Having a website is not enough. It is merely an online presence of your business. You need to invest time and effort into making the site functional and improving its performance. Only then will it attract user traffic and lead to the growth and development of your setup. Regular site maintenance is another essential step that needs your attention. Updating WordPress plugins and themes and handling core updates are all covered in maintenance. Ignoring these can limit the functioning of your site, and prioritizing it can ensure multiple perks and benefits.
Understanding WordPress Plugins
WordPress plugins are extensions that add capabilities and functionality to WordPress websites. They enable site owners to customize their sites by incorporating new features, options, and services beyond what the core WordPress software provides.
Plugins are a key reason many choose WordPress for their website platform. The WordPress plugin repository contains over 50,000 free plugins covering everything from SEO to security to ecommerce. Popular plugins like Yoast SEO, WooCommerce, and Akismet are used on millions of sites.
In addition to free plugins, premium or paid plugins are also available from various developers. These advanced plugins provide extra functionalities like membership sites, appointment booking, marketing automation, and more.
A major benefit of WordPress plugins is that they allow non-technical users to easily add complex features without coding knowledge. Plugins can be installed and activated with a few clicks to extend site capabilities.
However, this flexibility comes with a responsibility – keeping plugins updated. Outdated plugins that aren’t maintained can become security liabilities. Developers regularly update plugins to fix bugs, patch security flaws, and add improvements. That’s why site owners must keep plugins updated to the latest versions.
In short, WordPress plugins provide immense value, flexibility, and customization to WordPress sites. But maintaining and updating them is essential to harness these benefits while avoiding the potential downsides of outdated extensions.
Checking for WordPress Plugin Updates
With over 50,000 plugins available, managing updates is critical for WordPress sites. There are two primary methods to update plugins – automatically or manually.
The automatic option is the most convenient for keeping plugins current. When enabled in WordPress settings, plugins are automatically updated in the background to the latest releases. This ensures you are always running the most recent plugin versions with bug fixes and security patches.
Automatic updates work seamlessly for most users. However, site owners who want more control can opt to handle plugin updates manually. This involves logging into the WordPress dashboard, going to the Plugins section, and clicking “Update Now” on any plugins with available new versions. It’s important to update one plugin at a time rather than batch-updating everything simultaneously. This allows you to troubleshoot any issues with a specific update before moving on to the next one.
After manually updating a plugin, thoroughly test your site’s functionality. Check for any changes in appearance, performance, or errors that may have cropped up. Identify and address any problems introduced by the update before visitors experience them.
While automatic plugin updates provide the most hassle-free option, manually updating gives site owners more oversight and lets them stagger critical updates. Either way, updating your WordPress plugins should be part of your regular site maintenance routine. The benefits of staying current outweigh the small-time investment.
Best Practices to Update WordPress Plugins
Here are some best practices to follow when updating WordPress plugins:
Carefully plan and schedule plugin updates rather than updating spontaneously. Pick low-traffic times and avoid making multiple plugin changes at once.
Before updating, always create a full site backup. This gives you a rollback option if something goes wrong. Use a reliable backup plugin like UpdraftPlus.
Check plugin changelogs and support forums for any compatibility concerns or known issues with an update. Scan for any Prepare steps.
Update plugins individually rather than bulk updating everything simultaneously. This isolates any problems with that single plugin.
After updating a plugin, thoroughly test your entire site. Check page speed, layout, forms, and key workflows.
If issues arise, restore your backup and test again after deactivating other plugins. There may be a temporary conflict between the old and new versions.
For major plugin updates, consider staging a test site first. Update the plugin on a development site before moving it to production.
Monitor your site closely after a plugin update. It can take hours or days for some issues like SEO or security impacts to surface.
With a thoughtful process, updating WordPress plugins can be straightforward. But never forget that plugins extend your site in powerful ways, so diligently test changes.
Dealing with Plugin Compatibility Issues
Here are some tips for troubleshooting plugin compatibility issues after an update:
Before updating a plugin, research if there are any reported conflicts with your WordPress version, themes, or other plugins. Check the plugin developer’s website and support forums for details.
If you run into problems after updating, restore your pre-update backup. This rolls back any changes and lets you re-update plugins individually.
Deactivate all other plugins, then reactivate them one by one while testing functionality. This can isolate conflicts between the updated plugin and others.
Temporarily switch your theme to a default WordPress theme like Twenty Twenty. This determines if the issue stems from your custom theme.
