The most popular content management system is WordPress. It is used to create millions of websites worldwide. WordPress has changed how websites are designed and managed.

Because of its global use, WordPress sites are targets for hackers because once a vulnerability is found, it can be used on many WordPress websites.  If a hacker can get into one, they can probably access millions of websites. For this reason, the WordPress community and the makers of WordPress plugins and themes update their software on a regular basis to patch known vulnerabilities.

It’s extremely important for WordPress websites to be updated with these new updates in order to keep the website safe from hackers.

However, all of these measures require site owners to take a few easy steps to implement them. Fortunately, doing so may be easier than you think. Better yet, the long-term benefits will make it completely worth any minor inconvenience.

Discouraging Hackers

Hacking attacks continue to rise. Many hackers play a volume game when it comes to choosing targets. They find a weakness common to many sites, then try to use it over and over to gain access to an array of sites. Once they gain access, they can hijack your server, deface your brand, steal private information, or cause other harm.

Developers often find themselves in an ongoing cat-and-mouse game with hackers, patching vulnerabilities as quickly as someone discovers them. The developers then disseminate fixes for these exploits via software updates. These updates usually include improvements and new features, as well. Keeping a WordPress site constantly upgraded helps to plug security gaps as soon as possible, discouraging hacking attacks.

Of course, the idea of immediately updating software may be counterintuitive for many. Once, the prevailing logic of software upgrades held that one should wait until the last possible moment to upgrade software in order to ensure the developer had found and removed all the bugs. However, that old wisdom has given way to better, more stable software and very relevant security concerns. Thus, the new words of wisdom for WordPress site owners will likely hereafter remain “upgrade as soon as possible.”

Features and Performance

In addition to discouraging hacking attacks, upgrading a WordPress site ensures access to the latest features and best performance enhancements. It also ensures compatibility between outside services, plugins, and the CMS itself. Many features call third-party services to perform part of their function. For example, eCommerce plugins may call payment processors and security features outside of the site to execute a transaction. Those third-party sites will update their software frequently to remain as secure and functional as possible. A WordPress site that does not also remain upgraded may lose compatibility with the third-party service, potentially costing you traffic, sales, and consumer confidence. Similarly, if the CMS upgrades, your WordPress plugins will likely need an upgrade to ensure ongoing compatibility. Too many upgrades to either the CMS or a plugin without a corresponding upgrade of the other can cause instability, security vulnerabilities, and even crash part or all of your site.

How to Stay on Top of Upgrades for your WordPress Site

At this point, you may feel convinced of the importance of keeping a WordPress site up-to-date, but skeptical about having the time or technical skill to do it. So, how can any site owner stay on top of upgrades? My hosting packages include free regular updates. I make a backup of your site, apply the upgrades, and can roll everything back if there are any problems with the update process. That way, your site remains updated, but you do not have to worry about the upgrade crashing your site.