Monday, May 23, 2016

WordPress Website Maintenance: To Auto-Update Plugins or Not?



Your WordPress site is almost organic in nature, constantly growing and developing through version updates, hot fixes, and plugins. The plugins you use for your particular site are what make it unique, as they facilitate functionality, development, user experience, and maintenance. Since there are thousands of plugins available, both through WordPress and third-party sites, they may sometimes interact in unexpected ways, especially during updates.

Modifications to plugins may cause compatibility issues and potentially crash the site if handled poorly. Website maintenance for Las Vegas companies needs to be ironclad. There is little room for error in the city’s competitive market, so you want to be sure your site is up to date and fully functional.

Auto Updating Option

Keeping your plugins up to date is key to maintaining functionality, eliminating bugs, and preventing security breaches. One out-of-date plugin may pose a risk to your site’s integrity, not to mention the security of user or client data. Keeping everything up to date is key to the security of WordPress websites. Las Vegas, with its intensely competitive market, makes any error in this respect potentially disastrous to your business.

However, keeping everything up to date is a difficult task, especially if you use a large number of plugins. You may be tempted to allow WordPress to automatically update plugins, but this can lead to a variety of problems.

Functionality Issues

Each plugin uses its own code that (hopefully) allows it to perform a certain function in your WordPress website. If you have been using your site without any issues so far, then the plugins you’re using are all likely compatible with each other. An update to any of those, however, can lead to a compatibility issue.

One change to a plugin may cause it to interfere with the functionality of another plugin or the site as a whole, depending on the version of WordPress you’re currently using, how other plugins affect its functionality, and so forth. Therefore, you need to make sure an update won’t mess with your site’s functionality prior to installing it. With automatic updates, you don’t get an opportunity to do this. The update is installed, and any compatibility problems it brings thereafter manifest.

Crashes

If it’s severe enough, a compatibility issue brought on by an automatic update can crash the site. Obviously, this is never good for your business, as people visit your site only to find it down. Then comes the cost of getting your site back online, which may involve some time-consuming digging around to find out exactly what went wrong.

Review Compatibility

To prevent these issues, you need to be able to review the compatibility of your plugins prior to installing an update. With auto update, there is no opportunity to do this, which means you may be risking a crash that you have no way of preventing. By switching updates to manual, you allow yourself a chance to decide whether an update will lead to a crash.

When reviewing an update’s compatibility, there are a few factors that need to be taken into account:

·         Coding quality: You need to ask yourself, “Will this update violate coding standards?” It may not necessarily pose a security risk, but it can still make unwanted changes to the core, potentially ruining the site.
·         Bugs: Some updates may be inherently flawed. Prior to installation, they need to be tested for bugs, possibly by using a mirror site.
·         Coding: A plugin update may wreak havoc with your site’s code, creating a giant mess that takes time and money to unravel.
·         Theme: Suppose you have been running a theme for a while that depends on a certain function of one of your plugins. An update may remove that function and thus render your theme unusable, causing a crash.

The automatic updates used by WordPress don’t take things like this into account, so it’s best to handle plugin updates manually—preferably through a professional who is familiar with the intricacies of website maintenance.

How Do I Keep On Top of It All?

Updates are important, especially when they deal with security issues. However, updating plugins can either involve constant, highly complex manual installations or a high risk of website functionality issues. All you want is to make sure your site holds up, both functionally and in Las Vegas’s saturated market. What do you do?

Fortunately, website fixes in Las Vegas can be handled through an experienced online marketing company. To handle updates as safely as possible, you need someone to monitor your site and constantly check for updates. When those updates become available, experts can review them and make sure they won’t result in any compatibility issues. Once everything is checked for compatibility, the updates can be installed manually.

High-quality, vigilant website maintenance is very important for your business. When you need a website design company in Las Vegas to handle your WordPress updates, contact Platinum Web Marketing.


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