WordPress and the Importance of Website Updates

WordPress and the Importance of Website Updates

In WordPress, your website theme is the visual foundation of your website, including its layout, design, and functionality. Without an updated or supported theme, your website ceases to exist, which is why it is extremely important to ensure your website theme is 1) always supported, and 2) always maintained by one of its creators.  

So, what happens if you don’t keep your website updated? What do you do if your theme is outdated or no longer supported? Fear not—there is a solution.  

Why is it important to update WordPress? 

WordPress is a free, opensource platform, meaning developers can create plug-ins and website themes that integrate with the software and extend its capabilities. However, as the code is available to the general public, it becomes available to hackers too, making it susceptible to security threats and bugs. To combat this, WordPress will regularly provide security and bug fixes in the form of updates. Along with these updates, sometimes new features and functionalities are included. For example, WordPress version 5.0, also known as Gutenberg, simplified the website editing experience for the long run. However, the update caused many websites to break suddenly. While this can cause frustration, there are ways to repair the issues. 

The bottom line: Regularly missing updates and falling significantly behind can not only cause major security problems, but it can also hinder your website from functioning to its maximum potential.  

Why is my WordPress theme abandoned or no longer supported?  

From time to time, themes are abandoned by their creators and therefore are unsupported by WordPress. Whether the creator was receiving too many user questions, there were too many bugs to fix, or the creator simply did not have time to maintain the theme anymore, without their support and regular updates, the theme is no longer useful. 

What do I do if my theme is no longer supported? 

You can first attempt to repair it by manually updating the code. While this may require the help of a professional web developer, it would allow you to continue to utilize your existing website’s theme. However, if you are unable to resolve the errors by manually updating the code, you can choose to switch the theme you are using entirely. You will also need to manually update the code in order to fix any bugs that have been caused by the switch. 

The most recommended option is to build a new website with a new theme from a reputable developer or create a custom theme. This way, you can ensure your website is up to date without any security or bug issues.  

Should I turn on auto-updates? 

Short answer: No. 

Although WordPress provides the option to allow auto-updates, proceed with caution. When updates become available, some plug-ins do not immediately update to become compatible with the new WordPress theme(s). With that being said, in order for the plug-in to work, it may be easiest for you to wait for compatibility to be available for both your theme and the plug-ins and update both at the same time.  

This sounds like a pain. I don’t have the time or knowledge to do it myself. 

We get it. Web development and maintenance isn’t for everyone. However, it must be done. Think of how expensive it would be to clean up your hacked website, or how much business you could potentially lose while your website is down.  

That’s why Morris Creative Group helps businesses and individuals design, develop, and maintain their websites. In fact, we offer website maintenance plans to help you manage your site so you can get back to business. Having problems with your website and are ready to see real results? Let’s chat.