Updating WordPress Websites

How to Manually Update WordPress 

As a website owner, it’s essential to prioritize the security and functionality of your website. One of the easiest and most important ways to do this is by regularly updating your WordPress site. It’s a common misconception that website hacks only happen to larger, more prominent sites. In reality, hacks can occur at any time, and the vast majority of them are due to outdated software.

That’s why it’s crucial to log into your site and run updates at least once a month. This simple task can make all the difference in protecting your website from potential security breaches or technical difficulties. Plus, the process is relatively quick and straightforward, taking only about 20 minutes every two weeks to a month.

In this blog post, we’ll outline the step-by-step process for updating your WordPress website, so you can keep your site secure, up-to-date, and running smoothly. With just a little effort and regular maintenance, you can ensure your website stays safe and functioning at its best.

What are WordPress Updates?

WordPress updates refer to upgrading the WordPress software, themes and plugins to their latest version. These updates typically include bug fixes, security patches, new features, and improvements to the overall performance and stability of the platform. They are essential to ensure that your WordPress site is secure, reliable, and up-to-date with the latest industry standards.

WordPress updates can be categorized into Core updates, Theme updates, and Plugin updates. Core updates refer to updates to the WordPress software, while Theme and Plugin updates refer to updates to the site’s design and functionality. It’s crucial to keep all of these components updated regularly to maintain the security and functionality of your website.

Why Do I Need to Update My Website?

If you’re a website owner, you may wonder why updating your site is necessary. After all, if your website is functioning properly and meeting your needs, why bother with updates? However, neglecting to update your website can have serious consequences, including security breaches, technical difficulties, and a poor user experience. Regular updates to your website are essential to ensure that it stays secure, reliable, and functioning at its best. 

Here are 4 reasons why you need to update your WordPress website:

Updates to WordPress are necessary for various reasons, including bug fixes, security patches, new features, and performance 


  1. Bug Fixes: address any issues identified within the software, resolving errors or glitches that could impact the functionality of your site. Bug fixes can also improve the speed and performance of your site, as they address any issues that may be causing slow load times or other technical difficulties.
  2. Security Patches: are another critical aspect of WordPress updates. Hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for vulnerabilities to exploit, and outdated software is one of the most common attack entry points. Security patches help to prevent these attacks by fixing vulnerabilities and strengthening the security of your site.
  3. New Features: are also frequently added with updates to WordPress, allowing you to take advantage of the latest technologies and web design and development trends. These features can enhance your site’s functionality and user experience, making it more appealing to your target audience.
  4. Performance Improvements and Platform Stability: are also essential reasons for updating WordPress. These updates can improve the speed and reliability of your site, ensuring that it can handle traffic spikes and other demands without crashing or experiencing other technical issues.

Regular updates to WordPress are critical for maintaining your website’s overall health and security; neglecting these updates can put your site at risk of technical issues and security breaches.

It’s essential to take a site backup before updating, as updates can sometimes cause conflicts with your current site configuration or result in unexpected errors. A backup ensures you can easily restore your site to its previous state if something goes wrong during the update process.
Many hosting providers offer automatic backups, or you can use a plugin like UpdraftPlus to take manual backups. By checking for updates and taking a backup, you can minimize the risk of any potential issues and ensure a smooth update process for your WordPress site.

Once you’ve taken a backup, checking for WordPress updates is a simple process that can be done through the WordPress dashboard.

How to Update Your WordPress Core, Themes and Plugins

Step 1. Log into your site’s admin panel by visiting your website URL with a /wp-admin or /wp-login at the end.

If your site has a security feature that changes the login page, you must visit that URL to log in.
If you lose your password, click the Lost Your Password link and follow the prompts to reset your password.

log into wordpress

Step 2. Once logged in, navigate to the “Updates” tab at the top left of your screen in the left hand side nagivation. Here, you can see if any updates are available for your WordPress core, themes, or plugins. Click “Updates”.

updating your wordpress site

Step 3. On the Updates page, you’ll be able to see all the updates that are required for your site including Core, Theme and Plugin updates. 

updates are available wordpress dashboard screen

Step 4. If a WordPress core update is available, you’ll see it first, accompanied by a big blue “Update to version XXXX” button. Click that button to update WordPress to the newest version. 

Wordpress Update Available Screen

Step 5. Now for plugins. In the Plugins section of the page, you’ll see a list of plugins that need updating. Put a checkmark next to “Select All” and then click “Update Plugins”

Step 6. If your theme also needs updating, you’ll see that on this page as well. Simply put a checkbox next to the theme and the click “Update Themes”.

Using Auto Update in WordPress

Whether website owners should enable auto updates for their site is a topic of debate among experts. While auto updates can be convenient and save time, they can also pose some risks. For example, automatic updates can result in conflicts between plugins or themes, or even break your site if an update is incompatible with your site’s configuration. This can lead to unexpected downtime or other technical issues that can be challenging to fix. Additionally, auto updates may result in compatibility issues with custom code, which could break your site’s functionality.

On the other hand, manual updates require time and effort, and some site owners may not have the technical knowledge to perform them correctly. Regularly updating your site manually ensures you can carefully review and test updates before implementing them, reducing the risk of compatibility issues or other problems.

IdeaZone only recommends auto-updating your WordPress site (if you’re technically inclined) because of the above issues and the damage it can cause to your site. 

If you’re not technically inclined or you don’t have the time to make sure that your site remains updated and secure, IdeaZone offers a monthly maintenance plan wherein we keep multiple backups of your site and run your updates for you on a monthly basis.

Here is our website maintenance plan includes:

  • Weekly database backups via UpdraftPlus Premium – retain up to 15 weeks back
  • Premium subscription and monthly site backups via UpdraftPlus Premium  – retain up to 2 months back
  • Off-site backup storage in case of server failure via UpdraftPlus Premium
  • Monthly WordPress core update
  • Monthly theme update
  • Monthly plugins update
  • Monthly database optimization 
  • Monthly performance scan and optimization
  • Monthly image optimization
  • Free site restoration in the event of a hack or server failure
  • Subscription to WP Rocket (which will increase your site’s page speed)
  • Reduced hourly rate for maintenance

We also offer one-off website maintenance service where we take a backup and run your updates on a one-time basis.

Don’t let website maintenance become a headache. With IdeaZone’s website maintenance package, you can leave the technical details to us and focus on your business. Our package includes weekly and monthly backups, automatic updates, performance scans, and optimization, image optimization, and more. Plus, our subscription to WP Rocket will speed up your mobile pages, enhancing the user experience for your visitors. And, in the event of a hack or server failure, we’ll restore your site for free.

Sign up now to take advantage of our reduced hourly rate for maintenance and premium subscription to UpdraftPlus and other plugins. Keep your website running smoothly with IdeaZone’s website maintenance package.

Reese Richards