Why is it so important to keep your WordPress website updated?

If you have a shiny new website for your business or something you have had for years, but don’t quite know how the ins and outs of the backend, here’s something to keep in mind — updates to WordPress are released often and for good reason. Besides providing new features, core files, themes, and plugins, these updates serve many important functions.

Not staying up-to-date with WordPress core files, themes, or plugins can affect your SEO ranking and cause your website to drop in ranking and overall SEO performance, which can potentially leave your site vulnerable to security breaches and hacks.

Here are a few reasons you should keep your WordPress website updated at all times:

Website Security

WordPress websites, like all sites, are vulnerable to malicious threats via hacking and phishing schemes. Up to 34% of websites are powered by WordPress, which makes the system extremely popular with hackers.

The good news though, is that the developers at WordPress are constantly finding and fixing security breaches and vulnerabilities, and these protections are released in newly-updated versions, themes, and plugins. By keeping your WordPress updated, you ensure that your WordPress-powered website is equipped with the most recent security features.

If you don’t keep up with updates, you miss out on new bug fixes and improvements that keep your website running at its absolute best. Updates include multiple coding changes to themes, plugins, or widgets—which if you’re using older versions of these, might suddenly stop working. This can frustrate your customers, users, and readers, and can have a negative impact on your web presence or business.

Compatibility & Backups

More often than not, plugin and theme developers coordinate their core updates with major WordPress releases to ensure they are taking advantage of newly available features and enhancements and are compatible with these new features.

However, in rare cases, an update can break your existing WordPress theme or plugins if they weren’t developed using the best practices and coding standards. This is why it is crucial that you keep regular WordPress backups.

It is critical that you backup your website often—at least once every 30 days. This ensures you don’t lose your website files if something goes wrong with updates to WordPress themes or plugins. That way, in the rare case that something does goes wrong during the update process, your webmaster can quickly revert back to a working copy of your website.

Keeping Your PHP Up-to-Date

PHP is a programming and scripting language designed to create interactive and dynamic websites. Like WordPress, it is an open source and is part of the server side of programming language. Some hosting platforms have outdated PHP code, which can slow down your WordPress website. Old PHP code will adversely affect your website and there will come a time when your site will no longer function. Ensure that your PHP is kept up-to-date and your WordPress website will have a much longer lifespan.

In Conclusion

Your WordPress core files, themes, and plugins need to be maintained and updated often to protect you from multiple vulnerabilities. It is recommended that your WordPress files be updated at least once per month and that it has been backed up each time before making any updates.

Not only should you maintain your WordPress website on a monthly basis at the very least, you should also add security software as part of your protocol to help protect your website from outside hacks, and get it back to an optimal status if you do get hacked.

Need additional help maintaining and protecting your WordPress website? Get in touch with us today!

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