Wherever you go and whatever you do, security is always an important aspect to consider. The same is very true in the internet—you make every effort to make sure that you visit only those sites that are reliable. And if you’re a site owner, less or lack of security places your website in harm’s way. Read Security Calls: Why Updating Your WordPress Site is Critical. Know what to update, understand why you need to do so, and make your site a safer place for you and your site users!
Why Updating Your WordPress Site is Critical
As the leading content management system (CMS), WordPress places itself in the sweet spot for hackers and other security threats. According to Sucuri’s Hacked Trend Report, 56% of the infected WordPress sites were out of date. Other platforms have higher infected rates.
Just think about your users browsing through a non-secure website. Their private information, such as passwords and bank accounts, can be easily tampered and stolen. On your end, your site’s overall health and functionalities can fail and block you out. This is why it’s important to constantly update your WordPress site.
Here are the three main things for you to update:
- WordPress Software
Having your own website doesn’t free you from being vulnerable. It’s easy to get so pleased with your site’s features and benefits that you fail to remember maintaining it. You may have high conversions and click rates, but what steps are taking to ensure your site stays in good shape?
Your website is your place in the internet. Just like any other place in the world, it also has to be clean, safe, and comfortable for anyone who wishes to visit. A well-maintained site provides better experience for all its users. This includes making sure that it’s up-to-date and free from threats.
In essence, updates exist to replace outdated or incompatible versions. As time passes, technology also advances. To fill in the new needs, therefore, websites have to adapt and make sure all available functions and features are in step with them.
Too often a software glitch or a broken code gives room for threats. WordPress has invested a lot to guarantee the security of its websites. However, site owners and developers also share the responsibility of implementing it. What you do on your end determines how your website will perform.
1. WordPress Software
Every year WordPress releases major software updates that introduce new and exciting features. Websites have complicated systems that would need to adapt when a change is performed. When you update to a new version, you need to ensure all that’s in your website is compatible enough for it.
From time to time, WordPress publishes incremental versions (4.7.1, 4.7.2, etc.) that promote security and better site performance. There could be some flaws in the new versions that needed improvement. In any situation, it is best to keep your site updated to prevent further damages.
2. Plugins and Themes
Each plugin or theme consists of hundreds of lines of codes, which will provide easy access to threats and serious site damages if they are poorly built. This is commonly true among outdated versions of plugins and themes. Before deciding to install any feature, consider its user ratings and reviews. From a recent study conducted by RIPS, majority of the attacks in 2016 were related to the following plugins:
- Revolution Slider
- Beauty & Clean Theme
- Simple Backup
- Gravity Forms
- WordPress Marketplace
- CP Image Store
- WordPress Download Manager
You wouldn’t want to get caught in the mud. Thousands of plugins and themes are offered for free, and some don’t have reliable sources. Browse through your directory and look for those that already need to be updated. If you are planning to upgrade your software, incompatible features won’t work.
Regular Maintenance Checklist
Good performance is a sign of good health. The same applies to your WordPress website. To keep your site in good shape, you will need to check your site for modifications, errors, updates, and anything else important from time to time. Here are the things to look out for or do in a regular site checkup:
- Spam comments – Misleading messages that could come from unreliable sources
- New version of the WordPress software – Offers new features that could help your site advance along with technology
- New versions of plugins and themes – Research on those that have long been in your directory, and update them to their latest versions
- Security releases – Make your website safe for you and your users
Before updating any of your outdated versions, store important files in a backup. Remember that once you update something, it will take away everything that’s related to the outdated version.
“The upgrade process will affect all files and folders included in the main WordPress installation. This includes all the core files used to run WordPress. If you have made any modifications to those files, your changes will be lost.” -WordPress
When an issue comes up, you can use your backup to restore your site. If unsure, experts are available to help you out. Apart from backups, you can also run a malware scan to check vulnerabilities. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Spare some time each month to check on your site’s performance.
How to Update Your Website
There are two ways to update your website. One is through one-click updates that can be done from the admin dashboard, and the other is through manual updates.
WordPress usually sends notifications for necessary updates, which will show on the upper corner of your admin dashboard once you log in. You simply click on the link provided to update it immediately. Another way to do this is by hovering over the Dashboard option at the left panel. Click on Updates, and perform the necessary changes from there.
A Good Environment for All
Websites often fall prey to various threats. This is why updating your WordPress site is critical. It affects performance as well as user experience. As site owner, you would want to guarantee your user’s safety and make them feel comfortable to browse around.
Outdated versions aren’t the only ones that can make your site vulnerable to attacks. Other causes exist, such as bad hosting and weak passwords. Nevertheless, it’s always worth it to invest on security. Check your site from time to time. Run tests, and make every effort to be aware.
Too many times it’s easy to dally on updating. But once issues arise, it might already be too late for you to realize its importance. Keep your website in good shape to enable you and your users to completely enjoy the benefits and unique offerings that only you have at your website.
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