Running a WordPress website is not a “set it and forget it” deal. If you want to protect your website from hackers and other potential problems, you need to make sure you keep up with the software updates, and that includes security updates.
As mentioned before, WordPress is undergoing constant development. This is a very good thing as you get the most cutting edge features, functions and security. But there is also a downside: You must keep up with the updates in order to keep your website or blog safe.
Fortunately, keeping up with updates is not really that difficult.
When you login to your WordPress dashboard it should be pretty obvious if you need to update either WordPress or one of the plugins.
In the graphic above, you’ll see that the number next to the Updates link is the total number of plugin, theme or WordPress core updates available. And, the yellow bar at the top shows that a new version of WordPress has been released.
If a main WordPress update is available it is shown prominently at the top of the dashboard and pretty much begs for you to do the update.
While WordPress updates are pretty rock solid with few errors, you should always do a full site backup using cPanel before you click the “Please update now” link. In the unlikely (but inevitable) event that something goes wrong, you and your hosting service will be thanking your lucky stars that you had a full and timely backup available.
After your full site backup is completed (including downloading to your computer), click on either the “Updates” or “Please update now” link.
Unless you have been instructed to do otherwise by your hosting service, use the “Update Automatically” button to update your site. It is quick, easy and rock solid.
Important note about updating Plugins:
Just like before you install a new plugin, always read about the changes to the plugin prior to installing the update. Many times there are changes in the plugin’s behavior that you may not necessarily want.
Important note about updating Themes:
If you have made **any** changes to your theme (tweaking things in style.css or changes to the template files), the changes will be overwritten when the theme is updated. Be ready to re-do the changes after updating. The only way to avoid this is to create a child theme specifically for your changes, but that is kind of an advanced subject outside of the scope of this report. (See the WordPress codex for more information: http://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes)
Update your site’s plugins using the built-in WordPress automatic update capabilities. Unless it is a Premium plugin, there really shouldn’t be a reason for you to have to do anything complicated (like download the update then use FTP to get it on your site). For Premium plugins you will want to always follow their specific instructions.
So there you have it – Hope youve this informative