WordPress updates, specifically in this case the 4.7 Core Update was released today. Whether to hit that tempting “update WordPress?” button is the question running through a lot of WordPress users’ minds, as they log into their dashboards this morning. We asked our resident Geek Guardian Angel, if it’s safe to press that big red button.
We’ve tested it with some of our main sites and all looks good, nothing has broken. Generally (and we would say this) if a WordPress site is built properly, for example, a “Child Theme” created and any customisations are kept within that Child Theme, things should be fine. Similarly, if your WordPress site is built on a core theme or on a reputable framework from a trusted company, who test their themes against the beta of these core updates, guaranteeing 100% compatibility before they roll out their own updates.
When can problems arise with WordPress updates?
- The first problem can arise when people purchase an ‘off-the-shelf’ theme, from a company that might not keep their themes updated and compatible with latest versions of WordPress. (We avoid developing ‘off-the-shelf’ themes.)
- The second problem can be when either the core parent theme files are updated and customised (not within a child theme, as mentioned above), which inexperienced website developers may do, for speed and ease.
- A problem may arise if plugins used to provide the required functionality of a site may not be compatible. Whilst we limit the plugins we use, we don’t believe in throwing plugins at a site to fix problems, some are usually essential in the good operation of a WordPress website. A plugin developer may decide to include core script libraries, without a built in feature to disable these libraries to avoid compatibility issue.
- Another problem may be where your WordPress website has been custom developed to provide additional functionality for the end user, much like we undertake for a number of our clients where an ‘off-the-shelf’ plugin can’t provide the required functionality.
Should you bother running WordPress updates?
- In short, Yes. Whilst these usually include functionality updates and features to make your life better, importantly, there are virtually always Security updates. It’s always worth staying on top of security updates, no one wants their website to be compromised.
How should I run WordPress updates?
- This is going to sound like a sales pitch. I guess it kind of is. But for peace of mind, we have a Monthly Care Plan for just £10 a month. This makes it our problem, every month, to update all plugins on your website, to add in any new fancy features we might have learnt about (say to improve load speed), but also to deal with any core WordPress updates.
How do Nettl run WordPress updates?
- Firstly, as a developer perk, we have been playing with the WordPress update in Alpha and Beta before it hits the streets. We’ll be aware of what will be coming along in the new update.
- We look at each site and know what it’s built on, and if that will effect anything.
- With any plugins, we would read the plugin author’s details for their update, and check whether they have made a statement about compatibility. If they haven’t made a specific statement about it, we’ll have a feel from their profiles, reviews, how long the company has been around and their typical update frequency, as to whether our geek radars are on alert.
- We’ve got a few test websites with a smattering of plugins in, and a range of the main frameworks, where we run the updates and watch what breaks and how we can fix it.
- When we’re all happy, we’ll run the update on our website, and then on our clients’ websites. Because our hosting has (at least) daily backups (sometimes hourly, depending what package you’re on) we can run the updates, do some user testing and, if anything breaks, hit the ‘restore’ button back to pre-update. Then make a new plan or look into how we fix that problem.