WordPress is the most ubiquitous Content Management system currently in use. According to Web Technology Surveys, with just under 60% of the marketshare for CMS systems for websites, WordPress is by far the choice for people wanting an editable site. Whether your site is purely informational, for personal or business use, or an e-commerce site, maintaining your website is a crucial component of keeping your site up and running. In order to understand why, let’s delve into the platform.
WordPress is a free platform created and improved upon by a community of developers. This open source community project is available for anyone to use, modify and build on. This means that there are thousands of available extensions, plugins, and tools (both free and for purchase) to make your website unique. So many people are a part of the community that helps improve the platform that new releases, bug fixes, and new features come out all the time. This makes it important to heed those upgrade notifications both for the platform as well as the plugins in use.
Updating WordPress and Plugins
Security is the biggest reason why you should keep your website up-to-date. The same things that make WordPress so great – free, open source code, popularity, large amount of plugins available – also make it the most popular target for hackers. If they find a vulnerability to exploit, they have a lot more websites to target than a lesser known platform. If you are not using the latest version of WordPress, then you are using software with known security vulnerabilities. Keeping up with security updates for both WordPress and your plugins can help you stay on the safest, fastest, most reliable code available for your and your viewers.
Updating custom websites requires a developer. Compatibility issues between plugins and the CMS platform means that sometimes your website can break. Only an experienced web developer can update your website on a staging environment, fix any issues, and swap your live site with the newest version. Hitting the update button in the admin panel without a backup or a testing environment can cause you to lose data.
It is good practice to keep regular WordPress backups of your website files, should it be the case that an update (or cyberattack) brings your website down. Sometimes, plugins only work with certain versions of WordPress and vice versa. Updating one thing might mean other functionality on your site breaks. If this happens, it’s good to know you have a backup of your files that is less than 30 days old. E-commerce websites might choose to generate backups more often.
While WordPress is a wonderful free tool for your website, it does come with maintenance costs in the form of time. Is your website in need of a little TLC? Contact us for a review on how to get your website safe and up-to-date for the holidays.