WordPress is a wonderful platform to develop websites on and has many benefits, both from a developmental point of view and as a content management system. It’s one of our favourite platforms to work with although it needs tweaking “straight out of the box.”
One of the things that makes WordPress great is the ability to install “plugins” for additional features and extended functionality. However, when websites depend on some of these plugins for the website to work properly, there can be problems..
WordPress Security Updates
Just like any other popular software, WordPress is often vulnerable to new found security bugs and issues. The developers are usually pretty quick to release fixes for their website and blogging platform when such vulnerabilities are found. It is always important to make sure that updates are applied when they are released; many WordPress users in being lax about applying updates have logged into WordPress installations or visited their websites, only to discover that it’s been “hacked” by some unscrupulous person or organization.
Fixing up any piece of software after it has been hacked by someone is always more time consuming and costly than going the route of prevention in the first place. While many organizations often do not put enough emphasis on security, and fail to realize that security is an ongoing process and not a one time fix, when bad things happen, it can create a lot of havoc and concern.
WordPress is no different and if you are not checking regularly for security and bug fix updates, you should have someone watching over this for you to ensure your site is updated when new security updates are released. Additionally, plugins also often need to be updated for the same reasons.
Updates don’t happen all the time; we can go several months sometimes without a security update, while other months, there may be two releases. Often, it is during the lull when nothing much is happening that website owners can become complacent.
Why We Don’t Agree With Auto-Updates
WordPress has tried to take security issues and updates very seriously and has made it possible for auto-updates to occur when there is a new release that addresses security concerns and vulnerabilities. While on the surface, this sounds like a great thing, it’s not always the best way to approach the problem.
On July 23rd, 2015 for example, there was a security update to WordPress – and many site owners discovered their websites were entirely broken! Forums were filled with complaints from webmasters who discovered that after an auto-update was applied to their WP installation, their sites simply stopped working.
The reason for this was that the update created problems with incompatibility for some plugins that had been installed. If anything, this is perhaps one of the biggest complaints about updates, but often there is not much you can do except to try to fix it, or find some way (including deactivating or replacing older plugins).
While trying to ensure updates are done as soon as possible after it has been released is admirable through an auto-update mechanism, the potential downsides can also be quite risky, especially for website owners that depend on their sites from sales, communication, and traffic. However, it is important to get it done.
A Better Way For WordPress Updates
Unless you are very familiar with WordPress and the plugins you are using, it can be frustrating and tough to keep on top of it all including dealing with incompatibilities. Sometimes, we even deal with older plugins that are coded for a particular version of PHP on the server, but the plugin has not been upgraded in some time, but the hosting company needs to “turn off” the older version of PHP and migrate to a newer one. This will break things.
We offer a service that monitors your sites including the version of WordPress you are running. We know almost immediately when there is a new security update which means for our clients, their websites are being updated very quickly after a security release, with the added advantage that everything is backed up before hand, plugin compatibility is also checked and tested, and issues that might come up are looked after.
If there is some incompatibility with a plugin that cannot be fixed immediately, we’ll let you know and try to find the solution for you.
This allows you to continue on with your day knowing your site is being worked on to get it restored as soon as possible after an update which may have caused other conflicts.
Give us a call and we can help you out, with this and a number of other services to help keep traffic flowing to your website! You can have the peace of mind that your site is being updated when needed and that we’re getting to the bottom of any issues that come up.