In some cases, waiting a few days can resolve update conflicts. Developers quickly issue compatibility patches for major conflicts in popular plugins.
Open a support ticket with the developer per your SLA for premium plugins. Paid plugins should guarantee a certain level of update support.
Monitoring error logs and using debugging plugins like Query Monitor can help diagnose compatibility issues more accurately.
With a systematic approach, most plugin update conflicts can be resolved. But extensive troubleshooting is sometimes needed, especially for site-specific customizations.
Top 6 Benefits of Updating WordPress Plugins
Most site owners think they are done with their duty as soon as they launch the site. However, it is just the beginning. You need to pay attention to site maintenance and update the plugins on a regular basis to enjoy other perks and benefits. You can even hand over the task of maintenance and WordPress plugin updates to professionals. Here are some of the major benefits of updating WordPress plugins you must never ignore.
1. Fix Bugs
The first and foremost benefit of updating the WordPress plugin is that it can help fix bugs. The sites can face multiple issues like broken links, misplaced or missed content, missing images, and others. A simple plugin update can resolve the issue most of the time. The plugins, WordPress, and themes should be aligned to work perfectly. However, other bugs can also hinder the functioning of the site. Regular site maintenance can fix bugs and keep plugins up-to-date. Many website owners in Dubai hire the best website maintenance agencies to ensure that experts are taking care of their website’s functionality.
2. Boost Security
The next benefit of updating WordPress plugins is that it boosts security. Hackers and malicious parties are getting quite advanced in cyber-attacks. Regular WordPress core updates strengthen the site’s security against such attempts. Using outdated plugins can offer a loophole to hackers, who can use it to sabotage the security of your site. Updating plugins and themes is equally important as installing the core updates. Skipping or ignoring it means you are inviting security threats and breaches. So, do not overlook it and take appropriate measures for a security boost.
3. Improve Functionality
Another notable benefit of updating WordPress plugins is that it can improve the functionality of the site. Plugins are meant to boost the functionality of the site by offering additional features and not disturbing the general functioning or site environment. The needs and requirements of sites can change with time, and updates are necessary to accommodate them. Most recent updates are always recommended to achieve highly optimized site functioning. Functionality improvement will also boost user experience and attract high traffic, so do not ignore them.
4. Speed Up the Site
Speeding up the site is another notable benefit of updating WordPress plugins you must be aware of. High-speed sites are not just necessary from an SEO perspective but also to attract and retain higher user traffic. The users will not need more than a second or two for your site to load and abandon it to move to some other. Updating the plugins will boost the overall functioning and performance of the site, which will optimize the speed too. A faster and more efficient site will attract more user traffic, improve your site’s ranking, and lead to business growth.
5. Add New Features
Additional or new features are another notable benefit of updating WordPress plugins. Updates not just improve the functioning and performance but are often accompanied by additional features. These are meant to support the performance and make it faster and easier. Some new features are only added to complement the additional features in the core updates. All of this will boost the responsiveness of the plugins and make them better to use. So, keep a close watch on the regular updates or invest in maintenance to let experts handle everything efficiently.
6. Boost Compatibility
The last benefit of updating WordPress plugins is that it boosts compatibility. Frequent WordPress core updates make updating the themes and plugins essential. Without this, the site will not function properly. The plugin developers coordinate the updates with the overall update. So, the site owners only need to press a few clicks to make the updates functional. It is an essential component WordPress maintenance plan. You can hire experts to manage all the maintenance tasks and updates to boost overall compatibility.
WordPress plugins add functionality and features to websites. Keeping them updated is crucial for security, performance, and compatibility. There are two ways to update plugins – automatically or manually from the WordPress dashboard. Automatic updates are recommended for most users.
When updating plugins, it’s best to back up your site first and update one plugin at a time to catch any issues. Always test after updating. Compatibility problems may arise after a plugin update. Troubleshoot by deactivating other plugins, switching to a default theme, and checking support forums.
Updating premium plugins involves downloading the latest version from the purchase site and uploading it to WordPress. Outdated or unsupported plugins should be replaced as they pose security risks.
Key benefits of updating plugins include fixing bugs, improving security, adding features, and increasing speed and compatibility. If short on time, consider hiring professionals to handle plugin and site updates. Keeping WordPress plugins updated is crucial for a well-functioning website. Learn more about WordPress here.
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