WordPress initially started out as a popular blogging software, developed mainly for bloggers. WordPress instantly gained popularity and is now known as a powerful Content Management System (CMS) used to manage many websites. 

WordPress as a CMS provides its users with a friendly and intuitive administrative interface. It translates the intimidating task of properly managing a website’s content into a simpler and easier quick-win. With this, WordPress has transformed into one of the most widely used CMS across the globe not just for bloggers, but for businesses as well. 

It is a free open source platform and one of the most commonly used CMS around the world. Because of this, it can be easily exposed to threats and vulnerabilities. That is why it is so important to keep WordPress plugins and websites updated – for added security. 

Why update WordPress and plugins

The following is a brief list of reasons to keep your WordPress instance and plugins updated regularly:

1. New Features

WordPress 5.6 is scheduled for release on December 8, 2020. It features the following for users:

  • Improved block editor for added blocks to more places and fewer clicks to create layouts 
  • Automatic updates for major core opt-in releases (opt-in)
  • External authentication to the REST API via newly introduced Application Passwords
  • New AAA-ready default theme

 

For developers, WordPress 5.6 comes with several refinements. It is done through 85 enhancements and feature requests.

 

2. Security & Bug Fixes 

WordPress is a CMS that is also a free open source platform. This means that developers can elevate WordPress’ functionality by integrating the software. They include plugins and themes they create. The source code of a free open source platform is available to the general public. This also means that it is easy for hackers to uncover and play on the security vulnerabilities of this platform. 

The WordPress development team creates and releases regular security and bug fix updates. These updates are implemented to fix bugs and security vulnerabilities. They are also packed with new features and functionality in certain releases. 

This is why neglecting to download WordPress updates poses a possible hacking security risk. Also, it results in consumers failing to enjoy new features and enhancements.

The WordPress 5.6 release boasts of 201 bug fixes

 

3. Speed

Updating WordPress plugins and websites also enables the greatest performance benefits. New releases often include upgrades to also improve the website speed. Improvements in page loading times help reduce bounce rates which assist in keeping your users engaged with your website. A higher speed is also valued in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), allowing the website to gain higher traffic. 

How websites can be protected

Building a WordPress website involves a slew of third-party plugins and themes running in conjunction. Each of these components should also be made compatible with the code changes as well. This is to ensure that the website still runs smoothly after updating WordPress to its latest version. Third-party plugins and themes should be updated regularly. If not, upgrading to the latest WordPress version might break your website.

To resolve this possible issue, it is important to keep a regular backup of your website. This is to help maintain it and keep up the third party plugins with WordPress updates. Once a WordPress update causes your website to break, then rolling back to the latest backup saved will keep the website up and running. A developer can help find and figure out the specific plugin or theme incompatible with the WordPress update. This is while it is on its rollback version.

WordPress announces release candidates through a beta tester or a direct download for the test environment. This is before making the final release of the update available to the public. The perfect time to check the compatibility plugins and themes is before implementing the newest version. 

Another way to protect the website against risks is to choose plugins and themes from reputable sources. There should be a clear, documented history of version updates. These providers will most likely continue providing compatibility updates for future releases. 

 

Key takeaways

The importance of carrying out regular updates to WordPress websites and plugins far outweigh the downside. It ensures protection against vulnerabilities. It serves as security against the risks of getting hacked, losing data, and having compatibility issues. The website then remains functional without downtime and bugs. The data and content remain intact. 

The website also becomes faster, secure from malware threats, and free of bugs. New functionalities to enhance the user experience and website functions also become accessible. 

CTS provides you world-class, 24/7 WordPress support without the expense of hiring a developer. Let CTS help you grow your business so you can have peace of mind.

If you need more information about WordPress and plugins, do not hesitate to contact a CTS professional. We would love to know how we can help you.