Many of you reading this post on how to update WordPress and why you should do it will say, of course, one needs to update WordPress! However, many small business owners have websites built in WordPress and do not realize how important it is to do updates, both of WordPress and of plugins. It is also a good idea to update the default themes that come with WordPress; even if you don’t use them, one might come in handy in case of an emergency.
Scary Reasons to Update WordPress
Scare tactics, unfortunately, are the best way to get a negligent site owner to update. You don’t want to wake up one day to find your beautiful website replaced with strange pages. Getting your site hacked is the main danger in not updating. Security is the main reason to update. Updates also fix bugs found in WordPress or in plugins. New features are also added with major updates (such as from 3.7 to 3.8 or 3.8 to 3.9).
Updating WordPress is not the only way to improve security; for more ideas, read Hardening WordPress.
How to Update WordPress
Perhaps I have convinced you to update your WordPress, but if it’s been a while since you got into the back end, you may not remember how to get there. Here are the WordPress update steps (for www.yourdomain.com, substitute wherever your self-hosted WordPress is set up):
- Go to your login page: http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-login.php or (http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin.php and you will get the login prompt if you are not logged into your dashboard already). If you forgot your password, use the forgot password link.
- Click where it says updates and update!
Ideally, it is a good idea to do a backup first, but setting up backups is a topic for another post. On Websites Checklists and Blog Backup Plans, backups are discussed in the comments.
The sign that you need to do updates might look like one of these:
The number next to those circular arrows may be higher than 1 depending on how many updates you need to do.
Your Turn, Please
Have you or a friend ever learned the hard way about not updating WordPress? I remember years ago a lot of sites where hit by a nasty hacker, and an acquaintance tweeted to me that he said I was “fortunate” not to be hit. However, it turned out he had not updated WordPress. In the earlier days of WordPress, I think it got a less fortunate reputation because people didn’t realize they had to do regular updates once the software was installed.