WordPress Update: When To Do It Immediately, and When Not To
If you’ve been using WordPress for any length of time then you’ve probably seen that little message on your dashboard telling you there’s an update available. Should you click it or not? Should you do it now or should you wait? Is it safe? Is it complicated? And what happens when you do?
What does a WordPress update do?
Behind that pretty WordPress theme is a program. And that program has to be designed to interact with lots of other programs, for example the plug ins you install on your blog and the various Web browsers. Because technology is constantly changing and improving all web browsers update regularly to make allowances for these changes and the people who design plug ins update, too, when they have new features to add.
As a result of all this updating going on all around your blog, your WordPress blog needs to be updated, too, so it can work in sync with all of these other programs.
One of the most important aspects of a WordPress update is the new adjustments the designers make to make your site more secure. Hackers are constantly looking for weak access points so the designers have to stay a step ahead.
How does it affect your blog?
Clicking to install the WordPress update typically makes your site more secure and removes old coding or cleans up existing coding to make your blog run more efficiently.
However, while it doesn’t happen often, sometimes that update can cause havoc with your plug ins causing them to stop working. In most cases all you’ll have to do is re-install the plug in and everything’s fine.
In extreme cases, blogs have been known to crash when new updates are installed. That’s why it’s always best that you backup your blog’s database and save it to your drive before you install an update. It rarely happens these days, but if your blog should crash it’s easy enough to use your backup files to restore your blog in just a few minutes.
Should you update or not?
If it’s a minor update, such as going from WordPress 2.9 to WordPress 2.9.1, then it’s usually just a minor code correction that WordPress wants to take care of and it’s safe to go ahead and install as soon as you see the notification link.
In the past, though, when it was a major update, say from WordPress 2.9 to WordPress 3.0 many bloggers would choose to wait a few weeks and make sure WordPress had ironed out all the bugs. Again, this doesn’t seem to be a major concern these days and most bloggers install the update as soon as they see the notification. However, just to be on the safe side, always back up your database before you update your WordPress blog.