary reason for not taking advantage of any WordPress update. The same applies to free themes and plugins. The updates are free. In fact, the decision to use a free plugin or theme should be based on the fact it is being frequently updated.
If you have purchased a theme, plugin, or other add-on, its value lies largely in how well it is supported. At the point where it is no longer supported, it becomes a liability. Outdated or unsupported add-ons compromise the security of your WordPress site.
So if you do not want to pay for support of a theme or plugin, I would recommend using a free theme or plugin (that is well supported). I recommend the WordPress Repository as the credible place to get free themes and plugins.
So let’s remove cost as an excuse not to update.
Potential Damage To Your Site
(When You don’t Update WordPress).
It is possible that a plugin or theme can break your site. But you can easily protect against this by backing up your site before upgrading. If the update causes a problem, just restore back to the version you had before the update.
Now for the pros:
The WordPress core development team constantly works hard to make WordPress faster and more efficient. Its likely that you invest a lot of time and effort in your site. Shouldn’t you take full advantage of all their hard work and expertise also? If your car is recalled (sometimes a recall is a minor fix), would you not take your car in for the necessary update, which is free?
Every WordPress update serves two purposes. Cool new features are rolled out. But even more important, is the fact that some known vulnerability has been fixed. So knowingly running an old version of WordPress is like asking to be hacked. If you think about it, it really is common sense. Hackers are like burglars. Burglars don’t pick the newest, most secure looking house to break into. They look to exploit vulnerabilities like a broken window or door lock. Hackers, look for outdated versions of WordPress core, plugins, and themes. Because they have learned of vulnerabilities that they can take advantage of.
Longevity Of Your Site
By updating frequently, you deal with small changes and errors on an ongoing basis, and keep your site up-to-date with the core of WordPress development. If you don’t update for a year or two, you’re far more likely to have major problems, because all of those small issues have become combined, making for a more complex, and likely, more expensive repair.
By Not Keeping These Components Updated, You Make Yourself A Target.
So What Are These Vulnerabilities That Hackers Exploit? Mainly Users failure to update WordPress Plugins.
The WPScan Vulnerability Database, which catalogs weaknesses in WordPress sites, 54% of the vulnerabilities reported were caused by WordPress plugins. WordPress core accounts for 37% and WordPress themes account for 11%. This has also been confirmed by Wordfence, who discovered that 55.9% of vulnerabilities came from plugins.
Plan For Maintenance
If you don’t get anything else from reading this, please understand that maintenance on your WordPress site is a requirement. The only question is how you will approach it. WordPress has a dedicated, skilled community of developers that are continually improving its core, plugins and themes. As the website owner, you can decide to update WordPress, plugins, themes yourself or hire a third-party. Whatever route you take, you should start with a plan.
If your plan does not involve doing it all yourself, KlearVue offers several maintenance plans that will update WordPress, Plugins, Themes.