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The Importance of Keeping Your WordPress Site Up-To-Date

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WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). It powers a number of high-profile sites, such as Sony, Microsoft, the BBC, and even the official website for the country of Sweden.

One of the greatest things about WordPress is the way that it’s managed, sustained and updated by a team of committed developers.

This community of developers is constantly modifying the program by adding new features, fixing bugs, bolstering security and bettering overall performance.

Periodically, users are asked to update their existing software in order to receive the latest benefits and protection.

Even if you’re not interested in increasing the functionality of your website, you should read on to find out why updating is crucial to ensuring you have the highest level of security to protect your website, yourself, and your users.

Note: Before you update we recommend saving a full-site backup to a remote location.

Security

WordPress is an open-source CMS, which means the source code is public for anyone to see.

The advantage of this is that it’s available to the community of developers that we mentioned earlier; the ones who like to improve and fix things.

Unfortunately, with the source code being available to everyone, it does mean that hackers are also privy to the ins and outs of how the system works.

This is why it is so important to keep your WordPress software up-to-date.

  1. Hackers are able to study the source code and see where the faults lie.
  2. Hackers can see which websites are using outdated versions of WordPress and attack old vulnerabilities.
  3. Hackers are able to plan more complex attacks as they know exactly how the system is coded.

Though this may sound quite alarming, the good news is that there are many more good guys working to fix faults than there are bad guys trying to exploit them.

When you update, you are keeping up with the good guys and making it more difficult for the bad ones to do harm.

The themes and plugins that you use on your WordPress site are also gateways for illegal activity, so it’s equally important to ensure that any of these are also kept up to date.

New Features

Developers are constantly working to better various aspects of WordPress.

This is often related to improving usability, editing options and accessibility. Each update is intended to make life easier for the end user, often simplifying things for those who are less tech-savvy than the developers themselves.

Besides the core installation, any plugins you use will also release updates from time to time. Having the latest version of these will give you access to new features that may be useful to your site.

Support

Almost all WordPress users have hit a brick wall at some point or another when creating or maintaining their site but thankfully there is a huge community of people who are willing to help at these, often frustrating, times.

Support communities will always assume that you are using the newest version of WordPress and any plugins or themes, therefore, you might have trouble finding the help you need if you are running old versions of the software.

Improved Speed

We all know how irritating it is when a page is taking ages to load, even if ‘ages’ is actually just a few seconds.

The WordPress community is always trying to improve performance on the platform. Updates will often incorporate several changes to maximise efficiency and make the system run faster.

Speed is time and time is money.

Load time is a huge factor in SEO, so by just updating your WordPress software you are also giving your site a little nudge in the right direction for a better ranking.

Fix Bugs

Even though each update undergoes a series of careful testing there are occasional errors or bugs that aren’t caught until the update has gone live.

In these cases, the developers are quick to get on the case and they’ll release minor updates to rectify any problems that may have been caused during a major update.

Users need to be prudent and look out for both major and minor updates.

Conclusion

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and its popularity is warranted due to its abundance of plugins and themes, in addition to the amount of support available for users on internet forums.

The most important factor in keeping your WordPress software up-to-date is security.

By using an outdated version of WordPress, themes, or plugins you are leaving your website open to attack.

As well as improving the security of your site, updates can also increase performance, add new features and fix bugs.

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