You might have seen the little update notifications warnings in your WordPress dashboard, reminding you that a new version is available. It might be for the core WordPress files as updates are releases, for any plugins you have installed and/or for your theme. WordPress does a pretty good job of warning you with yellow messages, the total updates available in the top bar and number of updates available in general for plugins, etc. All those little numbers give you the cue. It’s also amazingly easy to perform the upgrades, just clicks away using the interface in the Dashboard.
Unfortunately, I have found that many users ignore these notifications and never update! It’s a big mistake and can lead to serious consequences. It’s not just about upgrading for new features – the important factor is updates for security breaches. From the WordPress version to plugins to themes, when an update is released it might be to fix a bug of some sort. Many hackers out there take advantage of the fact that certain bloggers don’t update and can somehow worm their way into the site that is on an old version without the updates.
Of course, you can dig into the release files and see if the update has to do with security, but honestly, there’s no reason not to update and not being developers, it’s difficult for one to figure out what the consequences would be. WordPress is a trusted platform that you have chosen to use for your blog, so it makes sense that you continue to update it. You should also be using plugins and themes that you trust… so keeping them updated should be a given.
I should note that it’s important to update everything – from WordPress version to plugins to themes. They all involve coding that can put your website at risk. If you are not using certain themes or plugins, I would recommend you deleting them. Keep your WordPress clean.
To put it bluntly, a few minutes of time to backup your site and update can save you hours and days of downtime if something were to happen to your website. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage – keep updated – always!