I bet you’ve seen this warning at the top of your Wordpress dashboard before. It’s easy to ignore, but there are several really important reasons NOT to ignore it. WordPress, just like any other software on your computer, needs to be updated regularly. Unlike most software and programs though, WordPress is open source. Many people are working feverishly to improve and fix old problems with WordPress, which means that updated versions are released pretty frequently.
Updating WordPress is very important, and really only takes a couple of quick steps. Don’t ignore the update warnings! WordPress will typically release updates for these reasons:
To improve features. New features that are released often help make WordPress easier to use. If you wait to update two or three versions of WordPress at a time it could cause problems with your site.
Safety reasons. WordPress updates may contain new security features that help prevent hackers and other bad-doers from breaking into your website and inserting malicious code or malware. Not only can this kind of activity harm your site, but it can also cause your site to lose it’s position in search engine results.
Bug fixes. New updates can fix bugs that you’re experiencing in your site. If something isn’t working correctly, you may just need to update WordPress.
Plugin Updates are Important Too
Updating your plugins is just as imperative as updating Wordpress… and you should update the plugins BEFORE you update WordPress to prevent your plugins from breaking. Plugins that are outdated are super vulnerable to security attacks. To update your plugins:
Navigate to the Plugins panel and click Update Available
Update your plugins in bulk or individually with the Update Now link underneath each plugin
Old Software is Extremely Vulnerable
When a new WordPress or plugin update is released it comes with a bug fix report. Hackers can find the weaknesses of old WordPress versions just by looking at these reports. They target outdated sites by viewing the page source for a particular website to see what version of WordPress they are running. The simplest way to avoid being targeted is to keep everything updated.
Check out our Secure Your WordPress article for more info.