When to Update Your WordPress Plugins

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Self-hosted WordPress site owners you may be wondering when to update your WordPress plugins?

That’s a valid question and very important, plugins add additional functionality to your website and they will need to be maintained.

One of the amazing features of WordPress is that you can expand functionality to help create a unique website for your business. With that also comes the responsibility of making sure you keep things up to par.

For existing website owners, you may have noticed that in the upper section of your website there is a number notification. When you see that know that there are available updates to your plugins and/or even WordPress itself.

When that happens it’s the developer of the software alerting you to a new update to the code for the software.

Why do plugins need updates

Like I said when the creators of the code or software add new code or update existing code. They will push it through WordPress to let you know there is an update available. There are various reasons for this:

  • They are updating the code to make it more compatible with WordPress.
  • They could be pushing a new update for security reasons so others can’t hack into your website.
  • They have added new features that are going to improve user experience.
  • They want to annoy you…jk just making sure you were paying attention.

Think about it each website is running a different set of plugin software. In order for each website not to conflict, there have to be updated to make sure they can all play nicely together.

So why update your plugins

The biggest reason is to make sure that your site is secure and continues to function properly. Unfortunately, websites can be exposed to security threats that can easily take them down. Or even worse expose your customers to potential threats.

If you have any sensitive information on your website such as members’ information, business information, etc. You’ll want to ensure you’re protecting those details.

Another reason is that you want to keep your site functioning properly. Poor user experience will result in people clicking off your website within seconds. That just creates another opportunity for a lost sale or business connection.

When to update your WordPress plugins

It depends on how many plugins you have on your website. If you have a lot then you may need to update them more frequently versus sites that have very little.

You definitely want to log into your website at least weekly to see what plugins are needing to be updated.

You may even receive an email through your host if you’re using a host like WP Engine. You may even receive a notice directly from the company itself if you purchase their premium editions.

Disclaimer: before you run any plugin updates back up your website. The reason is that if something breaks you can revert the site back.

Have a bigger site or a site with a lot of plugins? Log in more than once a week. This will be helpful in case you need to perform an update for security reasons.

If you have a hard time remembering, set up a note in your planner or on your phone to remind you to check your website.

There have been countless times where a website owner failed to do this and their site was riddled with errors. Sometimes they couldn’t even get back into their website. 

You’d definitely want to avoid a situation where you send customers or clients to your website and its not functioning properly. 

How many WordPress plugins are too many?

That depends I say if it’s not an essential part of the functionality of your website then get rid of it. Now there are some cases where this might not work.

For example, if you purchased your theme from a third-party marketplace like Themeforest. Those themes usually have required plugins installed so that the theme can function. Even if you aren’t using that particular feature. Be sure to read up on what is required from the developer of your particular WordPress theme.

Also just because you have a lot of plugins doesn’t mean that is a bad thing. It really depends on the needs of your business and website. It’s the quality of the plugins you have that matter.

Now I have logged into the backends of websites and found plugins that weren’t needed because the owner couldn’t figure out how to do something. So they just found a plugin to help them add code to their site, even if it was simple.

If you aren’t sure a plugin is essential for your site to be sure to work with your web designer or developer to have them take a look. 

I actually recommend you go through a website audit at least once a year to make sure your site is well-optimized. Even if you are spending a lot of time on social media. When a potential client or customer lands on your website you want them to enjoy the experience. 

A well-designed website experience can help you better position your brand, improve your credibility and instill trust. All of those will help you outshine the competition and stand out as an expert in your industry.

Now you may be thinking…

How do I update my WordPress Plugins?

There are a few ways you can work with your web designer or developer to have them do it for you. So you don’t have to worry about scheduling it and freaking out if something breaks. 

Or you do it on your own and handle the updates and backups so that you know what’s going on. 

If you want to do the latter then I recommend you sign up for WordPress Maintenance For Business Owners. The course is a video training that will:

  • Walk you through the importance of updating your website plugins and software.
  • How to properly back up your website before doing updates. 
  • How to restore a back up if needed. 
  • Plus other recommended advice you should have in place to make sure your website is functioning at a high-level.

This is a one-time investment that you can continue to use over and over as you maintain ownership as a website owner. Use the button below to sign up and start to feel empowered about managing your own website!

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