Building your first website can be a tedious task. You have to keep in mind several things and consider various possibilities before finalizing your website. But your responsibilities do not end there, they have just started.
Alongside your business, you have to constantly maintain and develop your website so as to ensure its proper functioning. You need to have constant security checks, increase your SEO, consider your customer’s needs as well as ensure that the existing functionalities on your website are in proper order.
While building your website, WordPress offers you a vast collection of plugins to help improve your website’s functionality. WordPress are made by the community or software vendors and are made available to users for free or at cost.
While free plugins are not bad, most developers tend to pay for plugins as these have better functions and are more well maintained. However, one important part of maintaining your website is ensuring that these plugins are properly updated to their latest versions when made available by their developers.
Updating plugins can be a hassle as there is a possibility that it might break certain parts of your website or render some functions unusable. This can be caused due to new functionalities or changes in the code which can be prove to be incompatible with your previous setup. However, it considered as best practice to keep your plugins updated to their latest versions. Let’s take a look as to why you should follow this advice.
You must’ve observed this in your everyday life. Let’s take a look at some real life examples to better understand this. Whenever companies release new products such as cars, mobile phones, TVs etc., they always try to update on the existing features and try to make them more powerful, more reliable as compared to the previous versions with the advancements in technology.
Similarly, developers tend to improve upon their already built plugins by optimizing’s its performance with new technology in their hands that wasn’t available when they built the previous version. This helps keep plugins compatible with the latest software and delivers better performance.
Security is a key feature which should be always stressed over and prioritised before anything. Your website’s security plays an integral part in keeping your business afloat.
In case of a cyber attack on your website, hackers can steal data from your database and servers, can inject malware in to your website, alter it or completely delete it. This will not only result in loss of revenue and sales but also drops your business reputation as customer’s will no longer place their trust in you.
Hackers usually target security vulnerabilities in plugins in order to get access to your website partially or completely. Fortunately, there are people in the community who test such plugins and report these security flaws to the developers. The developer can then release a patch in order to remove those vulnerabilities. In such cases, it is advisable to read the changelog and update your plugin at the earliest.
It is quite possible that developers may release some more functions for the plugin in later releases by thoroughly testing them first in case of any vulnerabilities. Therefore in order to utilize the plugin to its fullest, you should consider updating your plugin to the latest version.
However, you might be questioning as to when is the right time to update a plugin. Some users tend to put their updates on automatic so as to get the latest version as soon as it is released. While this might be convenient, it is certainly not advisable.
The reason for this is because even though a security flaw might have been patched, there might exist some bugs due to the new changes in the code. This can result in your website crashing or completely disbanding.
Therefore we advise you to first read the changelog for every update so as to understand what the new version is all about. Check other user’s reviews on the new update and see if there are any bugs that might crash your website.
Lastly before updating, take a complete backup of your website so if in case your website starts crashing, you can simply revert back to the older version. This will save you the hassle of rebuilding or recovering your website and save you time and money.
After you have completed this reviewing process, it is now time to actually update your plugins. Head over to you dashboard and you will find a checkbox next to all the plugins that need to be updates. Now update each and every plugin one by one instead of clicking Update All.
This is done so that you can pinpoint which plugin is causing a nuisance in the event your website crashes. If such a case does happen, you can simply rollback to the previous version of the plugin and wait till a fix is released for the bug or contact the developer yourself explaining the problem.
Now that you’ve updated your plugins, it is time to test your website. Check each and every functionality of your website and ensure that everything is in its proper order and that nothing is broken. This can save you negative reviews from your customers and in turn improve your SEO.
However, keep in mind that your website crashing due to an update is not inevitable. Therefore, it is best to remain prepared for such instances as they can help you save time and money that can potentially be spent fixing your website.
We hope that this article was able to provide you with information pertaining to a WordPress plugin’s updates and its importance. By reading this article, you have now gained insights on their pros and cons as well as how to properly go about the task at hand. We advise you to update your plugins regularly while keeping a backup of your website to deal with worst cases.