WordPress has quickly become a go-to choice for a self-hosted website content management system. However, many wonder whether they need to upgrade their WordPpress site every time a new version comes out? Here is a short answer — you are playing with fire if you don’t regularly upgrade your WordPress platform.The seriousness can be easily understood from the fact that around 83% of all hacked WordPress blogs are the one that were not upgraded.
Just like any software on your computer, your CMS (content management system) WordPress needs to be upgraded on a regular basis. Since it is an open source community, there are literally thousands of people globally working constantly to improve it and fix old problems. New updated versions are released frequently. Though updating a WordPress may be a cumbersome task sometimes, it’s extremely important. If you don’t update your CMS, you are almost guaranteed to get hacked at some point, since you are using software with known security vulnerability.
Akin to search engine crawlers that index information on the web, hackers develop bots that roam the web identifying WordPress website with known vulnerability. These bots are like automated robots that prepare list of website with details such as version of WordPress used and the list of plugins. Because this is an automated activity, sooner or later, your website will face an attack if it is running outdated version of WordPress with known vulnerability.
Here are top 3 reasons why you can’t afford to miss out on important WordPress upgrades:
- Increased security
- Added features and functionality
WordPress is a huge target for hackers; that’s because hacking this platform will give the hackers access to millions of websites. WordPress currently powers 23% of all websites in the world. It is open source software which means whenever an upgrade comes out; the details of the upgrade are made public as with any other open source software or platform. If the upgrade is related to security fix, someone with malicious intent may use the information to their advantage to hack the WordPress website that hasn’t been upgraded in the mean time. You should upgrade your website as soon as any security fix is released.
New security fix prevents hackers from breaking into your website server and placing malicious code, steel bandwidth and other resource, steel sensitive user information, site downtime, purge data or even entire website. You also stand chance to lose your position in search engine ranking and Google may de-index your website, if it finds malicious code on them.
You should not only update your WordPress theme, but you should also update plugins. Updating plugins can be as important as updating WordPress. All plugins are potential source of security holes. You should be very careful while installing any WordPress plugins. Install plugins that have good amount of positive reviews. Once you have installed them, keep updating them frequently. Outdated plugins can be even more vulnerable to security attacks than the outdated WordPress website itself.
The second biggest advantage of having a WordPress upgrades is it’s compatibility with new plugins. If you don’t upgrade your CMS, you may not be able to install a brand new plugin. Even if you manage to get it installed, it may not function correctly. You will have to find an older version of that plugin which is compatible with your version of WordPress. In this case older version may not have all the important features and bug fixes.
Keeping your WordPress CMS updated ensures your site remains compatible with current version of plugins and themes. The internet technology is advancing with lightning speed. Paying attention to compatibility issues in advance will save you from lost data, site downtime and expensive repairs down the road. If you don’t update your website from time to time, you may inevitably run into these risks.
Added features and functionality
When you don’t update your WordPress CMS, you also find yourself missing out on latest features and functionality that are introduced with latest release. These features and functionalities are important for your website to remain competitive. Otherwise your competition will easily gain an edge over you. Outdated tools and CMS will cripple your website in the world of business. Timely WordPress upgrade will help you keep up with the latest trend that are important to stay relevant and offer your site’s visitor’s the best experience possible.
Regular updates also ensures your WordPress website performance and functionality is not inhibited by outdated code and design. New technologies and techniques are developed constantly to boost page load speed, page size and more. Skipping upgrades will not only leave your website vulnerable to attack, using outdated technology and functionality but will also adversely impact your Google ranking.
Wrapping it up
Scores of WordPress website owners have a fear about compatibility issues that may arise if the new version of WordPress isn’t compatible with existing themes or plugins on the site. Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t provide straight forward method to “roll back” updates. However it is relatively easy to take the backup of the entire website. You can take the backup of all the website-files and database prior to making an update, by logging into the control panel of your hosting account. You should be able to quickly roll back updates, if they cause an issue. If you find this part relatively complex, there are many WordPress plugins that can help you take backup of your latest posts database and content directories. But keeping the backup on server does not offer enough protection because if your server is compromised, the hacker may even delete the backup files. You should always download your backup files and database and maintain an archive of your backup files on your local computer or online using services like DropBox.