Maintaining your site means installing the right updates, not all updates. Learn about best practices for updating not just WordPress, but its associated plugins.
Updating Within WordPress
It's important to keep your software current, but you don't necessarily want to update the moment an update comes out (unless it's a critical fix for a problem that has been crashing your site).
Similar to phone or computer updates, there will be updates to the WordPress framework itself as well as other software that you're using in combination with it—like your theme or your plugins.
You'll notice I have one update—you can see it in several different places. I have it here, where Yost SEO (the plugin) is located in my Toolbar. I added it there, so you can the number 1 saying there is a new update.
This guy here is also for updates as well. That European recycle symbol—you'll see a number next to it—means that there are updates also.
You'll also notice, because I'm in the Dashboard, I also have the choice for updates there as well.
Lastly, because this a plugin, I also see there's one plugin that needs to be updated here, and because Yost SEO added their own menu choice, you can also see that there's one update that's needed there.
It doesn't matter how I get there. I'm going to go here because I want to show you if you go here, it'll show you everything that needs to be updated. You may come in one day, and ten updates need to be done.
So, first check that you have the current version of WordPress. Second, check to see if any plugins need to be updated, as well as any themes.
I think it's a good idea to leave updates—the same way you would with a computer or phone—until you know people have been using them and they're stable. However, don't wait too long, because that might cause issues later on.
In regards to plugins, I like to make sure that I'm only updating active plugins. People don't delete themes or plugins when they're not using them, just in case they want to go back to using them. So I like to update my plugins through Plugins and then Installed Plugins. Usually, you'll see a whole bunch of different plugins here, and this is the one that needs an update. Most importantly, you'll notice it's active. There's a little blue bar, and the blue indicates the plugin is currently in use.
What I usually like to do if I have a whole bunch of plugins, is go to Active, select them all, do a Bulk Action update.
Right now I only have the one plugin that needs to be updated, so I can update it very easily by clicking Update now.
It's going to go and find that update and install it for me.
Once it's updated, I'm good to go, but I want to make sure everything is still working properly on my site. So, I'm going to go back here and refresh. And everything seems to be good!
If you update a plugin, that plugin could conceivably have an issue with the theme that you're using or with WordPress itself, and your site could crash. Minor issues range from things looking weird to features disappearing.
Plugins are supposed to work with WordPress, but that doesn't mean it's going to work with every theme or every other plugin. And the same applies to themes. They're supposed to work with WordPress, but there's no guarantee they're going to work with every plugin that you use. So you always want to be careful when you're picking themes and plugins to use in your WordPress site, but also when you're updating them as well.
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