One message that’s almost certain to elicit a groan from CMS users is this:
Update Available. Worse yet, for some, is the announcement that the system is “updating.”
Can system and software updates be annoyances? Sure. Is it worth it, in the long run, to put them off or completely ignore them?
Absolutely not. Even putting off an update for a short period of time can potentially cause long-term headaches.
You can avoid these headaches by always making sure you have the latest WordPress updates. Let’s look at the top five reasons for regularly updating WordPress.
• Fresh Features
• Consistent Compatibility
• Perfect Performance
• Obliterate Bugs
• Strengthen Security
If you’re looking for a reason to look forward to updates, new features may be the most fun. Everyone loves new “toys” that could enhance their website even more or, even better, make it easier to use. What website security business doesn’t love the latest bells and whistles that may set one website apart from the rest?
Here are few examples of previous feature updates for WordPress:
WordPress Version 4.1: Inline image editing for mobile users
WordPress Version 4.2: Faster plugin installation
WordPress Version 4.3: Ability to format shortcuts in Visual Editor
These are just a few examples of improved features that were only accessible by uploading the latest versions of WordPress. Because WordPress is open source, new and improved features that increase the user-friendliness, as well as the capabilities of the platform, are always becoming available.
When it comes to ensuring compatibility between the latest version of WordPress and existing plugins, there are two rules to follow:
1. ALWAYS backup your site before updating WordPress
2. ALWAYS get your plugins from reputable developers who keep their plugins current.
Installing the latest version of WordPress will sometimes trigger an update of some plugins to ensure their compatibility with new versions and the new features they may contain. In some cases, plugins don’t require any updates at all, but in other cases. an update to a plugin or to WordPress itself may lead to compatibility problems. When you have backed up your site and have gotten your plugins from reputable developers, the compatibility issues are simply much less of an issue.
It is an unfortunate fact that, in the rush to get the newest product versions on the market, many software updates come with a few bugs, WordPress included. However, as odd it may sound, this is actually a good thing. The more widespread the use of the product, the more quickly these bugs can be identified and the faster a fix can be issued. This is the reason that after a major WordPress update (one with an X.X version number) is released, it is often followed by a minor release (one with an X.X.X version number) tailored specifically to exterminate these little bugs before they can become bigger ones. Of course, this only works if you actually perform the latest WordPress updates.
The number one benefit of installing the latest version of WordPress is increased security. In the internet age, hackers and cyber attacks are an unfortunate reality. A reality that can pose a serious threat to a CMS that powers nearly a quarter of the internet, which WordPress does.
What kind of threats? Here are just a few:
• Data Theft
• Site Takedown
The good news is that the large size that makes WordPress vulnerable is also what makes it more difficult for attacks to succeed. A huge community of developers and users are constantly working to shore up any vulnerabilities in the platform. The open source format means anyone can locate a potential problem and report it to the core WordPress team or to plugin developers. Of course, this protection against data theft, malicious code insertions, and total site take-down only benefits those who are updating WordPress regularly (hint, hint).
Some Final Advice
When you fail to install the latest version of WordPress, you open your website to a variety of problems that can lead to loss of time, loss of information and loss of revenue. The easy answer is to take the few minutes necessary to install the latest WordPress updates. You’re only hurting yourself if you don’t.